Tuesday 13 February 2018: Big Oaky Creek, Deua NP – L/R,ptXW. A circuit in a rarely-visited part of Deua NP, with beautiful eucalypt forest, treeferns, some rain forest and probably cascades. Starting from Macquarie Road we will descend to Big Oaky Creek: 400 vertical metres in 3 km down the scenic Oaky Creek fire trail and then 350 more vertical metres off track down a ridge. We will then rock-hop upstream as far as time permits – ½ to 3 km – and exit with a 600 vertical metre climb, via a ridge and possibly including a conical knoll which may have some views. The last 3 km will be up the Boundary Fire Trail, which has pleasant tree-filtered views of the Araluen Valley. Some sections of thick scrub expected. Graded ‘W’ just in case, but I am hoping to keep our feet dry. The forest and the ‘Braidwood Doctor’ breeze generally keep this area cooler than Canberra in summer. Leader: Linda G.
Distance: 17.9km | Climb: 1100m | Time: 8.50am – 5.20pm (8hrs 30mins), including 55 mins of breaks | Grading: L/R; H(14)
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A 13+ hour day, door-to-door, and worth every second of it. Another superb Linda led walk to a magic location. David kindly offered to drive the 6 of us in his Land Cruiser, around 1hr 45mins from Queanbeyan via the Kings Highway, River Forest Rd through Monga and Milo Rd. A tree fall stopped us 2.7km short of the planned start point.
Cool and misty as we began the soft fire trail plod. The mist/cloud with a spit or two kept some of us in coats for a while. 2,7km in 36mins to the planned start point along Macquarie Rd. Then a further 1.4km in 25mins down Oaky Creek Fire Trail to morning tea. Another 1.1km down Oaky Creek Fire Trail in 22mins to SH597, which was our spot to turn off-track for the final descent to Big Oaky Creek.
Another 450vm descent over 1.6km in 50mins saw us by the waters of the creek. We were very fortunate that the going was relatively open. The only issue was that every vertical metre of descent was to be climbed in the afternoon! A fraction smelly (goats/rotting vegetation/our damp clothing?).
But the walk up the creek was delightful! Rising gently and easily negotiable (apart from slippery rocks and stones), Big Oaky Creek gave us gurgles, ferns and many massive She Oaks (as well as one small Stinging Tree and a few patches of stinging nettle). We crossed and recrossed as necessary. Feet remained dry and there was no scrambling required. In all, we walked 2.6km of the creek in 1hr 40mins of walking time, which indicates how easy the going was. Some of us needed to de-leech at lunchtime; I was fortunate today, as I’d applied Bushmans liberally.
We left the creek at 1.35pm, after a break and taking on some water. We were not looking forward to what was to come but, apart from the tedious and energy-sapping 630vm climb up to Boundary Fire Trail, we were fortunate enough to once again encounter relatively open going. Not as open as the descent, but not scrub to have to push through. The 2.2km climb took 1hr 40mins. We certainly earned and deserved our break at the top.
But the climbing was not over yet and although it was 5.8km on fire trail back to the car, we climbed a further 250vm. This last leg took 1hr 50mins.
On the drive out Milo Rd we were stopped by a fallen tree. But, thankfully, a small one which was dispatched by dragging and hand-sawing.
Another wonderful trip, thanks Linda. Great company. Thanks for driving David.
8 walkers – Melinda B, Linda G (leader), Meredith H, David P, Ian W, me.