K2K in a day! Yay! Well, technically, as we finished at the Golden Stairs we didn’t complete the walk - only 870m short of the official finish which is the Old Climbers Carpark at Narrowneck. But, if you have an engineering background as I do, as opposed to a theoretical mathematician’s, you’ll know that close enough is good enough!
I’ve been planning to do this walk since early last year and it was in fact going to be my walk of choice for my son’s DoE Silver Qualifying trip, alas the logistics of transporting 10 teenagers was too much.
Anyway, after completing the Plan B DoE bushwalk down the Gingra Ridge, I decided that I’d really like to give the Three Peaks walk a go, but really didn’t know if my decrepit old body would make it, so given my original desire to do K2K, I thought K2K in a day would be the perfect Litmus test for whether I should even consider doing the Three Peaks walk.
So, having decided to try K2K in a day, the next challenge was to find someone stupid enough to do it with me. I then created a detailed list of suitable candidates to ask… Nuh, not really, my old climbing partner Greg was the obvious choice, a man who has had more epic adventures than there are fleas on a Mongrel. Of course, he enthusiastically accepted.
The original plan was to do K2K in day on Feb 22 and Three Peaks on this weekend but after an issue with an IT cutover the previous weekend I had to cancel and re-schedule. Of course we then had to anxiously watch the weather for the week beforehand as the forecast was for showers and storms. BUT Saturday was looking good with a predicted rainfall of only 1mm. Of course two days beforehand it bucketed down with 32mm of rain when the forecast was 1-6mm!!!
Greg’s wife Gabrielle graciously offered to drop us off at Kanangra Walls so after fighting the usual Friday Arvo Sydney Gridlock we finally arrived at my favourite Pizza place, Alchemy Pizza (which used to be known as the Talisman Gallery) only 10mins before final orders.
So far we’d not seen any sign of the predicted storms - but, as we drove out of Jenolan Caves up the mega winding road to Kanangra Walls, it was amazing to see how much debris was on the road. There must have been one hell of storm pass through here recently.
We finally arrived at Kanangra Walls - Greg and Gabrielle slept in the back of their branding spanking new Hilux and I of course slept on the picnic tables in the Shelter.
Of course, it seemed as though I didn’t sleep a wink - being super keen to wake up at 5:00am so we could start our walk at 5:30am.
Bing!!! 5:00am and Gabrielle has the Espresso Coffee machine going. Happy Happy Joy Joy. A few Weetbix and Bananas for Brekky and we’re off at 5:35am. Of course I misplaced my headlamp and had to use one of my crappy Kathmandu Headlamps which was about as bright as a Glowworm’s Bum. It was just as well Greg had his 30 Giga Joule biking headlamp but I’m not sure I appreciate the resultant Melanomas.
30 mins into the walk and we’ve lost the track. Well, it was kind of dark after all. So we did what all good navigators did when lost - we wandered around in circles for 5 mins until we found the track again.
The walking at this time of the morning was just fabulous, the valleys were filled with clouds with the first glimmerings of twilight were magical. I took some really crappy photos with my iPhone, so crap in fact that they’re too crappy to display. Did I mention that the photos I took were crap?
Ohhh, look. Here’s one that’s not completely crap! And yes, here at the top of Mt Cloudmaker at 8:50am, Greg does actually have his Android out and is SMSing Gabrielle with Grand Tales of our Epic Adventure which so far has been a really pleasant walk.
We soon arrive at Dex’s Creek at TBA - we’d only drank a litre of so of water so didn’t need to refill. We then did what everyone did at Dex’s and followed the wrong track, hit a dead end, turned around and 15mins later finally found the correct and in hindsight obvious track out. Sometimes GPSes are no use. In fact looking at my planned route versus the GPs track, there are a few sections where the actual track is a good 300m from the planned route. So - don’t always believe what your GPS tells you.
Overall the walking and navigation to Mt Strongleg are fairly easy. But the walk down Mt Strongleg to Kanangra Creek is a killer. I can’t remember the last time that my knees have been so sore. It is a relentless downhill walk which was punctuated by a little Brown coloured snake with a black patch on it’s eye and a nice big Red Belly. We also bumped into two other Bushwalkers attempting the Three Peaks. Unfortunately for them, they were a good four hours behind schedule after getting lost at Mobb’s Swamp the night before. Apparently the mist was so thick they couldn’t see more than a metre ahead and the storm had washed debris all over the faint track making it impossible to follow. So rather than getting to their planned camp for the night at Konangaroo Clearing they had to backtrack and camp at Mobb’s Swamp.
12:15pm and we’ve arrived at Konangaroo Clearing on the bank of Kanangra Creek. It’s a really lovely campsite. 30 mins lunch and off we head down the Cox’s to find the start of Yellow Pup Ridge. As expected the Cox’s was a little high but not too difficult to cross.
Greg at the top of Mt. Yellow Dog.
3:40pm and we stop at Mobb’s Swamp for our last water refill. Compared to the last time I was here the water quality was fabulous - no need for water purifying tablets this time. It started sprinkling about ten minutes ago and for the next 30-40 minutes it drizzles lightly to the sound of thunder in the distance. Gabrielle in the meantime was safely back in Sydney watching the radar and said that it was another of those super intense micro storms with lots of red and black bits.
At 5:25pm after almost 12hours of walking we arrive at Taro’s ladders. Our legs are a little bit tired, but the knees and soles of our feet a really feeling it.
And now it’s time for the final hurdle, the dreaded Neck Bash. 11 km of unrelenting, flat, boring and tedious walking along a dirt road. Greg feels it way more than me as he’s been carefully cultivating a little family of blisters over most of his feet. It’s like watching a 90 year old trying to walk without his frame. Tragic.
8:16pm and we’re at our destination. 47km, TBAm ascent, TBA m descent in 14 hours and 45 mins - not too bad a time. I was hoping to do it in about 14hours, but this is fine. I now know that if I’m to attempt the Three Peaks I need to do more walking beforehand to toughen up my feet and I need to do more eccentric exercises for my legs so that the downhill sections don’t destroy me. Fitness is not an issue and only very mild muscle soreness. If anything, I found the walk to be easier than expected - over three days it would certainly be easier than the walking in the Silver DoE Gingra Ridge Walk which is a similar distance.
8:45pm and man, does that first beer at the pub taste good. The Beef and Guiness Pie was also pretty damn fine.