Saturday, July 11, 2009

Victoria Falls

The trail into the National Park

With the terrible news of a British  backpacker, feared dead and missing for 8 days, after walking in the Blue Mountains,  I feel the need to stress the importance of a few basics steps that  will help prevent trouble should you  want to enjoy  this wilderness area.

1. Plan your trip.
2. Tell others where you are going, what  your time frame is.
3. Take a mobile phone. They  do work in a lot of areas e.g.  on top of Mt Solitary.
4. Research your  trip.  Many  are unaware that there are a lot of mine shafts in the Blue Mountains.
5. If possible do not travel alone. 3 is an ideal number
6. When  walking in a group only  go as fast  as the slowest member, never walk off ahead.
7. Wear appropriate clothing. Again, today I met a guy  in a suit, business shoes and no water.
8. ALWAYS carry water with a little in reserve, a first aid kit, and enough food for an emergency night stop.
9. ALWAYS take a rain jacket and something warm. Even on  a hot day. 
10 Always take a box of waterproof matches.
11. Use a map.  There are many  little tracks that  are often "blind" but can take you  away from  the correct one.
12. Take a gps and use it
13. Know your fitness level. If you are unfit- don't do it.
14. If you are in trouble- stop, think and do not panic.  Panic will only  make it worse.

David admiring the view from one of the viewing platforms.

It's just  simple stuff, but it is simple to fall over and break a leg too. These simple things can make a night out easier, and for rescuers to find you faster. Sadly I  feel society  is being "dumbed down"  and a lot of people think its the responsibility of National Parks, rangers and rescuers and that its easy  for them  to find you. Its not.   

Today David wanted to walk to Victoria Falls to look for birds and yabbies.  I  am  pleased to say we saw both.  Its a great  walk, with  spectacular views and as said in previous posts, the western end of the Grose Valley- leading into the Blue Gum forests and all those other places I have mentioned in previous posts.

Tall ancient tree fern forests.

I love the Blue Mountains, Its where I feel at ease with myself, its where I can build my  relationship  with  my  son- away from the hectic pace of city  life. Where basics are the key. I  enjoy  watching him grow, watching him become fitter, and listen to his conversations. These are true gifts.

After a few hours we returned refreshed.

The Cascades. Red yabbies live in these pools

 On this walk we spotted:- Pee Wee, Superb fairy Wren, Black faced Cuckoo Shrike, Bell Minor, Currawong, Wedge tailed Eagle, Noisy Minor, Australian MAgpie, Striated Thornbill, Grey  fantail, Whipbird, Lyrebird, Brown Tree Creeper and Willy Wagtail.

Stop Press:- I did not announce that my  favorite car- the Landcruiser Troopcarrier was sold a few weeks ago, (photos of her to the right). Sadly, on the last  major trip she had some mechanical failures and I felt it was appropriate to find another vehicle. It carried Maalie and myself though the outback, and my  family  on numerous trips into the desert. It was the topic of conversation at pubs too (  Jim  will verify this) because it was so COOL! It  will be sadly  missed. But! I  have bought a Landcruiser tray back turbo diesel which I  will make into a camper.  It went on trial today, and pulled through with  flying colours. Better fuel economy, better in difficult situations, and more comfortable with  its later model suspension. It's a welcome addition to  the family!  I am sure Maalie cannot wait to get on a plane and trial it!


  1. Great post mate. Isn't a tray-back open at the back? I suppose you would pull a tarpaulin over you to sleep?

  2. spot on mate! it has a tarpaulin over a frame and has more room in the back than the troopie!

  3. I just heard on our news that your backpacker has amazingly been found alive. Whereas we have had the tragic news of two trampers here who have died without reaching the hut 1km away.

  4. Hi Kiwi- yes I read that too just now. He is very lucky. If it was summer, it could have been different.

    I assume your hikers were in snow? I did a walk in The Snowy mountains, I was stunned just how difficult it is to walk when the weather turns foul. A few k's seems like 100's!

  5. Yes, there was snow there today where they found them, so presumably there was snow when they became lost/cold. The man was the CEO of Te Papa museum, and it sounds like he was an experienced tramper.

  6. even the most experienced can get caught!

    How is the earth quake??

  7. I didn't feel the earthquake here: luckily it was right at the very south of the country in a very remote part of largely uninhabited Fiordland. Just as well. 7.8 was not a small quake.

  8. Hi Simon.. just thought I would add my 2 cents. It is great to hear the news of the backpacker found safe and sound! I always enjoy a piece of good news.. it lifts my spirits! Now if I were to go hiking I suspect it would be a miserable result!!

  9. It was good news. I am a bit doubtful. If he ate berries. Only 30% are safe to eat the rest will make you very sick.

    now- If you follow my advice, you would be as right as rain! :o)

  10. Very good! Nice to know Maalie was with you over there in the Outback.

    Quite nice to hear of you and your son having such a good time.

    Beautiful too. You are an amateur naturalist yourself, amateur only in that you don't get paid for it, it seems.