18 February 2006 Mt Yarara and Clear Range Photos
Map: Michelago 8726-4S 1:25000
Getting There
This walk was organised and led by Roger E as a CBC walk:
(' Saturday 18 February – Mt Yarara and Clear Range – L/M  A walk along the Clear Range following the ACT/ NSW border. Mainly on track, although there is a 600m climb, several crossings of the Naas River and a 2km bush bash down a steep slope. Map: Michelago 1:25000 Leader: Roger E. Transport: ~$8').

11 of us (7 lassies and 4 laddies) drove to Caloola Farm, down south of Tharwa.


The above walk description was clear and succinct - all that could not be included when it was written was that it would be a hot day (35°C in Canberra) and the several crossings of the Naas River, dry.  The walk tested me to my limits and, for around 30 minutes, past them.

We set off at 8.25am, having been warned by the Caloola Manager that the Naas River and feeding creeks were dry.  I was confident that my 3 litres of water was sufficient but, in hindsight, a little too generous during the day in giving away half of it.

We crossed the dry river ford and headed E and S to join the fire trail which then heads all the way south up the Naas River valley to eventually reach the Mt Clear camping ground.  Easy fire trail walking (although it does get hard on the balls of one's feet after some time) for 8.5km south, with a 100m gain in height.  Even the ubiquitous kangaroos began to disappear from sight as the day continued to warm.  A red-bellied black snake of goodly length drew our attention to the verge of the track, but it was not in a hurry to move anywhere in the heat. 

At the track junction we turned NE and up to climb onto the Clear Range, following the track as it looped N, then S, round to the 1000m contour.  A climb of around 250m.  We then headed up through the light bush, a further 300m and 100m climb, to cut off a 2.5km southerly loop in the track.  We regained the track at 12.35pm and moved on a further 0.7km and 100m up to gladly drop in a shaded place on the track for lunch.  Quite punishing for some in the party.  Open views across the Naas River valley to Booths Hill and Booth Range.

Shouldering our gear, we continued a further 2.8km N, to a fire trail junction just south of the final gentle climb to Mt Yarara.  Another 100m gain in height.  Here the party split, some choosing to contour around the final summit on the track.  We pushed up the final 100m in 1.1km through open scrub to reach the Mt Yarara high point at 3pm.  No sign of a trig marking, although there was a close-by small cairn (probably marking the ACT-NSW border).  Good views to the E - down to Michelago and the Cooma Road backed by the Tinderrrys - and W - across the Naas Valley and to the hazed blue peaks of Namadgi National Park.

At last we began to descend, first down the fence line (marking the ACT-NSW border) to rejoin the fire trail and our companions.  Then a 2.5km slog N and W along the fire trail, till we reached a drop-off point high above and E of Caloola Farm.  We were all beginning to dream about the farm's bore water tap at this point, which the Manager had said we could use.

As advertised, it was 'a 2km bush bash down a steep slope', with a drop of 400m in the first 1km.  I was at the tail with another slower walker and, at one stop, just couldn't get up again.  I'm currently doing the St John Ambulance senior first aid course and it was both interesting and encouraging to be able to recognise symptoms in myself and act accordingly.  I got some good tingling in my hands and arms and was light headed (classical fainting), so tried to lie across the slope (easier said than done!) to get my legs above my heart.  Our gallant leader headed off to get water back to us, but within 30 minutes I was right and the remaining 3 of us walked the last 1km to the track.  However, it was good that other members of the party returned in a vehicle with water for us - I'd never imagined that tepid bore water could be so refreshing.  A rescuer and I waited for 20 minutes, as we thought that another walker was yet to return, then we completed the last 1.25km by vehicle.

All safe and sound, but late, we returned to Canberra.  My dinner guest and wife had not waited for me! (but were, of course, most anxious at our late return until a phone message could be given).

Thanks, Roger - a good walk with many lessons for me.  I guess the day I stop learning is when I'm over-confident, dead or raptured!!

Distance: 22.3km  Climb: 800m.  Time: 8.25am - 7.25pm (11 hours), with 1hr 35mins of planned stops and, for me, 30mins unplanned).

1 View N down the Naas Valley to Mt Tennent
2 ACT-NSW border cairn near Mt Yarara
3 Down to Naas Valley with Booth Range at back