Mid week microadventure – Heathcote NP

At 4:55pm on a Thursday afternoon, I was bolting to make the train heading south. B had dreamed up a mid-week micro adventure and it certainly was a beauty on the menu. The adventurousness was upped by B’s desire to run and not walk the trails !?! So here I was, madly dashing my way through commuters that were wandering through the central tunnel, carrying my 30L ‘city’ backpack kitted out for my first overnight fastpacking adventure (and wishing yet again I’d allowed more time to make my train. But this did mean I had confirmation I could run with my kit). I’d purposefully left the tent at home – no way was I running with that! (Disclaimer: The forecast was for no rain.)

After a quick (or not so quick thanks to a commuter holding up the only bathroom open on the platform) top up of water bottles, toilet stop and shoe adjustment we were off down the streets of Waterfall and then on the Bullawarring Track. I seem to never tire of seeing bush trails, and the minute we were on this one I could feel the stress of the office dissipate.

The Bullawarring Track is a typical trail of the area. Single trail, sections of rock and others of sand or stairs, and just plain old fun. We popped out at the Kingfisher pool and breathed in the sight of it. Lovely.

On we ran. It was a little weird with a lot more kit than usual on my back, such that I noticed it on the technical descents with my centre of gravity shifted, but we still seemed to be making good progress. Past the pool the track was a little overgrown so we had to walk quite a bit to dodge the flora.

Not long before the turnoff to the Goanna Track B discovered this was a 7.5 and not a 6.5km run to camp. I’d changed up the route a little and he clearly hadn’t paid full attention. A few friendly jokes followed. The burning question was would we make our swim with any daylight left? (I was more concerned about finding the final trail and campsite :P)

Eventually we hit the track junction but we didn’t stay on our branch for long, turning off to take a short cut across to another unmarked trail that would bring us to a little known campsite next to a swimming hole. I had expected it to be a lot less scrubby than it actually was (oh well) but this was a micro adventure after all, and it certainly added to the outing.

At the end we hit a major track, stayed on it for a mere few 100 metres and then we were off on a wild track chase. The sun had already set and we were well into twilight. I had a bit of difficulty finding the footpad (oops sorry about the sand-filled shoes from making you cross an unnecessary gully B!) but eventually we hit it. It looked like a highway in comparison to where we’d started minutes beforehand. Thankfully, there was a lot less scrub on this trail than I’d anticipated.

We slogged up the knoll and then down the other side to cross the river and set up camp just outside the RNP (and maybe just perhaps a little on military land…) With the last of the light we went for a glorious and long swim. Just magic.

It didn’t take much to get the fire going and B produced some beer to toast the occasion. Plus a tasty dinner of risoni, which I’d never tried before. The military were flying around in helicopters and we heard the odd bang – we hoped our ‘neighbours’ (The Holsworthy Field Firing Range!) would quieten down soon. (And not encounter us!)

Post dinner we had a few marshmallows while our Chocolate Cake a l’Orange baked away in the fire and the tea water boiled. Bliss !

I think it was about 10:30pm when we finished dessert – so much for an early night… I should have been an adult and forced myself to go to bed, but I wasn’t soooo sleepy and the fire was hypnotising. What followed was a few hours chatting away until the last fire embers went out. Then we both unwillingly turned in … but not before walking down to the pool once more to take in the views. Such a perfect evening.

B had carried a tent but, given the few hours left until dawn, he decided to lay out under the stars too to avoid faffing in the morning. A mosquito tried to annoy me, but I was in too good a mood and eventually sleep claimed me.

Dawn broke and sometime afterwards I, rather reluctantly, crawled out of my sleeping bag. Shame I didn’t have a day off – but then that was the beauty of the mid-week micro adventure … knowing that we’d made the most of the evening and that soon we’d have an entire weekend to enjoy.

One more quick look at our swimming hole, with a subtle mist along the surface, and we were on our way again. We had 6.4km and 1h18mins to make our train back to the rat race and our desks. We made light (but heart rate raising) work to get back out onto the major trails and we were both relieved to avoid the sandy climb through the gully from the evening before.

We were now traveling along the Pipeline Firetrail passing the Lake Eckersley turnoff to the campground (pffft who’d camp there?) then the Battery Causeway and subsequently arrived at Mirang Pool. With 40mins still on the clock we dropped down to the pool and had a revitalising swim! Can you believe today is a work day !?!?! :D

Back out again we finished off the Pipeline Road and turned happily onto the Friendly Track single trail. Just 1.6km to go. B took off to procure tea for the train ride and I ticked off the stairs. I was so content and so relaxed. It was momentarily confusing around the scout grounds and then I was on the final street leg up to the train station.

There was a miscommunication (I didn’t think B was serious about the tea and he hadn’t seen me pass him nor had I seen him standing in the café having just dodged being taken out by a car) and we almost missed the train! But we made it and I was suuuuper grateful for the cup of tea as my body temperature plummeted.

We devoured Greek Marathon Bars and a banana and were soon surprised to find the train pulling into Central already. We went our separate ways to arrive at our respective desks before 9am – we’d certainly made the most of our 16 non-office hours! The throng of people couldn’t put a dent in my smile.

Great trails, tasty food, amazing scenery and perfect company. Wonder when and where the next micro-adventure will be :)

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