Southern Ranges: Day Six

Precipitous Bluff to New River Lagoon

Rise early with the colours of the sun. Make for the summit and find space for a message inside the back cover of a log book filled with 13 years’ passage.

With skies presaging rain, descend in short order along the base of the slanting cliffs toward New River Lagoon.

Recall thirdhand tales of nightmare descents through horizontal scrub and limestone sinkholes, and ignore the false promise of the early gullies. Select the clearly taped lead into the trees a little further along.

Trek steep and squiggly downwards through magnificent rainforest. Curse softly as the tapes vague out and peter away. Lose the track entirely at 250 metres elevation.

Set a magnetic heading as per Chapman’s notes and pick an indepedent path through soaking, slippery woods. The correct direction is down. Gently traverse the friable terrain; fallen trunks crumble under foot, shadowy depressions hint at treacherous, forgotten things. Go arse up in the muddy bracken. Be awestruck by ancient forest.

Find the creek at 50 metres elevation and twist through towering gums to Cavern Camp with the mist well set in over the lagoon.

Approximate walking time and distance: 8 hours, 5km