Friday, 19 June 2015

Day 2 at Blue mountains - Megalong Drive

The reception at the Nepean River Park opened only at 9am. With our breakfast done with, bags packed and booted, we cleared our bill and left the place to begin with our adventures for the day.

We planned for the Megalong Valley which formed one of the spokes of the Blackheath Discovery Trail. We drove through the rainforest of Blackheath Glen. The drive was truly mesmerizing! We felt transported to a different place altogether. The air was magical, the smell of the greens and the soil, the huge ferns, the different kinds of foliage and their various shades, the rejuvenating air accompanied by the chirping of the birds truly felt like paradise! We wished for the drive to not end!

However, our thoughts were temporarily interrupted as we chanced upon an entrance to the rainforest at Coachwood Glen. It was a short 600m loop walk. However, I didn’t realise that it wasn’t a board walk which actually left me unprepared for what was to follow.

Within the rainforest, we walked through a narrow clearing which only kept descending down, mostly gently, but at times, abruptly until we finally reached a brook. The walk by itself was exhilarating! To walk among such thick rainforest foliage with the sound of flowing water was indeed refreshing, we felt awakened and alive!

Crossing the brook was a challenge for me, the slippery boulders only added to my woes! Once on the other side of the brook and mission accomplished, my heart was pounding hard in the realization of what would be had I to miss my footing! Well, this was not my only ordeal, three fourth into the loop, and we felt lost; we hadn’t memorized the map carefully enough. We knew we were close to the road, but simply couldn’t find our exit. I must say that fear did not culminate into panic simply because it was only after our trip that I heard announcements on the radio about a child being lost in the Blue Mountains forest for four days and a woman who fell off from the cliff being rescued only a day later!

Although this was a short walk filled with adventure, for me, it was a soulful experience!
We continued with the Megalong Valley Trail beyond the point where the sealed road turned into gravel and we drove up to the end of the gravel road. Nothing much to write about this section of the drive except for, the fascination of crossing over a well-marked ford. The drive on the gravel road was bumpy, dusty and not really scenic.

We stopped for lunch at the Old Ford Reserve. We saw quite a few of day campers, as well as, a couple of others who seemed to be staying there for a while. We enjoyed our lunch at the picnic table that was set up in the camping area.  We then headed to a nearby stream, soaking in the beauty of the surrounds. We were so struck by the clear waters of the lakes and rivers of Australia that it made us realise, that the constant presence of filth in our waters of India made cleanliness too a kind of attraction to us!

We spent some time by the stream pondering on the similarities of the gifts of nature bestowed to the two countries (India and Australia) and yet, the differences in the manner of our approach to the very gifts.

Later, we headed to our second accommodation, The Lithgow Valley Motel. The motel was conveniently located. At the motel, we were provided with a tetra pack of milk and had access to free Wi-Fi. The motel room was good, except for the absence of both a fan and an air-conditioner! Luckily, it wasn’t very hot. The quaint and cozy feel of the room made up for all that was amiss!

Noon Session
We headed for a point called Govetts Leap Lookout. This by far was one of the best lookout points we encountered on our drives. The bias could be due to the time of the day, it was about 5pm, with a lot of mist and fog settling in, cold wind blowing against our bodies, the spot being extremely scenic; all of this accompanied by a great seating arrangement with benches perfectly placed, overlooking the valley.

The thick foliage that covered the mountains coupled with the chill breeze and the waterfalls felt like in a fairytale world of woods and water! Being there at the moment meant so much, the freshness and beauty of nature simply overwhelmed us. It felt as if nature was talking to us!

There were a couple of treks with different levels of both difficulty and duration. We attempted the easiest, The Bridal Veil Falls, but gave up mid-way since the entire walk was only by stairs and my knees and hips seemed rather unforgiving. Taking in the beautiful views was the most I could do.
We drove to another point, The Pulpit Rock Lookout’. Part of the drive to this point was on unsealed roads. Out here too, we skipped the trek because it only involved the use of steps. There were long treks that one could take from Govetts leap to Pulpit Rock.

Although, we missed out on exploring the points, our drive was beautified by the presence of ducks walking across the road to get to the other side of their pond. It was rather charming to see a number of ducks sitting on the edge of the pond, on a fence, at such close quarters, with the water and the mountains creating a perfect background, and Del delightfully trying to capture this image with his camera!

With the sun going down fast, we decided to call it a day! Both the Govetts Leap and the Pulpit Rock form part of the Blackheath Discovery Trail.

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