Kerry Mountain by Mt Coricudgy

or The Road To Lost Dreams?

Sat 30th Sun 1st October 2006

Party: -

Bob (L), Bob, Theo, Steve, Daenam, Dug.

We arrive at the designated camping spot 1km past the Dunn’s Swamp turn off, about 10:30pm, after stopping at Sandy Hollow for their great hamburgers.  A delightful clear night not too cool at this stage, although we sleeping under the stars did find a bit of frost close by in the morning.

A leisurely start saw us off about 8:30am, to park the cars at Kelgoola Picnic Area.  On the way the Bobs stopped to speak with a man backing his truck out of his driveway.  The timber feller working in the Coricudgy Mt in the State forest.  The importance of this is that when we got back to the cars on Monday afternoon a note under the windscreen wiper said.  “If I knew you were going over the top I would have given you a lift.”  Anyone who has slogged up that road would know what our answer would have been, club walkers or not.

 A pleasant day for a walk, the views into the distance as we gained altitude delightful.  The birds are out entertaining us, we pass roos and wallabies and can hear wild dogs in the distance.  One off putting item is the signes saying, this area is a hunting zone or this area is a hunting exclusion zone.  We pass a fair few sets of these signes right out to the National Park boundary, no sight of hunter though so they must be good at their trade (or absent today). 

Mt Coricudgy has a volcanic cap, so the soil is much richer than the sandstone soils we pass on the ridges.  This makes for a wonderful change in the vegetation as you walk.  Smaller rough barked trees with small prickly scrub on the ridges.  Tall smooth barked Blue Gum trees with rich rainforesty prickly scrub on the tops.  We pass the barricaded off safety area where the forester is working, there are already several logs ready for transporting.  Another tree crashes down off to one side, he is hard working today.

We have smoko beside the trig point right on top of the mountain, bright sunny day although no distant views because of the bush.   The forest up here is tall with a dense canopy way up above our heads, the ground is relatively clear of cover.  I always love walking in these forests. 

We wander on down the road towards Kerry Mountain through the beautiful Australian bush.  I suppose in some ways this road is the road to lost dreams as the man that opened up the area and grazed many of the rich peaks and ridges has had to move on, despite all his work and expense.

We do not see any water on the way, even the dam on the ridge between Mt Davis and Middle Hill is completely dry.  Just after 3pm we stop to camp on the saddle between Mt Barker and Kerry Mtn.   Bob, Steve and Theo, volunteer to drop down into the creek to the east to try and find water.  Daenam and I walk on a little to check out an overhang that Bob spoke of, while the other Bob set up his tent.  We are both sleeping out and the forecast is for rain so we prefer to sleep in the cave and cook amongst the rocks where we can sit to eat.  Luckily the water party were successful else we would have had a thirsty night.

A pleasant tea under the stars listening to the night birds and catching glimpses of the small insect eating bats, flitting here then there, hunting through the night sky.  Later the wind picked up and some cloud comes over from the south east side but dissipates just over the ridge to the west.  Luckily nothing develops and we have a pleasant night.  Early in the morning we cave dwellers were visited by a Lyre bird that landed in a tree only a few feet away.  He became very agitated when he spotted us and stormed off, telling the world what he thought of the interlopers.  By the sounds, the rest of the animal kingdom just kept on doing there thing unperturbed.  I might add we had seen signes of roosting birds near our bed sites, but more the size of swallowtails.  Luckily they didn’t join us for the night, else there may have been a splat or two.

Again a lazy start and we are off walking about 9am, the day promises to be warmer with a completely clear sky and a light NW breeze.  Only a short stroll to Kerry Mtn now on an easy track. 

Kerry Mountain proves to be one of the basalt domes so we are soon walking through grass meadows, between the huge, tall, straight Blue Gums.  A wonderful place to be.  We find a dam of good water and a little further a tin hut with a drum full of collected rain water.  This is good news for those of us short of water.  An altogether wonderful place, in some ways reminiscent of an English forest park garden. 

Beautiful views of the nearby magnificent sandstone cliff lined Widden Valley, then rolling bush on into the hazy distance.  Mt Dangar a dome in the haze to the nor nor east, Mt Mondilla back to the south east, Nullo Mtn and Mt Pomany to the west and north west.  We take our time lazing there taking in the scenery and enjoying the warm spring sunshine.  Bob scouts lower down on the east trying to spot a dam that showed in an aerial photo, without success. 

We skirt further round to the east and find the ridge that takes us to Ross Castle, where we have lunch lazing on top, in the warm glow of the sun.  Then press on to Mt Coriaday to complete the Irish name tour.  Some of this ridge is easy walking but uncomfortably some is scrubby.  The flower display was magnificent in places, the wattles were a blaze of colour and the 3 petal purple flower lovely, on the side of Ross Castle the display of white and cream rock orchids stunning.

The cleared area shown on the NP map proves to be overgrown and very scrubby, a bit of a “pain” in fact.  This western side of the mountain does not have any of that great rainforest with royal tree ferns we found on the eastern side on a trip 10 or so years ago, but still it is basalt dome and well worth the trip.  The top is somewhat more overgrown than last time.  More good views to the south east back over the rolling forests of the Wollemi NP. 

It is wonderful to have such an extensive wilderness so close to Newcastle/Sydney, but then I suppose the settlers would have preferred rich land they could convert to farming.  In older poorer times many small land holders tried to eke a living from the pockets of rich soil but this would have been subsistence farming at best.  The bushrangers and cattle duffers made good use of some of the many “secret” valleys, according to the local folk law.  The aboriginals certainly roamed extensively through out this area.  The main ridges we follow show signes of their passage, with many food plants along the way and easy ramps up some of the rocky places.  Not good for the European immigrant but great for the local.

We had to hurry back to camp to make sure we had time to collect water in the daylight light.  The slope down to the creek is very steep, part of the way an old bulldozer track we wonder how they got it back out again (winch probably).  We follow the dry dusty ridge into the dry dusty creek bed and on down until we come to a small canyony side stream with pools cool clear water.  Then slog back up using hands and feet.  A lovely place to see, with beds of ferns or clear forest depending on the canopy above.

Back at our lone camping spot by the pagoda rock we watched the setting sun glow display on the rock face changing by the minute, the shadows of the trees look very strange, giant shadow puppets of the vegetation.   Or perhaps best described as aboriginal shadow art.  Daenam says the rock looks like a dream time space ship with its orange glow, bun shape and control blister on top.  What a setting to cook tea over an open fire after a day of satisfying exertion.

Another great night in the Australian bush, awakening again to the dawn birds’ chorus, particularly the Lyre Birds.  A clear warm morning with a slight SW breeze, ideal for the walk out.  Again very pleasant walking and a most pleasant part of the world. 

This time we took a different track on the eastern side of Mt Coricudgy.  Which goes through magnificent rain forest and water available in a stream beside the track!  We stopped to examine the ruins of the saw mill. Then again at the hut, this is showing more signes of vandalism.  The water tank is no more but you would still have shelter on a wet evening.  Back at the cars a little after one we sluice off in the creek and are away, some for the pub in Rylstone, others for food at Sandy Hollow.

A great walk in a great area, thank you Bob for leading and Bob, Steve, Theo and Daenam for your great company.  Daenam with his small day pack a good reminder to the rest of us, that we can take a lot less and enjoy it more.  Till next time.  © Copyright 2006 Dug Floyd.