|2 April 2005
|Rendezvous Creek Ridge and Nursery Swamp
|Maps: Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S Second Edition 1:25000
I did this walk with DB and MF, one older and one younger than me and both fitter. They certainly taught me a thing or two about bushwalking. Drive from Weston Creek via the southern suburbs through Tharwa. Turn right into Orroral Road just after the top of Fitz's Hill and drive past the Orroral Campground for a further 2.5km to the sign posted Nursery Swamp car park on the right of the road. All sealed road, about 50 km and 1 hour's drive.
This walk is number 13 in Graeme Barrow's Namadgi and Tidbinbilla Classics: Tough Bushwalks in Canberra's High Country. We left Canberra at 7.15am and started walking just after 8am.
As described, we walked briskly uphill from the Nursery Swamp carpark. Reaching the top and starting down, we took the new crossing over Nursery Creek then, when the track started curving away towards the top of the swamp, struck off in a west-ish direction and to the south of the open tussocky flat. We did pick up a bit of a foot pad at times, but it was pretty easy navigation by the lie of the land, heading towards the gap in the two ranges ahead.
We decided not to go as far west (and down) as the saddle and, as soon as the spot height 1373 hill came closer, we headed up it. Huge granite boulders. It was a steepish climb which deserved a couple of pauses for me to regain my breath, but just short of the top I felt crook so lay down for 5 minutes. My companions enjoyed an apple and some water.
Then on to the top and the large rock shelf pictured in Barrow's book. We spent 20 minutes admiring the view. The hills opposite were not vibrantly green, but the burnt trees revealed more of the magnificent rock structures of the hills. Far to the left as the Rendezvous Creek valley opened up was the Gudgenby grasslands and the familiar Yankee Hat carpark. Just after I put my camera away, we were rewarded by the fabulous sight of a wedge-tailed eagle soaring to within 20 metres of us - such elegant power.
We wandered south-east along the ridge to the next feature, spot height 1351. Not as open a view as the previous one, but a perfect place for our luncheon experience. From my companions' packs emerged ham, rye bread, cheese, sun dried tomato, olives and grilled eggplant and a fine, chilled bottle of sparkling burgundy. However, not to be outdone (as I had been briefed concerning the usual standard of luncheon enjoyed by these two walkers) I pulled out crackers, smoked salmon (carried up next to a freezer pack) and another cheese. To finish the meal, I made fresh coffee - served from a stainless steel plunger and in china cups and saucers, of course. We spent an enjoyable 1 hour 20 minutes 'at table'.
After packing up we proceeded down and around, first for 500m at 105°M, then on 90°M. We chose to stay on the north bank of the gully which went down to Nursery Swamp. Soon the country began to open up and the swamp, in its brown autumn-winter colours, came into view.
There was nothing left to do but to tramp the side of the swamp, eventually finding the end of the Nursery Swamp track. It does look a bit burnt and dry and weedy and sad - one of the few places I have walked just before and now over 2 years after the Jan 2003 fires.
MF led us at a fearsome pace back to the car (she enjoys track walking!), which we reached by 3pm.
An excellent day - an excellent meal!
Distance: 13.7km Time: 8am-3pm, with 1 hour 45 minutes of stops.
|1 View across Rendezvous Creek from spot height 1373
|2 Lunch on spot height 1351
|3 Southern end of Nursery Swamp