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Southern Highlands Bushwalkers

Mount Jellore, Nattai National Park, Southern Highlands Bushwalkers

A recent walk that Southern Highlands Bushwalkers managed to slot between various lockdowns was a hike up Mt Jellore in Nattai National Park. It had been couple of years since the Club had been on the Mount Jellore Walk as it has only recently re-opened after the bushfires.

There is a short walk to a rocky outcrop where you get the first view of the mountain, then a steep drop to a creek, followed by a steep walk up to the fire trail that leads to the base of Mt Jellore. From there it is a zig zag track up to the summit. There is now a lot of waist high regrowth. The trig at the top had survived the fires and from the peak you can see Sydney on a clear day. We took the alternative route back to the start which also involved a drop down to a creek followed by a climb back out.

Nattai NP offers beautiful wilderness and rugged walking experiences. The park is conveniently located close to several towns and features spectacular scenery and landscapes including sandstone cliffs, rainforests and woodlands. Walks in Nattai NP include Couridjah Corridor, Mount Jellore, Starlight’s or Nattai River.

Our January Club: Southern Highlands Bushwalkers

Southern Highlands Bushwalkers is an outdoor activities club which develops friendships through exploring natural wilderness and National Parks. The Club endeavours to plan activities to suit the needs of both individuals and families. Club activities range from short day walks to overnight backpacking hikes and car camp out weekends. However, other special activities may also be included in the Club’s programme.

The Club was formed in 1990 as the Highland Adventurers then underwent a name change to become the Southern Highlands Bushwalkers (Inc) in 1994. Since inception, membership has grown to about 60 and the members hail from as far afield as Palm Beach in the north to Goulburn in the south.

Southern Highlands Bushwalkers holds activities in the Mittagong, Bowral, Berrima area of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. This area has a great diversity of flora and fauna and access to many national parks and forested areas. Most of the local area is undulating to steep, easy walks are very few and a reasonable standard of fitness is required.

The worn Sydney sandstone of the area offers some many interesting and beautiful windblown features with views from ridges into valleys, creeks and gullies. These offer glimpses of lush cool rain forest, eroded sculptured landscapes and stunning views down the valleys formed by the rivers such as the Nattai.

The club offers mostly day walks from moderately easy to strenuous with a range of overnight backpacks or car camps and the occasional trips to more distant destinations. Off track walking may be through thick and difficult vegetation which requires experience and good navigation skills. The Club also does coastal walks, mainly in the Illawarra as well as some on Sydney Harbour.

 

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Blue Mountains Conservation Society

Various Bushwalks, Blue Mountains and surrounds, Words by Doug Nicholls, Blue Mountains Conservation Society.
A typical lunch break, sitting under an overhang enjoying the view. This particular walk was on the Undercliff Track Wentworth Falls which is often done as a circuit with the Charles Darwin Walk and the Conservation Hut.
The Grand Canyon Circuit is a very popular family walk. If you only have time for one walk, this one is a good choice for a classic Blue Mountains experience.
Dargan Arch

Dargan Arch in the upper Blue Mountains is an amazing natural sandstone arch in a gorge and an easy walk from carparking. To get to the bottom and under the Arch requires a little more effort but is well worth it.

Our November Club: Blue Mountains Conservation Society

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society (BMCS) has 330 bushwalking members who enjoy walking in amazing locations in the Blue Mountains and surroundings.

Blue Mountains Conservation Society has weekly bushwalks to suit a range of abilities held on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.  The Club’s walk details can be found on the BMCS website where the activity subsection will invite new walkers. BMCS also has a monthly Plant Study Group.

October 2021 was special as the Blue Mountains Conservation Society celebrated its 60th Birthday.

A bushwalker’s two day crawl before rescue

In kindly and candidly sharing a very painful and harrowing ordeal, a club leader has given us some important points to reflect upon. Every time we head out.

In mid-September, Neil Parker (54), an experienced leader for Brisbane Bushwalkers, was conducting a solo recce (reconnaissance walk) of Cabbage Tree Creek near Brisbane, Queensland.

While alone, Neil fell down a 6-metre waterfall, fracturing both his leg and wrist. He then crawled for two days, to reach a clearing, in the hope of a search team finding him. Excruciating.

He did not have a PLB*, and did not leave trip intentions.

It is rare, but sometimes things go wrong.

This article describes the incident: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-18/mt-nebo-bushwalker-crawls-to-safety-after-fracturing-leg-wrist/11522794

Neil’s personal account is well worth a listen:

https://www.facebook.com/ABCSunshineCoast/videos/2434513696831834/

We encourage you to reflect on Neil’s experiences.

 

Some of our reflections are:

  • Take a PLB*, especially when going solo. Even for short walks. Register it with AMSA.
  • Always Leave Trip Intentions with a reliable person.
    • That means telling someone your detailed trip plans, and when you are due to return. Plus it means that person calling the police if you haven’t returned at the time you said you would. Always call your responsible person on your safe return.
  • Neil is saying the right things in his interview so he is clearly very knowledgeable and experienced. This helped him save himself. So:
    • Join a bushwalking club to learn a wealth of invaluable knowledge and experience in all kinds of adventure. For a very low cost! Have a great time discovering new places. and new types of adventure activities.
  • Neil didn’t panic and had a good first aid kit.
    • He could have also included a sam splint in his kit – it is a much better for dealing with a fracture than walking poles or tree branches.
  • Neil demonstrates how important it is to take first aid kits seriously and keep them well-stocked. Even for a short, familiar walk.
  • Neil took warm clothes and a space blanket on a short, local walk, in a warm climate. And needed them.
    • Consider also a cashmere beanie – superb warmth-to-weight ratio.
    • The space blanket kept him warm and could help rescuers see him.
    • Regularly replace your space blanket – they can de-laminate over time.
  • Neil also took a head torch, his mobile phone and energy-packed snacks. He needed all of these too.

 

If you haven’t watched it yet, do watch Neil’s personal account:

https://www.facebook.com/ABCSunshineCoast/videos/2434513696831834/

Pass it on

All outdoor adventures can benefit from Neil Parker’s experience, so please pass this onto them.

For Clubs

We’d also recommend that club committees devote some time to discussing Neil Parker’s experience and insights, and the implications for each club’s risk management.

We advise all club members to put all exploratory (recce) trips on their activities program. This is the minimum requirement for an activity to be covered by our Bushwalking Australia Insurance.

We also recommend all clubs have: (1) a way of recording trip intentions for all activities, (2) a way of checking that all participants have returned from their activities when they said they would, and (3) a person who will call the police if a person/party haven’t returned when they said they would.

 

We wish you all the best out there. And we wish Neil Parker a rapid and full recovery.

 

*PLB = Personal Locator Beacon

Stretcher Practice

Shoalhaven Bushwalkers had a first aid incident recently that resulted in some rather creative first aid practice involving a makeshift stretcher.

A short while into an off-track walk, one of their members ruptured his achilles tendon jumping between rocks.

After discussed diagnosis and plan of action, three members returned slowly with the patient, using borrowed walking poles, to the cars.

While waiting for the return of two of the walkers,  the remaining group decided to do a bit of first aid practice. Since there were no heavy duty rain jackets in the gear that day, they decided to try making a stretcher out of day packs.

As you can see, this was their successful result. In a real situation the packs could be emptied to lighten the load leaving a few soft items for support!

Photo: Karen Davis.