After a morning of overcast skies and lazy habits, we set off to complete the Wambelong Nature Track. While its only 1.1kms, it does include a climb and the walk there and back added another kilometre, so it wasn’t just a stroll.
We picked up the track at the northwest corner of the Blackman No.1 Campground, which is dedicated to unpowered tent camping. This part of the walk crosses the join of Spirey Creek, which has flowed down from the big mountains of the Grand High Tops and Wambelong Creek and then climbs slowly over a small ridge which keeps the main creek, Wambelong Creek, to its right.
Soon after, we crossed the road leading into the camping areas and followed the creek through a gorge it has created. To one side, vertical cliffs good enough to abseil and eventually, just as the creek widened onto the floodplain which is Canyon Picnic Area, the mammoth twin peaked Belougery Split Rock towered above. Its orange faces and caves and crevices have never lost the fascination they ignited when I first came here in 1968. As a boy from the suburbs of southern Sydney, driving through the night and arriving not long after sunset, the scene from what had been the camping area - Canyon Camp then - it was an inspiration that drove me to a lifetime of wanting to be in the bush among mountains. I bought my bride to this place on our honeymoon and we stayed in the old Sydney trams which had become accommodation.
A group of senior seniors from Canberra were enjoying sandwiches in the picnic area, so we climbed the next part of the walk - a steepish climb above the cliffs we had previously seen from Wambelong Creek. The views opened up to the east, with Siding Springs Observatory shining in the now bright sunshine against blue skies and Split Rock intimidating in the opposite direction. We met up with several of the oldies, some of whom were making hard work of the ascent from the opposite direction but most of whom were fun and interesting to talk to.
After we descended, we walked back along the access road to the camping area.
Late in the afternoon, it was ice creams at the Information Centre and a slow wander among the kangaroos near the Environment Centre, run by the NSW Education Dept.
It was a good day.