[SUBW-A] Trip report: Mt. Solitary, Feb 9 & 10

Schmelitschek, Cameron (Sydney-LIU) Cameron.Schmelitschek at LibertyInternational.com
Wed Feb 20 09:53:30 AEDT 2002

Party: Marcelle Gannon (leader), Carrie Graff (visitor), Cameron
Schmelitschek (writer)

After the cancellation of the Ettrema Gorge trip due to the lack of
sufficiently experienced participants, we needed to get away somewhere and
so at the last minute decided an easy overnight trip to somewhere in the
Blue Mountains would be a good idea.

We met at Glennbrook on Friday night to leave Marcelle's car behind and head
for the mountains.  Stopping to enjoy the atmosphere of Springwood on a
Friday night we had dinner (the atmosphere of Springwood on a Friday night
can be summed up in that we ate pizza out of a box sitting in a car park
watching the locals drive up and down the main street).  Our minds then
turned to greater things such as where exactly we would walk for the

Once we reached the National Park on the Mt Hay Road we found a good spot at
the junction of two tracks not a great distance in.  Setting up the tents
provided some entertainment with a combination of a very questionable
"Albert & Wendy Special" Kmart tent (apologies, the tent you have is far
better than this one) and Carrie's tent that was on loan and without
instruction or recognisable shape.

A relaxed start on Saturday we detoured through Katoomba to collect
necessary Tim Tams and then headed to Echo Point where we would begin the
walk.  We thought we would do a circuit starting at the Three Sisters going
round the Jamison Valley, crossing Mt. Solitary then down and up to Kedumba
Walls then down crossing the valley on the Water Board roads to come
directly back to Leura.

After photos of the Tree Sisters it was down the Giants Stair Case and
across the landslide, stopping for a while to watch the tourists get their
Blue Mountains Experience by riding the Scenic Railway down and returning on
the Sky Rider.  A short distance further we were stopped by a couple coming
in the opposite direction informing us that we couldn't go any further as
there was a tree over the track.  Perhaps they thought three people with
(particularly in Carrie's case) very bulky packs would turn around at the
tree in disappointment saying "there goes the weekend".  The tree was
subsequently passed by stepping over it.  One more note on this section of
the track, we passed a sign written in a dozen languages with the only
English reading "This sign is to prevent tourists getting lost".  Why it is
assumed that anyone who reads English won't get lost or what the signs says
I'd be interested in hearing.

We had lunch under Ruined Castle, Marcelle and I being introduced to peanut
butter and jelly on bagels by our American compatriot.

Our pace for the day had been rather leisurely so the afternoon had set in
as we climbed up the Knife on the Western side of Mt. Solitary.  A good
climb for those not experienced, especially with packs.  Each time you reach
the "top" the ridge goes forward and up again until rounding a bend you
realise it actually goes down before going up higher.  A campsite and
rumoured dinner called us onwards.

We tramped around the top for a short while to find water (very easy due to
the rain).  There were a few group at the top so we set off again to find a
campsite about half way along the mountain.  The ideal spot was reached just
as the sun set so we made quick camp and sat down to a fantastic pasta
prepared by Marcelle.  The absence of wine with dinner was fully compensated
by drinking the bottle of port, warmed, through Tim Tams.  Carrie I think
was very impressed.

An equally relaxed and late start on Sunday we set off for the far side of
the mountain, The Col.  At this point I should say that while we had looked
at the map in the street light off Springwood we had not given great study
to the contours of the descent.  For those who don't like heights (the
writer for one) this is very steep, 850m over 2 ½km, but doesn't have the
rock scrambling of the Western end.  

The valley floor reached at last we stopped to refill water bottles in a
side creek to the Kedumba River and decided that it was going to be too much
of an effort to return to Leura through the valley.  We kept heading up and
had a very late lunch at the Water Board Road before tramping up the Walls.
After a final photo session at the top we headed along the Kings Table Land
for Wentworth Falls.  By the time we reached the old hospital we decided
that a pub and nice food was a better way to spend the evening than walking
so called a cab to whisk us back to Katoomba.

We concluded the weekend with steaks at the Alexandra Hotel.  A good weekend
was had by all.



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