Oldies at Large – The Wilderness Camp

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 11.57.35 amKanangra-Boyde Wilderness Area, Blue Mountains west of Sydney

I sit here in the fog of a cold mountain morning, listening to the sound of the remarkable lyre bird whose song fills the forest with an amazing cacophony of sound. It is wonderful to hear as he begins in waking the other animals of the wilderness. It is still fairly early in the morning and the currawong joins him in his song as the kookaburra breaks the dawn with a deafening cackle. I wonder though … is that the lyre bird telling his tale, trying to teach a youngster how to lie? The tone is slightly off, the cackle less sure in the dawn. I will never know.

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 8.32.14 amIt is delightful to hear though and to be a part of the bush as we camp out here in the Aussie bush. There are deep wombat holes buried into the side of the bank that we searched out yesterday and the kangaroo’s are passing occasionally through our camp, looking for the soft new grasses to nibble on. We, ourselves are deep in the wilderness of what is the vast spread of the Blue Mountains, that behind the greater Sydney metropolis and it could be the end of the earth here, you would never know the difference.

Dawn will not truly break for us for an hour or two yet, though the light is in the sky. The fog here sits close to the earth, secure in the valley where we are and the rays of sunlight that are the delight of the morning will cross this ground later in the break of day.

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 8.06.42 amThe campfire is our solace and it burns along brightly, a billy sits over its flame and that precious hot cup of coffee is at my side. Life is so good at times and in camp it is the simplest of things which bring a smile to your face.

Breakfast this morning is noodles, they are easy, simple to make and satisfying. I had planned on porridge but I am too lazy to wash the pot, so it seems now that noodles will become a staple while we explore the wilderness at hand over the next months.

We have unhooked the caravan, our home, and left it hundreds of kilometres away back on the home site. For the next months we live out of the forbie, our trusty cruiser to which we attach a tent/annex at night. I love the arrangement and the freedoms of this type of life. We are exploring and adventuring you see, and we will mingle this with short stays at resorts. Where everything is at hand while we clean up and prepare for our next foray into a wilderness… any wilderness will do. I am in love with this adventure!

Learning to live comfortably in our car is in itself an adventure. One we have planned over time and honed with experience. It is a choice, a chance to see many of the wilderness area’s where you cannot take a caravan, nor even a camper-trailer. We tote instead our comfy swags and the tyres of our forbie chance the rough fire trails and tracks that wind through the wilderness. Here we are in the band of limestone, which cuts up through the earth and has created the limestone caves system that are part of Jenolan, Wombeyan, and other caves.

We camp out where we can and to-date that has been where campsites are set-aside in the wilds for the bushwalker and forbie enthusiasts, though you can camp wild if you choose. It has amazed me how many of these places for comfortable camps are hidden in the wilderness. Usually there is clean water nearby, often a trusty drop-toilet and certainly a beautiful serene peace. It is oneness with nature and there is a certain rightness with the world here.

I love the adventure of chancing the fire trails and bush tracks deeper in the forest wilderness and mountains. We sat at the edge of a deeper than usual culvert crossing deep in the bush yesterday. My eyes searched the deep holes of the water crossing, looking for shadows of rocks and darker holes as I measured the weight of water spilling over the culvert edge. They didn’t search beyond that.  The Man on the other hand had easily judged the crossing doable but his glance stretched beyond that to the climb out of the culvert. He saw the deep rocks and steeper angles of the slippery and polished sandstone where the water had washed away the sand and clay to form a trap for the wheels.

We each faced our nemesis… or what we thought was our nemesis and in turn each judged what was ahead doable. With smiles on our faces we slipped the gears into four-wheel drive and braved the crossing, climbing up the bank with delighted grins and the odd breath still held in our stead. There are no chicken tracks here as there were in The Cape adventure and that too was an adventure I loved to recall, you can read about it in past posts and publications.

Here we venture out on our own, though we would have loved a companion to secure our sense of safety but they are hard to come by when your on a trek into the wilderness in your own time frame, well away from the secure comforts and timetable of the home site. Here we are within reach of help should we need it, here we are barely an hour from someone… somewhere.

Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 12.13.39 PM copyIn Cape York you are thousands of miles from the cities, hundreds of miles from ready help should you get yourself into trouble and a flying doctor service is your only medical assistance.

Here though, just an hour or two from the city you can also become a part of the wilderness and join in the free forage of nature all around you. Over the next months I will be taking you along with us on this journey and we will be off to some surprising places. Come with me on our adventure. You can click the link off to the right hand side of this page to be notified when there is a new post at hand and check the lists at ‘Oldies at Large’ to discover what we have been into.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 7.21.55 pmFor now though I have just noticed that the sun has crept over the mountain and is making its way down the valley gorge, clearing the fog from the ground as it comes. The first thing that I noticed was that I was being bathed in a fine steaming mist as the suns rays heat the light moisture on the low grass… it gave me a moment of fright I can tell you as it seemed smoke was enveloping me but it was natures very own steam bath, one to match your breath in the cold mountain air.

The heat in the suns early rays is chasing the ground mist down towards the creek, crossing the camp and behind it travels the clear light of day underneath a beautiful blue sky. It will take the dew off the annex and soon is will be time to pack up the tent… we are off to explore the caverns today. Those wonderful limestone caves that hide deep in the ground in the area and I wouldn’t miss it for the world, join me on my adventure.

See ya for now… I am going to catch the sun.

2 thoughts on “Oldies at Large – The Wilderness Camp

  1. We loved camping out in the bush and have walked the Tasmanian Cradle-back Mountain to Lake St-Claire. That was years ago. It is nice to be able to do camping by following this adventure you have described so well.
    I lived in Revesby between 1957 to about 1965 after which I got married to a wonderful girl from Finland..

    • Yep… there is nothing quite like wilderness camping. Cradle-back Mountain is on our bucket list, one we hope to do in the years to come as we tour around Aus. Thanks from your comment Gerard. I am glad that you are enjoying the blog… I am loving the adventure. Happy travelling.

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