Australia – Blackheath

Our next stop was Blackheath, a town just a little further into the mountains. In Blackheath our house was about 1km from the train station in the middle of the town. We also didn’t realize that all of the hiking we wanted to do was on the opposite side of town. This meant for any hikes we wanted to complete we would be adding about 4km onto each hike in the mountains. Because of this we only completed one big hike, Govetts Leap Loop. The track was about 8.7km and should take about four and a half hours to complete. The trail started at the train station and then wound through the neighborhood to the trailhead. The first trail we followed was Pope Glens Track along a creek. There were lots of little lizards and plenty of birds to watch as we walked the narrow trail. 

There was a point in the trail where it split two different directions, straight down to Boyds Beach or turn right and continue on the Govetts Leap Trail.  We decided to see Boyds beach and continued straight on the trail. The trail took us down a little bit to an opening that was a very small sandy area with pool of water that was fed by a creek.  There was a large cliff of rocks behind it with trees growing upward.  It was quiet and I noticed that there were little fish in the pool of water.  When we were done here we retraced our steps back to where we needed to turn, towards Govetts Leap Loop.

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We continued on the Govetts Leap Loop towards Horseshoe falls.  Following the creek there were areas with a lot of ferns that were over the trail.  There was not much of an incline here in this area even with another small water fall in the area.  Right before the water area, there was a lizard that was hanging out on the trail.  It wouldn’t move from the path and forced us to go around before we could continue. 

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The area was shaded and there was plenty of ferns around.  The water was clear and you were able to see the twigs at the bottom.  There was also a small waterfall that was going over the rocks into the pool towards the back.  A group that was hiking the other direction said that there were more lizards this size in the area since there was water near by.

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Continuing on, we were making our way through the trail until we came to a set of stairs that we needed to climb. These stairs were not even and sometimes the stairs were just the rocks that we needed to climb to get to the top.  Up the stairs we went.

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These stairs took us to Horseshoe Falls Lookout.  The lookout was a very nice place to stop before the next set of stairs. We were looking out at Grose Valley.  The valley has rock cliffs that were covered with trees.  Looking out into the mountains it was like looking at the Grand Canyon with trees everywhere covering the rocks.

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Then we headed up more stairs to continue the hike around the edge of the valley.  This part was a quick hike on a nicely paved path that did not have much growing over it.  To your left you would see the drop in the valley and to your right would be he steep include out of the valley.  After a little bit, there were signs that pointed in a few directions.  There were two options; take the stairs down to the base of Bridal Veil Falls or head up to Govetts Leap Lookout. This was two different rock staircases that took you up or down. We headed up more stairs to the lookout. You could hear people up at the lookout talking and we knew we were close.  We decided to have a snack while we were here to get some energy.  While we were sitting in the shade, Dan saw the Mountain Rescue suit up and head down the trail.  People were talking about something that happened at the bottom of the stairs.  We stood at the lookout and saw Bridal Veil Falls before we continued on the trail to Evans Lookout.  Bridal Veil Falls is exactly like it is named.  When there is more water it fans out like a veil.

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This part of the trail started going uphill, then it turned into about a thousand stairs going down, which was mostly shaded.  I was so glad that we were going down, but in the back of my head I can just imagine climbing stairs to get back up out of valley.  The stairs kept going and we kept passing people who were going up the stairs.  Eventually we made it to the bottom of the stairs and came to a point to go to Evans Lookout or Braeside Walk.  The trees has disappeared at this point and we were now in the sun.  We walked over the falls and up some stairs to the lookout.

The lookout  had an amazing view of the valley and we were able to see where we just came from.  Looking down into the valley we could see where the Mountain Rescue was at.  They were in a clearing on the stairs that did not have much shade.  The stairs looked very shallow from our point of view.  They were very far down on the Grand Staircase to the base of the Falls.  At this point we were glad that we did not go to the bottom of the falls.  After a few minutes at the lookout ,we decided to start our way on the rest of the trail towards Braeside Walk.  This  part was a bush walk that would follow a creek out of the valley.  A few minutes into our hike back we heard, then saw, the helicopter that was coming to rescue someone.  We were glad that was not us and continued on our hike.  It was getting really hot and we were starting to get tired.  This part had a lot of plants that were over the trail.  There were branches that would scratch you and leaves that wold brush up against you.  

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There was a picnic area that we stopped at just before we made it out, or so we thought.  The picnic area was two picnic tables that were a few 100 feet away from each other up some stairs. The last part of the hike to get back to the neighborhood was a dirt hill that was quite steep. We kept on moving and tried to stay in the shade and save some water till we could refill. As soon as we made it to the top we didn’t stop and made our way through the neighborhood to Memorial Park, where we could fill our water bottles and rest. 

At this time, we were hungry and started our way into town to grab sandwiches before we headed back to the house.  It was hot out and we were exhausted.   

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