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Participants: Rachel Grindlay, James Yorston
James picked me up just after 7am and we were soon on our way to the mountains. We had a quick bakery stop in Glenbrook before proceeding to the national park. James was not looking forward to paying the park entry fee but we got lucky as it was a 'no-fee' day. It seemed a long drive to the parking area opposite the walk to Pisgah Rock. But once there we both kitted up with a map and compass - after all we didn't have Tom to do all our navigating for us on this trip!
The wind was strong as we stood at Pisgah Rock and we were glad to get out of it as we started descending. I'd done the walk before with Tom a couple of years earlier which made the route finding a little easier. There were a few scrambles which felt like a lot of work for the arms which had been largely unused over winter.
Soon we were at the bottom of the descent at a creek. We followed the creek until it hit a junction. James and I had already been discussing whether we were on Monkey Ropes Creek or Lincoln Creek. It made a big difference as it was a left turn at the junction for the former and a right turn for the latter. We spent 15 minutes or so consulting maps and generally surveying the lie of the land. Eventually we concluded it was the Erskine Creek junction and headed right. The creek soon narrowed and we found ourselves scrambling up boulders (more shock to the arms). After continuing like this for 10 minutes James called a halt. More map consultation and a GPS confirmation left us with no doubt we were on Lincoln Creek heading in the wrong direction. A little sheepishly we turned around and were soon back at our original junction. Shortly after that we happened across a major campsite and the much larger junction of Lincoln and Erskine Creeks.
James gamely attempted to cross using a precariously balanced rock - he soon had a wet foot. I declined his kind offer to restack the precarious rocks so I could attempt the same method. Instead I just took my shoes and socks off and waded the narrow channel. The large rock slabs were a pleasure to walk along barefoot but the shoes went on again soon enough. We made quick progress on the east side of the bank. We stopped at Dader Cave for morning tea (James' homemade loaf - highly recommended). I hunted for the log book but failed to find it, though I wasn't game to dig that deeply into the pile of supplies stored under the tarp.
With the benefit of my memory and Tom's trip report we managed to scramble up the southern side of the nameless creek. It was a much cooler than the previous trip and a little bit of dodgy scrambling got us to the top fairly quickly. Not a place to stick around though as the wind was blowing strongly. Confirming our high position were the regular text messages arriving on James' phone! We launched off into the bush which funnily enough after 2 years of growth was no longer "light". We didn't move particularly quickly, and every step whipped our scratched arms and legs. Also challenging us were the regular puffs of dust filling the air as we pushed through the trees and bushes. (from the recent dust storms) The featureless ridge was a little difficult to navigate but through our superior skill or good fortune we ended up on the cliff edge above our intended descent with no issues. I called for lunch which James had forgotten about with his propensity to snack continually.
After lunch we descended and were soon precariously picking our way along a steep slope in more scrub. We picked up the ridge we were aiming for and the walking was fairly easy going until we had to skirt around a couple of cliff edges. I had bad memories of getting into the creek but we didn't have a lot of choice. The lawyer vine struck early so we moved more cautiously. The anticipation was worse than the vegetation actually was and we made it down to Erskine Creek relatively unscathed.
I asked James if our exit was over on the right, he said it was. I was a little surprised as this didn't correlate with what Tom and I had done on our earlier walk, but always keen to keep moving I headed off. Not long afterwards I hear James calling me back, I was going the wrong way. We headed downstream (much more consistent with my earlier memories!), the main difference this time is no rain so the rocks were nice and grippy. We still didn't manage to find any real sign of the Jack Evans Track. We did find 3 fishermen at one of the big pools. We decided to walk up to the crossing point marked on the map. As soon as we crossed we picked up the well-formed Jack Evans Track.
From there the walking was easy, though the road bash did seem to go on for a bit. We got back to the car to find a note from Naomi attached to the windscreen (she'd been out on a school hike in the same area). James was keen to do the single track section of The Oaks. I dropped him and his bike at the start and then I drove the car down to the car park to meet him. I was somewhat surprised when he arrived soon after I did. We headed back to Glenbrook for milkshakes and cheesecake before heading home.