It had been quite some time since we had had a lab walk - or at least since Joel had been on one. Line - our Danish student who can't stay away from the lab - decided that a day walk in the Mountains was on the cards. Joel perused the maps and came up with a walk from Faulconbridge down a long creek on the south side of the main ridgeline (Sassafras Creek) with a detour up to a lookout called Bunyan Lookout. This would be the lunch spot before the return via Magdala Creek and Springwood (check out our route here).

The five hardly walkers were Joel, Ann, Vanessa, Line and Raina (a PhD student of Joel's from many moons ago - Ann's vintage!) - Ann and Raina are planning a trip to NZ to go walking soon, so it was a bit of a practice run for Raina, who hadn't done much hiking.

After being navigationally challenged trying to find Raina's place in Blacktown (bad start) we arrived at Faulconbridge at ~9:15 and set out down what was a very picturesque ferny gully. Walking along Sassafras Creek was very pleasant too - we had perfect weather and there were a lot of spots that would have been great for a swim in warmer weather - must remember this walk for summertime!

We headed up the climb to Bunyan lookout and had lunch there looking over superb views of the mountains - a highly recommended spot indeed!

On the way back, we had a few spots of rain, which soon turned to many spots of rain and soon after turned to hail! Fortunately, it eased off then to just pouring rain, at which time we discovered that Raina didn't actually own a raincoat! Lucky she had this practice run for NZ! We put on all the clothes we had and tried not to get washed away walking up Magdala Creek to Springwood. The rain eased further and we even dried out a bit on the way back to the car. Fortunately, it was never really cold, so no one was in great discomfort - just a few cold hands...

All in all a pretty nice walk and, as I say, a good one to remember for summer!

[Click on the thumbnails to get a caption and a larger image]
Heading down into Sassafras Gully. (102kb) Sassafras Gully. (118kb) Greenery. (111kb)
Local fungi - edible? (99kb) Look! (162kb) The creek nears... (173kb)
Side creek feeding Sassafras Creek. (97kb) Stalactite. (67kb) One of the many pools on the creek. (102kb)
Sassafras Gully. (155kb) Cliffline. (171kb) Another great pool - would be a great summer walk. (109kb)
Sassafras Creek. (146kb) Raina and Vanessa on the climb up to Bunyan Lookout. (106kb) Vanessa, Ann and Raina. (114kb)
Still climbing! (148kb) *Still* climbing! (157kb) The lookout - superb views and a top lunch spot! (79kb)
Vanessa peruses the view. (129kb) Vanessa and her view again. (97kb) Looking east. (115kb)
Heading back down. (188kb) Pool on Sassafras Creek. (136kb) Creek creature... (125kb)
Last crossing of the creek. (141kb)