Day 3 – Wednesday, 13/Aug/2014

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@9:31am

Woke-up at around 7:30am to lovely thick mist/fog, which has cleared now to be replaced with Sunshine.

@10:22am

So, breakfast has been had, noodles today, and I’m packing-up to go down this forgotten trail. Three Outings ago I found a trail that’s so disused, there’s grass growing in the middle of it. Following it right along I found the walk down the other side was – at best – slippery. The only footholds on the way down the far side are small rocks embedded in the dry, slippery dirt. The second half of the trail also slopes down at more than a 45o angle, and ends in a dozen or so feet of nothing but slippery dirt.

But, at the end of that slippery dirt, is another trail running adjacent to the first, and this is the trail I want to explore. I’ve spent a week using the first trail as a living-room and not once seen anybody else there.

Neither of these two trails are on any maps, and I’ve looked at them all.

@1:40pm

So here we are, at the apex of the first – unmarked – trail, about to decend the 300+ meters of 45o slippery track to this mystery trail. It’s very slippy in parts, and even the ten meters of rope I brought may not be enough.

Bit of trepidation too, about getting stuck down there, but I have my chopper beakon, mobile and water, so it’ll be fine. Long as I don’t slip and break something.

Anyway, my GPSr tells me I’ve got until 3:00pm before I have to turn around, if I don’t want get caught-out after dark, so I better get moving aye!

@2:48pm

I’ve successfully climbed down the last bit of trail, then followed the new section along for about 200 meters. At this point, it’s another very slippery looking downhill run with little to grab onto if you do misjudge your step.

But that’s not what’s stopping me. It’s almost 3:00pm, the time I have to start heading back. But that’s not all that’s stopping me.
In the shady section down below me, about two-hundred meters to the right of the visible trail, I here someone chopping wood with an axe. There’s another tool being used, but I can’t place the sound.. Could be a saw, could be a hand-plane. Mm.

@5:14pm

Police chopper just flew right overhead. Heading back from Mount Solitary it seems. Coming back over by the sound of it!

On an only loosely related matter, the Australian Register of Missing Persons website clearly shows that in the past few years, at least three young women from Katoomba have simply vanished into thin air. None of the three were run-aways, and none of their bodies have been found.

Spend even a smudge of time out here and it’s not hard to imagine how easily bodies could be hidden out here. With over one million acres of very thick forest and bushland, very few people coming out here and 4WD tracks running through the valleys, it’s no surprise police believe they may have a serial killer operating here.

To illustrate my point; since I got down here on Monday I haven’t seen a single human being. Most Outings down here are like this: I hear distant tourists yelling stupid shit from way up the top trails, but none of them come down into the valley; they stay up top on Federal Pass.

As a result, you’d be very lucky to see one or two people down here over several week-long trips.

Fortunately, I am not a pretty young Caucasian woman and therefore unlikely to be the target of such a creature but it’s still a creepy thought. There could be bodies all over the place out here and most of them would never be found.

@6:53pm

Okay, so I had planned to write about the trail I’ve half explored, but have found myself lying here for nearly an hour now – head-torch in one hand, camera in the other – playing silly-buggers with a certain mouse-like marsupial, trying desperately to take a good photo of her.

I see her hop, dash and dart around plenty when I’m just laying or sitting still, but taking a photo is a different story altogether: The tiniest movement of my finger on the shutter button is enough to send her running for the scrub. I have to hold my breath – literally – when she’s close, or off she goes.

She’ll hop on my bag, my pots, my clothes, run right underneath me then sit there and wait to see if it’s safe to run out from under my arm to quickly grab another bit of noodle or biscuit and that second or two is the only chance I get to take the photo, before she runs off again to nibble her morsel of food.

So cute though; Chubby little things, with short tails and noses just like a womble – long, and furry, and they don’t just run quickly like rodents either, they spend more time hopping than walking, but hop erratically – not at all in any kind of straight line or pattern, it’s more a kind of “crazy-jumping”.

@9:40pm

Full moon again tonight, and the whole forest is lit well enough to not need a torch.

Day 3 – Wednesday, 13/Aug/2014
Rate in Guidos

Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

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