Glamping (Not!)   1 comment

Friday, 31 May & Saturday, 1 June, 2013

Tomorrow, 1st June, is officially the first day of winter in Australia. So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been planning to get one more camping trip in before it gets too cold! Yes, we’ve been getting temperatures of -3 overnight here in Canberra. ‘Where should I go?’ was my first thought, mmmmm maybe another trip down to the coast, nah been there, done that! What about a couple of days up on the Australian Alps before the snows come? ‘Are you mad’. My thoughts turned to what do you wanted to do once I’d been camping and I thought that a hike somewhere interesting would be a good idea. So I decided to camp up at the old NASA tracking station at Honeysuckle Creek and the hike over the ridge to the other former NASA tracking station at Orroral and back, which would make it about a 20 km round trip.

I should have done it last week, but decided to stay at work for the regular Happy Hour on the Friday night and ended up slightly worst for wares. Pretty really, as it turned out to be the perfect weather on the Friday and Saturday for camping/hiking. Next week I’m off to Sydney to Barbara and Lawrence for the Queen’s birthday long weekend. Strange that, the way the all the colonies get to have a day of for the royal birthday, whilst back in the UK you get nothing. Anyway, this weekend it was and I’ve been watching the weather all week wondering what I’ll get. It hasn’t looked good since Wednesday and I was going to call it off this morning when they said to expect persistent rain on Saturday. However, last night I packed all the camping gear into the car and prepared enough food for the weekend with the idea of having a ‘go, no go’ call at lunchtime today.

So at 12:30 I rode my bike home, collected the car and returned to work ready for a quick dart at 16:00. My plan was to stop at the supermarket at Conder on the way down, then to stop off at the Namadgi National Park visitors centre to pay my camping fees, collect some firewood and grab a couple of decent maps of the route I wanted to take. All this before I arrived at the campsite to pitch my tent before it got dark at around 17:30. Did the supermarket bit, but I didn’t realise that the visitors centre closed at 16:00 so I proceeded to the camp site wondering if the large scale maps I’d brought with me would be good enough for the hike tomorrow.

Rolled into the camping grounds at Honeysuckle Creek expecting to see loads of campers already set up, wrong! In fact I thought that I was the only one there and was contemplating going home when I spotted a couple of tents over in the far corning of the site. Being the curious type I went over and stuck up a conversation with them. Turns out that they were three young kids who camp here on a regular basis. Over a cold beer by their fire, Josh from New Zealand, Andy from Australia and Beth from Leicester, England filled me in on their plans for the weekend, the best places to camp (well away from them, as they expecting some more friends to arrive and it could get rowdy!) and what to expect on my hike in the morning.

Drove over to far side of the camp site and found a great spot to set up my tent next to fire pit and picnic bench where I got busy unloading the car. Didn’t take long to put up the tent and get a brew onto the camping stove. By the time I was finished making the brew and putting all my stuff in tent it was completely dark. Good job I’d left early as I would have had to set up in darkness, just like the couple who arrived later

Just finished my tea of curry and rice that I brought with me and I’m wondering what to do. The party seems to have started over on the other side of the site and the couple seemed to have got to bed early! Seeing that I’ve brought my iPod and iPad, I’ve got some mellow music on and am reading the Canberra Times that downloaded earlier in the day. Good job really as there’s no signal up here, so I’m completely cut off.

Okay, that’s it, I’m off to sleep! Read the paper from cover to cover, it’s pitch black out there and the party seems to be getting louder with lots of shouting etc. but it’s just started raining, so that might dampen their spirits a little. So it’s headphones on and nighty night from me.

Sat 07:00
An interesting night! Couldn’t sleep with the racket going on across the camp site, so I ended up putting my headphones on and falling asleep to the dulcet tones of Van Morrison. Was woken up by the heavy rain at god knows what hour, but managed to get back off. However, at 04:30 I woke again, this time for good. Maybe because I’d already got my 7 or 8 hours sleep in, I don’t know. Anyway, lay there listening to the sounds of the forest and waiting for the dawn to break. The rain has held off since I’ve been awake, but I’m not taking any chances…. Going to get up, break camp and put everything in the car and then cook my breakfast on the BBQ’s setup under the outbuilding over near the youngsters, who are surprisingly quiet at this time in the morning!

Okay, that me done! Breakfast cooked, eaten and squared away. Hiking gear on and the car all locked up ready for the off. The rain has started again, so I don’t know how far I’ll get into this hike before I’m forced to turn back, but I’m going to start anyway. Looking at the map and the information signs setup around the place, it looks as though I’ve got a 18km round trip ahead of me, so without further ado, I’m off…

Wow, that was hard! Steady rain at the start, but nothing to worry about I thought. All of the hike was on fire trails with the outward leg consisting of 3km up towards the top of the ridge at the back of the camp site, followed by a steep 4km descent into the Orroral valley floor, with a short walk across to the old Tracking Station. As soon as I arrived the rain really started to get heavy, so after a quick bite to eat I had little choice in retracing my steps back along the track to the camp site and my car

Back home to sort out my gear from the weekend. Hiking gear is soaking and I need to air out the tent as it’s likely that I won’t be using it again till next summer. Plan to drive into town tonight to grab a bite to eat, then watch of the NRL/AFL games on the big screen, so I’m off into the shower.

Just woke up after falling asleep on the couch! So much for my plans for tonight, I’m off to bed…


Posted June 2, 2013 by yermandownunder in Observations, Out and about, Travels

One response to “Glamping (Not!)

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  1. Pingback: BooRoomba Rocks | yermandownunder

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