The Steamers (Attempt Five) | Sat 1st Oct 2011 — Ned Martin’s Dot Org

Saturday 1st October – The Steamers (Attempt Five)

Day

Ned & Bronwen eating at the mouth of a cave en route to The SteamersWhat did I do on the weekend… hmm, so long ago, it’s hard to remember…

Oh yes, that’s right.

Another ill-fated attempt to again get to The Steamers.

Bronwen & Ned climbing up towards The SteamersLast time we tried, we got lost in the dark, on the side of a cliff, and had to use TomTom on my phone to find our way back… and quite frankly, it’s not ideally suited to the lost-bushwalker scene, miles from any major roads, seeing as how it tries to stick to roads and navigate cars around…

Bronwen’s duct-taped shoeThe time before that, it flooded… and there’s only so much a Falcon can do.

This time, we were better prepared. Maz had borrowed his Aunt’s four wheel drive, and installed a GPS navigating app on his phone—not one designed purely for use on the road. We even took a satellite phone, just in case…

Ned outside a cave on the way to The SteamersBronwen and I drove across to Maz’s early in the morning, and we set off shortly before nine o’clock. The drive was uneventful; though the closer we got to our destination, the worse the weather became—even raining on us at one point.

Ned alongside the cliff face on the way to The SteamersShortly after we got there, it began to rain—but we persevered, and the weather cleared, and we kept walking, in the right direction and everything. The half-acre of stinging nettles wasn’t ideal—especially for Bronwen, who had worn slightly short pants, and not very long socks—and I wasn’t a huge fan of the briars and prickly plants that grabbed my exposed arms, but we were heading in the right direction, and it wasn’t even raining…

Looking up at the cliff along the side of The SteamersWe actually got nearly all the way there, up the nasty steep leg-killing part to the saddle, and most of the way along the base of the cliffs… and then an almighty wind turned up—the strongest I’ve ever seen, or perhaps I should say, felt. Had we been on an exposed part at the top, we’d have been blown away. It blew rocks and dirt off the top of the cliff—which we were standing under—and we ran for a nearby cave, with bits of tree flying past us, rocks from the cliff above us crashing around us, and the rain driving itself sideways…

A gum tree uprooted after ferocious windsAfter waiting for the cyclonic winds to die down and the rain to ease off a little, we made our slippery way back down the mountain—sliding and falling over things in the wet, and slowly freezing. It was extremely, extremely cold—which wasn’t something we’d expected—and my hands and legs began to seize up. Looking on the bright side, Bronwen’s shoe—which we had duct taped together—held out until just before we got back.

A gum tree uprooted after ferocious windsOnce back in the car, we realised why we had been feeling a little cold on the walk down—the outside temperature was eight degrees, which combined with the wind, would have made it seriously cold. Then, on the drive back out, through an interestingly slippery, four wheel drive requiring, slosh of dust freshly mixed with water, we came across two huge gum trees across the road—one had been uprooted entirely,Outside temperature: 8°C and another snapped clean in half by the amazing winds.

Night

A squall coming across the valley as we leave The SteamersBack in civilisation again, I drove Bronwen to her parents’ place for a quick shower and change of clothes, and then we met Maz and Kieran at Halim’s for a recovery dinner of hot, delicious, curry.