The forecast on Friday had been torrential rain and there was some questions amongst the ranks if it was a good idea to brave the slippery bushwalking track between MacCleans Lookout and Heatons Lookout. In the end we decided that it would be a great chance to really test out the wet weather gear before most likely having to use in in New Zealand next year.
The track from McCleans Lookout to Heatons Lookout takes you through rainforest and leafy lined creeks with moss covered fallen trees, onto dry ridges, caves and magnificent views over Quorrobolong towards Cessnock. This is a section of the Great North Walk which runs from Newcastle to Sydney (250kms). Overcast and not too hot, the weather was perfect for walking and we were out with our backpacks toning up those walking muscles and getting ready to tackle the tracks in New Zealand.
The thing about creeks, leaf litter and moss is that it is the perfect haven for the delightful little creature called the leech. The leech has a tenacity for never giving up and seem to be able to find their way through the most difficult of barriers that a person might put in the way. Pants tucked in to socks, gaiters, nothing perturbs them and they inevitably find their way into the socks and between the toes, hitching a ride from one end of the track to another. Come to think of it they have all the positive traits that a person doing long distance multi-day hiking might need ..... consistent, persistent and resistant to people trying to tell them that they shouldn't be on this ride!!
The other thing about creeks and this walk is that we crossed several of them which meant we climbed steeply out of them and descended steeply back into them. The perfect training walk for long distance back packing. doing the Kepler and Routeburn tracks in the Fiordland South Isand of New Zealand.
We set off early and after a car shuffle we started out at 8.30am full of energy and glad to be out in the bush for the day. We had a lovely morning tea overlooking the Quorrobolong valley and made great time for lunch at Heatons Lookout with a well earned cuppa. Everyone had a chance to gauge where they were up to in the fitness readiness stakes, make any adjustments to equipment and break in the new hiking boots. There were great conversations as we all got to know each other and lots of support all round.
A great day out was had by all. Oh and thankfully there are no leeches in New Zealand !
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My passions are nature, people, and building cultures of cooperation, harmony, sharing and reverence for life. I enjoy working with people to help them understand themselves and others so they can reach their full potential in life.