13 Dec 2020
A narrow dirt road wound through forest and clung to the rocky mountains as it slowly carried us through Mount Kaputar National Park. Dave was quiet as concentrated of avoiding branches and looking out for oncoming traffic on this single track.
“This is so beautiful” I kept repeating myself. Halfway up Mount Kaputar, the road opened out to Doug Sky Lookout. The sweeping views look south over pastures, Euglah Rock and the foothills of the Nandewar Range, over the enormous Pilliga Scrub to the Warrumbungles on the horizon.
They say on a clear day you can see 10% of the state from Mount Kaputar Summit and we were looking forward to climbing it later today.
The campground was practically deserted except for a couple is a snazzy looking camper trailer from Ultimate Campers. I may have had a little set-up envy! “Look at that Dave, maybe we need a compact camper trailer?…”
“…” If he didn’t answer, it’s like the question wasn’t asked.
We struck up a conversation with the couple, from SA and on route to the Gold Coast, they had bought a new 4WD (Prado) and trailer, around the same time as us. Seems like lot’s of people are thinking the same – while international travel is out of the question, we have this big beautiful country to explore.
Once the tent was pitched we set off for the walk to the Summit, only to find it was closed due the fire damage.
“Oh nooooo!” Called Dave as he reached the trail sign. So we followed the Nature Trail, an easy loop around the camp ground.
“Instead of a long walk, this is a slow walk” I said crouching down to study the wildflowers. There were so many, it looked more like a garden. The wildflowers obviously love the extra sunlight of a recovering forest.
The path turned to timber boardwalk elevated above the ground and wound down into a narrow gully. A lonely trickle of water tumbled over volcanic boulders.
On the next rise we found a shady spot for a picnic lunch and took a moment to be still in the forest. A Currawong perched on a branch at eye level, its gold eyes dazzling in the sun. It watched Dave eat his sandwich with too much interest for my liking. Losing interest it flew off, just as a pair of Rosellas flew over us.
“It might be time to sketch” I suggested walking back into the camp site. The picnic table was in the shade and made the perfect spot to while away the afternoon.
A couple of campers set up as we sketched and two of the tents we recognised from the Warrumbungles, a few hours drive South West from here.
“Hi! I think we were neighbours at Warrumbungles!” I may have startled the man as he pulled the camp stove from his Van.
A couple of curious Kangaroos watched us make and eat dinner. A mother and Joey. They could smell Dave’s creamy chicken and corn pasta. Her big brown eyes framed in long lashes looked at us. We longed to feed them, but they’re wild and we knew not to.
Despite the forecast, it turned out to be a beautiful night. The camp ground is well sheltered, we could hear the wind in the trees, but it didn’t hammer the tent. We drifted to sleep listening the the sounds of the forest. And a gentle sprinkle of rain at dawn. We gave the night under canvas: 9/10.