After our first Blue Mountains 4 Day Pack Carry Adventure, we had two nights and a full day of rest in Katoomba before heading off on the second part of our Blue Mountains Green Trails Australia Meetup Hiking Group Adventure back into the remote wilderness once again.
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Our second Pack Carry was 45km long over 4 days with 2,850m elevation gain. Weather was forecast to be very hot… reaching almost mid 40’s on the day that we ran out of water 2km before reaching the next water source.
Let me point out here that this is a recollection of our hike and not a guide as such. Unfortunately my Garmin Fenix 2 decided to give up on day 2 of our first hike so I do not have a reliable GPX or stats for this hike.
We started Day 1 of our second Pack Carry a short walk from our Hotel on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk so that we could check out all the view points along the way before descending into the valley near Scenic World. We tried to leave reasonably early to avoid all the tourists and managed to do so for the most part. Day one was forecast to be almost 18km.
The Prince Henry Cliff Walk is filled with tourist lookout points, the most scenic part of our hike was ahead until descending near Scenic World.
Things started getting a little busy and touristy at Echo Point. We had a quick look at our hiking plan over the valley and continued down to Katoomba Cascades to pass by the masses.
As tree cover started to protect us from the harsh 35+ degree day, we relaxed amongst the cool climate forest and took in the beauty of it all.
A quick stop to the top base of Katoomba Falls was quite nice before continuing on towards Scenic World.
What a surprise we got down at the Dinosaur circuit where they had an ice cream stand. I wondered how many ice cream stands we would find over the following 4 days… And after a short 3 seconds of thought I proceeded to spend all the cash I had on at least 4 icy poles and a Maxibon. I promptly announced this as our lunch break.
Shortly thereafter we continued to enjoy more cool climate forests, dense tree cover, multitudes of Lyrebirds, and cliff faces.
We came across one particular Lyrebird which danced to the tunes of our trusty co-leader, Ela, showing off its beautiful feathers, performing flawlessly.
And back into the forest we headed towards our campsite near Ruined Castle, which we did not visit because we were just way too tired on this very hot day. Along the way we were presented with many views of the three Sisters.
And this marks the end of Day 1. Day 2 brings forth unknown challenges of Mount Solitary, the hardest part of our Blue Mountains Pack Carry Number 2, with 11km of distance.
On the way to Mount Solitary we passed a couple of other pack carry hikers who turned back towards Katoomba after defeat of not being able to cross Mount Solitary, saying that it was more of a rock climb than a hike. We became a little concerned since we had left our ropes behind thinking that this was the easier of the two pack carrys.
Thankfully, heading up Mount Solitary wasn’t too hard. We thought of all the practice we had including recent trips to Cathedral Ranges South Circuit, the Pinacles at Eildon, and our Crinoline Pack Carry, all in Victoria.
Views across the valley were spectacular as we continued to climb. Apparently we still had a while to go as the track led us up and down along the cliff edges for a good while before descending.
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Now descent… this, as we started to understand, was the most difficult part. It was a steep, mostly slippery, with loosely packed dirt atop boulders and around trees, that were all ready to give way at any step.
Which is why we shuffled down on our bums most of the way down. Drop offs were huge and unforgiving. A wrong move, and a tumble would result in the most unfortunate descent down the mountainside.
On our descent as temperatures peaked at 44 degrees in the shade we ran out of water, just as we saw another sign, one that we have been seeing more frequently recently, speaking of remote areas with indistinct routes and steep terrain, exposed climbing and loose surfaces, no reliable drinking water and not sterile should you happen to find any at all.
Thankfully we had just passed all of that, heading towards salvation of the watery kind, which leaves me posting this rather flattering photo of myself almost naked in the Kedumba River. We were oh so happy to see it after 2km of no water in 44 degree temperatures with no shade cover.
And that, my friends, marks the end of Day 2 at Kedumba Campground with absolutely stunning views of Day 3 walkabouts…
On Day 3 the hiking poles came out once again as we climbed halfway up the hill towards Wentworth Falls, before walking back down to the lowest parts of the Valley towards our final night camping at Leura Creek, 11km away.
Leura Creek Campground was quite pleasant and we enjoyed sitting by the water looking at all sorts of creatures making their way around. I dipped my feet in the water and lots of fish nibbled on my toes and beneath my feet.
Day four was a tough but short 7.5km climb up to the Three Sisters, back to our starting point and Katoomba.
We headed up the hill to our final challenge, the Giant Stairway.
And my, what a Giant Staircase it was. Many Steps, Many Stops, Many Breaks.
Finally, at the top we were rewarded with stunning views looking back at what we had just conquered. This was certainly an epic journey and one that we will remember for a long time, and quite possible repeat again at a later date.
Last modified: January 12, 2019