|5 June 2005
|Smokers Trail (Orroral Valley to Smokers Gap) Crossover
|Maps: Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S Second Edition 1:25000; Corin Dam 8626-1N Second Edition 1:25000
This walk was a CBC walk led by Michael G and Janet E, the 11th time the Club has organised this walk. 22 of us walked. We met and swapped cars in Gordon, with half of the group going to Smokers Gap and the rest of us to the Orroral Valley Tracking Station site. I'd been wanting to do this walk for some time, if only to connect two places I'd regularly been to. I'd threatened my son each time he visited from the USA that he'd have to drive me to the start and pick me up at the finish; here now was the opportunity to join the club walk, so I skipped morning church.
The 11 of us in the uphill party set off from the Orroral Valley Tracking Station site at 9.20am. No need to find fire trail or track, just an amble in a north west direction up the valley floor. Kangaroos bounded out of our way and a wedge-tail eagle settled in a tree 50 metres to our right at one stage. There were excellent views to the granite tors on both ridges - to the north east The Belfry stood high above the tree tops and Legoland tumbled down from the ridge line; on the south west side the fire denuding allowed the Lunar Laser Rocks to be clearly visible.
Morning tea was taken at the stockyards (marked on first edition maps), where one of our GPS equipped members found a nearby geocache.
We continued our saunter paralleling the Orroral River, its swampy extensions shrunken by the long, harsh drought. The tree covered hills traversed by Smokers Trail were always to our front. We crossed Sawpit Creek, then a weather recording station drew our attention.
At 11.40am we joined Smokers Trail at a beautiful specimen of a Banksia tree, which marked our lunch spot. Within minutes the down hill mob arrived and we took luncheon and exchanged car keys. We enjoyed grand views to the rugged hills of the Gudgenby Nature Reserve, including Dutchies Peak, Mt McKeahnie and McKeahnie Trig.
After a pleasant hour the parties parted company and we began the uphill tromp along Smokers Trail. Opportunities for good conversation as we trudged the trail, and certainly interesting granite rocks and knolls to take our attention. We stopped and explored the largest.
At 2.20pm we reached the frost hollow of Smokers Flat and the signposted link track to the Square Rock Walk. Our trail swung east for around 2 km, then north for another kilometre and a half to the cars at Smokers Trail car park. We signed the register - to let those responsible for our great walking areas know the number and extent of usage. 3.15pm saw us dusting our boots off and beginning the drive home.
A great day, organised and led by highly competent leaders. Another portion of my goal to walk continuously north-south to the west of Canberra completed!
Total Distance: 17.5km Time: 9.20am - 3.15pm with 1 hour 35 minutes of stops.
|1 Lunar Laser Rocks on western ridge of Orroral Valley
|2 Swamp at the northern end of Orroral Valley
|3 Granite rock by side of Smokers Trail