I cannot possibly describe acurately the bush of the budawangs, verbally without inflicting the appropriate pain. But I'll try. Basically, it is dry, it is thick, it is tall enough to remove eyes if you're not careful, and it is designed to torture anyone brave (or stupid) enough to attempt to tackle it. These plants, when alive are thick bushes of needles, and when dead, bushes of wooden bomy knockers. So we took turns at leading, by the lunch break we were all covered in blood, despite the gators worn by most. When we did find the occational blissfully bare cliff edge, we sure did appreciate it.
On a challenging and painful hike like this, with a group not known before hand, you'd expect at least one to complain. But no, Joe picked a fantastic bunch of people, everyone took it in their stride, and besides the occational war cry there was not one complaint!
By lunch time we'd covered about half the planned distance, which worked perfectly, as after a full day of bush bashing (overall, the bush won, it definitely drew more blood than we drew needles), we were just in time to find a 7 person camp in cave and watch the sun go down over the mountains.
We had a lovely night sitting around the camp fire with ample wine. Clare, I must add (as someone who is so insistant that it must not go in the trip report, must wish the opposite) drank her share... and mine... and probably Craig's as well. She then proceeded to spill all her secrets, visit the bush many times, and blindly stumble off to our cave, which was down a small drop. If she fell, she was too relaxed to notice, and was fine in the morning.
The next day was a beautiful one, as it contained less bush bashing, more beautiful cliff edges, and a track! Most amusing event would have to be the rock hopping. We did a lot of leaping gaps between rocks, often quite deep crevises. On one particular rock, Joe jumped, Chris jumped and prepared the camera, Clare and I jumped, then Sabrina, with some encouragement, leapt, there is photo evidence that she was perfectly on track, then decided mid air she couldn't make it, and like in the cartoons her momentum changed from horizontal to vertical till she was hanging onto the cliff edge with her finger tips. Joe and I pulled her up between giggles, as Chris got the photo evidence.
We passed a beautiful waterfall, had a lovely relaxing lunch looking out at the castle, climbed half way up a large hill, with a track and no packs, made appropriate oooing, ahhing and "there's our cave!" noises at the beautiful view then came back down.
Then we were on our way home via a beautiful cliff-setting sunset, the side of Mt Bushwalker. Somehow Clare, who was following close behind the last member, ended up following a spirit down into the valley when we all went up. I was leading at this stage, so did not hear the story till we met up at the car, but aparrently it wen't something like "cooooeeee" "Clare?" "I'm down here" "What are you doing down there!?"
Well, we all arrived back at the car safely, plus a bit of muscle, minus a bit of blood. And for some who hadn't been training their eyes to be flood lights, plus a bit of water. It began to rain as soon as we were all in cars.
Oh, but before that Sabrina decided she'd give us a strip show, though no torches were allowed, then the car drove up, and in the centre of the headlights was Sabrina in undies clutching her pants in front of her. Most amusin.
We had a lovely buffet dinner and were back in Sydney around 11pm.
Overall, a fantastic hike, due to great group dynamics, in a beautiful challenging country.
Thanks Joe for organising and leading