MOGO CREEK AREA – July 8, 2018
When planning a walk, half the fun is talking over the route, discussing the options and debating the assumptions that you make. My usual walking partner, and who I rely on to call me out on sketchy assumptions, is taking a break so I was left to my own devices – turned out that pretty much every assumption I made was wrong!
I asked my daughter-in-law Tanya if she’d like to do a walk with me to look for some aboriginal art, and when she agreed, David and Bailey said they’d like to go too. As my grandson Bailey was the only one with any off track experience, I wanted a few more experienced people on the trip so I put the word out and Helge L, Grant and Paula B joined me. Whilst Tanya and David had done a very small off track walk with me, this would be their first full day of off-track adventuring.
We started off from Mogo Creek Road to an area I’d not been to before, armed with the maps and four grid references to find some special places. It was bitterly cold and a gusty wind was blowing, my fingers were crossed that our first creek crossing (as soon as we left the cars), wouldn’t be too deep. Luckily it was just ankle deep, and we took our shoes off because the rest of the trip would be dry. However, the water was FREEZING!
John K had kindly given me four grid references, a site with axe groves, an “interesting slot”, a habitation cave and a cave with aboriginal art in it. I didn’t know whether the grid references were AGD66 (mapping in the 1960s) or GDA94 (using data from the 1990s). The difference is 100m in the “eastings” and 200m in the “northings”, doesn’t sound like much but out in the bush it is considerable. Assumption #1: As my map uses GDA94, I guessed (and hoped) that the grid references were GDA94. When I plotted them on a map, they all looked in logical places.
It was at this point that I killed Assumption #2 that the groves were in the creek. Assumption #1 also went out the window, so I sat down and changed the datum on my GPS to reflect the AGD66 and voila! the grid reference moved away from the creek, 200m up onto the ridge. I’d had enough of the GPS by this time (I’ve had to change the screen twice due to breaking it, and for some reason the grid display isn’t working, fortunately though, the map and waypoints were visible). So, I handed the GPS over to Bailey so that he could track us to the waypoint (David wondering at the wisdom of handing the GPS over to the youngest member of the group – but it is technology and Bailey’s a wiz at that).
So, he led us away from the creek and up hill, unerringly taking us to a lovely big flat rock. When I arrived there (taking longer to walk up the hill), he was wandering around on the rock, not really knowing what to look for.
With Bailey and the GPS in hand, I’m on a sure thing, so give him free reign to take us to our next objective “an interesting slot”. Grant, Paula and Helge stayed on top of the ridge, the GPS took us down into the scrub – in hindsight we should have stayed on the ridge, but we all arrived at the top of the ridge eventually.
We stopped briefly for lunch (and boiled the billy) and decided that we’d head upstream for an hour and if we didn’t find the cave, then turn around at 2.30pm (as the route out would take us over 2 hours and it was getting late).
We reached the spot in the creek where the GPS (still in Bailey’s capable hands) showed that we were not far off the waypoint. My notes (from a report to the Anthropological Institute in Great Britain & Ireland dated 1895, stated that the cave we were looking for was 80 yards on the right hand bank of the creek. Assumption #3, I assumed the right hand bank was looking upstream on the creek. The GPS indicated that it would have to be on the right when looking downstream.
With time getting away from us, we took a punt and decided to go follow the GPS and go up hill for 80 yards and see if we could see anything. David and Tanya stayed with the packs (I gave them a walkie talkie so we could communicate), and the rest of us set off.
Running out of daylight hours we headed back to our packs for the walk out. My plan was to walk up to the ridge and then make our way back to where we’d crossed the creek. Helge came up with a better plan though, why not just walk down the creek, which so far hadn’t been too scrubby. Looking at the map, this sounded like a better idea than climbing up 150m to the ridge (which would be slow going). The new route would mean we’d have a 1k road bash but if it was twilight this would be better than bashing down a spur in the dark.
As soon as David asked how much further and I answered another few hundred metres, we came across a dirt road, and so the going was much easier.
We were back at the cars at 4pm. We’d nailed all our objectives with the exception of the habitation cave which I’d decided not to visit as we were slightly behind schedule after the axe grinding groves. So, guess I’ll have to go back another day to find that!
Thanks so much Paula, Grant and Helge for coming along on the trip and particularly to Helge for suggesting the exit down the creek – was soooo much easier.
The Scotts were all pretty stuffed by the time we were back home so we braved the icy cold wind and hopped in David & Tanya’s hot tub – would have to be the best end to a walk I’ve ever had!
For Tanya’s and David’s second off track adventure with me it was an amazing effort, I definitely took them both out of their comfort zones – and Bailey, you were a legend with the GPS! Maybe next adventure I’ll get the other grandkids out with me!