Thursday, June 4, 2015

Trip Report: A Rant & A Rave...

It was the perfect start to the week. The Hema map was folded open, Memory-Map (an Android GPS app) was loaded with the NSW topographical 25K map and a website loaded highlighting GPS tracks in the area zoned for the upcoming weekend 4x4 trip.

It's winter in the Southern Hemisphere so the enthusiasm by the extended group to head into remote areas camping was rather limited which resulted in only two vehicles (a Jeep Rubicon & a Land Cruiser Prado) departing Friday evening for a remote camping spot in the Jenolan State Forest.

This was to be our third trip to Jenolan having first found the camping spot back in 2012 and again in 2013.

A message to all those who love bushcamping... remember those who follow!

We rolled down the rocky terrain at 10pm on Friday evening and quickly threw open the 2-second popup tents. Work stress slowly evaporated as the orange flames bit into the dry wood whilst whispered conversation added to the ambiance of that first night camping.

It was with great disappointment that we woke up on Saturday morning to find that this remote bushcamping spot was littered with water bottles, beer cans and a shredded ARB snatch strap. 

My rant is to those who don't remember that others will be following them and don't bother to take their rubbish with them! No excuses people... take your rubbish home! Rant over!

Our intended plan was to head from Jenolan Caves through to Abercrombie National Park taking in a few of the State Forests enroute. As we entered the Jenolan State Forest late on Friday night, our spot lights reflected off some warning tape. Our UHF radios voiced each vehicles thoughts as we discussed what it the warning sign might refer to but failed to stop in our haste to get to our camping spot. We simply presumed it was to warn of active tree logging in the area. Little did we know that we were about to enter a high speed offroad rally race which was scheduled to start at 10am on Saturday!

Fortunately, the state forest is large enough that we could navigate away from the race area without overlapping on the race route. It was a critical lesson to read warning signs and to simply not presume. 

Jenolan State Forest borders the one of the worlds oldest cave systems, namely Jenolan Caves. The drive down the valley and through the cave entrance is dramatic.
MiVue Dashcam Photo

My rave for the weekend is to highlight the reason why we own a 4wd... it gives us the ability to explore remote areas taking in the wonders of the World Heritage Blue Mountains.

The trails we explore are so infrequently driven that often we are left wondering why the track existing in the first place.
Jeep Rubicon - Blue Mountains, NSW
It's the flexibility to choose a trail on the map, to cook over a fire whilst sharing stories with friends and to zip-close the tent knowing that the local bird song will wake you in the morning.

Our drive home meandered through the valleys close to the Blue Mountains before joining the frantic Sunday afternoon.

As the new week evolved, and the chores of daily routine became real again, I reflected on the weekend...

  • Read the warning signs and don't presume.
  • Take extra dry wood when camping in winter - a very smokey fire is not relaxing!
  • Remember those who follow... take your rubbish home!
  • And book the next weekend away :-)

Additional Reading:
Dust on the Dashboard
Abercrombie NP
This mum's taxi could be...