Out and About

Walking the Six Foot Track

Over the October long weekend, I hiked the Six Foot Track {in reverse} for three days and camped over two nights with a lovely group of people. We started off on Saturday morning meeting at Katoomba from where we caught the bus to Jenolan. We figured it would be better to do it in reverse given the ease of transport from Katoomba on our return. Plus, somebody said it was easier.

The Six Foot Track is about 45 kilometres from Katoomba to Jenolan in New South Wales. On our hike, we started at Jenolan with a long uphill climb. We then had a fairly flat track on a fire trail eventually getting to our first campsite, Black Range Camping Ground, in about 3 hours (approximately 10-12 kilometres). Given that we got there early, we had plenty of time to set up our tents before enjoying a meal. As the sun set, we enjoyed a camp fire that was shared with another group. And I enjoyed some wine and some vodka that night. I managed to reduce a bit of my 15 kgs weight from my backpack. Only just.

The first night wasn’t the best for most of us. It was extremely windy and cold and some of us couldn’t fall asleep. I must say I was grateful for a friend noticing when I’d put up my tent earlier that evening that it wasn’t tightly secured. If not for him, I’m sure the outer cover of my tent would have blown away that night with the wind!

We set off at about 7:30 a.m. the next morning as we had 22 kilometres to cover. The first 5 kilometres were easy on a flat fire trail. And then began the hard stuff. Windy, downhill tracks. My knees started to play up a bit again despite me using a walking pole and having knee support. It wasn’t as bad as the previous camping trip but I think having 15 kgs on my back didn’t help. Some of the guys were amazing and kept offering to share some of the weight I was carrying. But I refused. When we stopped at Alum Creek for lunch, I was buggered. I fell asleep for a little while. Post-nap I took up their offers and shared a bit of the weight. Not too much because I felt guilty. By then, I also started to feel blisters on my feet and I hobbled along slowly. Different people kept me company at different times and we got to our next campsite at Cox’s River by about 3 in the arvo. Which again gave us enough time to relax. Some people went for a swim in the river. I went to sleep in my tent for a bit because I really was tired after not much sleep the night before and being in a bit of pain. That night, the wine helped again. We had marshmallows over the fire which were just amazing! Shared some silly jokes. Enjoyed a lot of laughter.

I slept like a log the second night. Apparently, some others didn’t sleep too well. We’d seen snakes earlier near the river and those that camped near it couldn’t sleep too well. I was still in a bit of pain the next morning…more so on my feet. The blisters played up. We had about 12 kilometres to go on the final day. And I pretty much hobbled along most of the way. There were some brilliant sights such as the Swinging Bridge. Megalong Valley was beautiful as was the rainforest and the uphill through Nellie’s Glen to Katoomba. But by then I was so exhausted that it became more of a mental game than anything else. I had to will my feet to move and was too scared to sit for a break because I figured I wouldn’t be able to get up again. The final hurdle to Katoomba was about 700 stairs uphill that I swear were built for someone with massive legs. Not great when you can barely walk.

When we finally reached Explorer’s Tree {me almost at the very end}, I could have kissed the ground. Except I probably would not have been able to stand up. Some of the group members had reached earlier and were going to bring their cars to pick the rest of us up. The timing was perfect and we got back to Katoomba tired and weary and ready for a drink. Three beers later, I was happy all over again! 😀 And couldn’t feel any pain. We all devoured 8 boxes of pizzas in less than 10 minutes among us. You could tell we needed those carbs!

It was an incredible experience. While most of the walk isn’t really picturesque like some of the other ones I’ve done, it still feels like a major achievement. The company was awesome as was the camping. I just need to figure out how to not carry 15 kgs next time around!

Here are some pictures I managed to get; unfortunately I was too tired around Nellie’s Glen to take any photos whatsoever!

6fttrack01

Spot the joey!

6fttrack02

Day 1: Easy peasy

Day 2: It's all downhill. And up.

Day 2: It’s all downhill. And up.

Cox's River

Cox’s River

The Swinging bridge: Only for one person at a time

The Swinging bridge: Only for one person at a time

I was so grateful though at the end of the walk that I had the opportunity to do something like this with a bunch of great people. Some I already knew from before, some I got to know over those three days. Camping and hiking are great ways to get to know people. I am also forever grateful that there are places like these not too far from Sydney. Places where you can completely disconnect yourself from the world and take a break. Places where you can totally immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the simplest things.

I feel blessed.

***Linking up with Francesca for Thankful Thursday***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

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  • Titaxy
    October 18, 2013 at 2:13 am

    wow it sounds incredible. i love the people meeting part when we go hiking. we don’t really go with groups, but then we meet so many people all along, conversations are started and that’s a nice experience in itself.
    camping, ahh the bliss. i can’t believe it’s Fall here already and we may not be able to do much camping for a few months 🙁

    • Psych Babbler
      October 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      It was amazing T! Every time I camp, I think about you now. 🙂 And I love sharing the experience with a group…so far, touchwood, I’ve been with great groups of people. For us, with bushfires now in the mountains, most of the camping will probably be coastal.

  • Francesca
    October 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    What beautiful scenery and an amazing achievement to have done that – well done! I think that swinging bridge would have freaked me out a bit.

    Thanks so much for linking up. Sorry it has taken me this long to comment. We’ve had a HUGE week which I hope to blog about soon 🙂
    Francesca recently posted…Thankful for the SerenityMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      October 21, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      The bridge was a bit scary Francesca…I was hoping it wouldn’t give way while crossing! 😛
      Psych Babbler recently posted…Living LifeMy Profile

  • Me
    October 21, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Looks like it was a great experience. The bridge definitely would have got me – no way I could walk that !!!
    Have the best day !
    Me
    Me recently posted…What Do You Know ?My Profile

  • Lynnette
    October 21, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Great recap. The bridge looks wicked. 🙂
    Lynnette recently posted…From Sewers to Subways: Urban ExplorersMy Profile

  • The month that was October | Over Cups of Coffee
    November 1, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    […] started off with the long weekend for us Down Under and for me, that involved hiking along the Six Foot Track. I think for some reason, once I did that, I just couldn’t write […]

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