|5 December 2006
|Camels Hump, Pierce Trig, Elsies Falls and Nil Desperandum
|Maps: Tidbinbilla 8627-2S 1:25000
A brief description of the day is: boring, boring; excellent views; mutiny; sweaty and dusty; interesting; boring, hot and boring. A 29°C day in Canberra.
A boring, boring wander up the Camel Back fire trail to the base of Camels Hump (aka Camel Back) (5.7km and 440m climb in 1hr 25mins). Actually, the vegetation is recovering and the fire trail was quite pleasant in the early morning cool. A 5 minute camera break to get my new Canon 400D digital SLR camera into action - I took some dreadful shots and will have to learn how to drive it.
Up the short, sharp southern side of Camels Hump (0.2km and 90m climb in 9 minutes). Excellent views, particularly back to the close S (see pic 1), although the distance was smoke hazed out from fires in Victoria. A 20 minute break for more camera driving.
Mutiny, as it was suggested to wander on to Pierce Trig since one of the party hadn't yet enjoyed that location and we could see a ute there for a possible lift home. Down the northern face of Camels Hump, past a quickly slithering brown snake, along the fire trail and up the fence line to Pierce Trig (1.7km in 50mins). 10 minutes to enjoy the view, especially down and across to the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station and the dishes.
We returned to below Camels Hump and the top of Hurdle Creek (1.2km in 17mins).
It was a reasonably gentle down to begin with. The GPS took us to a most insignificant Elsies Falls. Not a hint of water in the dry drainage line. Perhaps misnamed and quite soon after we decided, as the gradient steepened and the scree slipped, the area was Elsie falls. Disturbed 4 Tawny Frogmouths from the ground. They flew into a nearby tree and Max commented that they are excellent subjects for binoculars and cameras - they just sit there whilst the humans get organised. A steep, slippery, slow, sweaty and dusty plunge continued down Hurdle Creek. We eventually got to a more falls-like area at some large white boulders (which can be seen from the Visitors Centre and Paddys River Road) - maybe the map marking is incorrect. Below them some nice tree ferns, but still no hint of water. A lyre bird. Eventually out onto the Jedbinbilla fire trail (1.8km and 240m drop in 1hr 45mins, so pretty slow).
0.9km in 15mins along a fire trail to Nil Desperandum (there was at last a pool of water in Hurdle Creek as the track crossed it) for a 25min lunch. Great views back up the way we'd come (see pic 2) and an interesting building (see pic 3).
A boring, hot and boring plod along the fire trails in the burnt out Block 60 Forest area, back up into the recovering native timber to rejoin the Camel Back fire trail. At the burnt pine forest/native timber boundary there was a gigantic block of granite, perhaps the Phantom's scull cave. 8km of plod in 2hr 10mins, with 350m climb and 90m drop.
Home brew and Coke homing devices were in operation, as we weren't near the Tharwa store. Called in at the Visitors Centre to say thankyou on the way out.
Another piece of walker wisdom on the day was that the leader has the right to go wherever they want to and the party members exercise their choice to join in or otherwise. So, I'd wanted to visit Elsies Falls and Nil Desperandum - and I have, with fine company. Certificate bearing Alan, Madeleine and Max can testify to the fact. Thanks folks.
Distance: 19.6km Climb: 1000m. Time: 7.45am - 3.15pm (7.5hrs), with 60mins of breaks.
|Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
|1 View S from Camels Hump
|2 Elsies Falls and Hurdle Creek from Nil Desperandum
|3 Nil Desperandum