MOUNT MISERY-MOUNT LONG CIRCUIT
Perhaps the name kept a few walkers away, but only eight attended the recent walk led by Amanda Marsh and Jan Thomas.
This area was badly affected by bushfires. Some slopes were scorched, with many standing dead trees and a lot of fallen timber over the tracks.
It will be many years before it recovers, with regrowth commenced and young eculyptus trees just poking their way through. Regeneration was all around, with native plants flowering and birds out, especially in creeks and unburnt areas.
Sometimes you come across something very special. Well down in Bilba Bilba Creek ( one of the headwaters of Wagonga Inlet) were some very large and old casurinas, not fire affected. High in these trees, which would have been greater than 30 metres, were very large bunches of elkhorn ferns looking extremely healthy with fresh growth promoted by the recent rains. This is not all that common and well worth the walk.
The return walk up the Mount Long Track was a bit of a "slog" over fallen timber, with one sleepy black snake given a wide berth, but with lunch and drink breaks it went pretty quickly.
Steve thanked Amanda and Jan for putting on the walk in an area we hadn't been before and especially in such a bushfire affected area.
Another highlight are our walks up this landmark. Sometimes they are to the summit but this time we took a deviation to explore the early European gold mining history. We left with 11 walkers following the Tilba Tilba trail. Saturday was gorgeous with lovely clear weather after the rain. The views over the Tilba Valley on the way up were spectacularly green.
Steve and Jan led us up to Halfway Rock for morning tea before going to the hidden entry to the Battery Track. This was the bullock and bridle track used to service the Cowdroys and Mt Dromedary Mining Co. Crusher Locations. It is now overgrown, plenty of fallen timber and landslides making it a rough walk. In saying that it is beautiful, with massive tree ferns, rainforest trees (pinkwood, sassafras etc) and large old eculaypts.
We poked along finding remnants of Cowdroys Crusher, retaining walls of rocks and hut sites at Mt Dromedary's crusher site. It is well over 100 years since the operations closed when it was mined out but you can observe the massive disturbance caused by the hydraulic sluicing of the creeks and much of the original timber in the area was used to build structures and burn to run boilers.
Lunch was had sitting on an old hut site at the head of Tilba Creek talking about how tough the miners and their wives must have been to live and work in such a remote spot.
We made our way back along the Battery track to the main walking track and down the mountain. The walk took approximately 4.5 hours. What a grand day on a pretty high mountain.