Last camp of the season. Come Saturday eve folk slowly rocked up at Dangar’s Falls campground. Sherridan proved himself king-of-the-fire, making our fire-pit roaring with warmth before the rest of us had even pitched tents. Black bear, bouldering and yowie banter was shared around the campfire, not to mention double-roasted peanuts, hot-chocolate and preemptively eaten breakfast potatoes…and of course, excellent company. We all ooohed and aaahhed over Alan’s JetBoil and he and Amy’s MSR tent (which would later inspire Pete’s hiking-gear spending spree which we all then ooohed and aaahhed over in turn).
A late night walk to the falls lookout and stargazing meant we were late into sleeping bags. But Maddie and Andre’s arrival early in the morn gave us good incentive to emerge and lace up the hiking boots. Magic weather, so we ventured to the falls lookouts yet again, before moving on for the easy walk downhill to Salisbury, everyone in high spirits. Half way down it dawned on newbies to the trail that it was down all the way, and there’d only be up on the way back! But too late, they were already committed along with the rest of us.
We reached the river in perfect time for lunch by the water. Sheridan, Alan, Waejae and Maddie all braving the plunge and going for a swim, the rest of us paddling our toes and skipping stones. The water teemed with life. We were awed to discover a horsehair worm swimming in the shallows. Near a foot long, only 1mm wide, like a long thread of wire snaking its way through the water and reflecting rainbow patterns off its body. Peculiar indeed. There was also the frog that made friends with WaeJae, and the baby brown snake we spied eating another big fat frog for lunch. Good signs of a healthy ecosystem.
Heading out again, a few impressively-fit folk powered up the hill at a near-jog, whilst the rest of us took the inclines slow and steady. Last to reach the top were the devoted troopers who determinedly visited every lookout on the way back. The view is always worth it in the gorge country. When those new to the walk finally reached the top, nearly dead from the hill, they all vowed “never again!”…little do they know, they’ll be back. The Salisbury Track has a pull and beauty that’s irresistible, and he hill is all part of its charm.