Wentworth Falls Nature Circuit & Blackheath Lookouts

Currently Reading: Daniel Woodrell – Winter’s Bone

I woke to another beautiful day in the mountains and after writing in my journal and reading in bed for a couple of hours (what decadence), I decided to go for a stroll along the Nature Track to the Valley of the Waters in Wentworth Falls.

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The estimated times on these signs are always an exaggeration, though it did take me an hour and a half due to stopping so frequently to enjoy the view

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I decided to walk anti-clockwise in order to end my hike with those stunning vistas Wentworth Falls is famous for

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I encountered a few more flights to add to the tally for my summer of stairs

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The opening stretch of the nature walk is dry, sandy, and makes you feel as though around any corner, you could find yourself at the beach…

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… Then after descending a short distance, you come to the lush green canopy fringing the entrance to Empress Canyon – I sat on a rock and read the logbook entries for November, and as I ascended through the Valley of the Waters, I came across no less than 20 canyoners making their preparations in assorted guided groups

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“At the mid-point of the journey of life, I found myself in a dark forest…” – for some, an inferno; for others, home…

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View from Empress Lookout

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View over King’s Tableland from Queen Victoria Lookout. The National Pass (which takes you around the base of the first tier or escarpment from Valley of the Waters to Wentworth Falls) is currently closed due to danger of rockfall from above. I hope they are able to reopen it soon. It is one of the most scenic hikes in the Blue Mountains.

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For a brief moment, as I returned to my car passing ‘Carramar’ (recently listed if you have a spare $3,500,000), I felt, in the humid summer swelter, that I could have been back walking in New England

It wasn’t a day to be cooped up inside, so at about 5pm, I called my friend Peter L and we headed up to Blackheath to take in the view over the Grose Valley from a range of lookouts in the late afternoon light.

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Perry’s Lookdown

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Peter ascends to Anvil Rock

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Swanky new railing since last I visited

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Anvil atop anvil rock

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Views from Anvil Rock across the Grose Valley to Pierce’s Pass (in shade) and Mt Banks (highest point in shot) – this photo doesn’t do it justice, but the shadows in the valley were of different shades and grades, with the central shadow picking up the eucalyptus haze like smoke filtered through the early summer heat shimmer

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The final set of stairs at Pulpit Rock

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Up close and personal with the sheer rock face at Pulpit Rock

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We arrived at Pulpit Rock for the golden hour – here you can see another arm of the Grose Valley snaking off into the distance, with Mt Hay (large round dome) at center and Lochley’s Pylon (smaller pointed peak) at center-right of shot. Bushy, a young man I knew when I first moved to the mountains in ’01, once asked me if I’d be keen to lilo down the Grose River to the Nepean. I haven’t seen him in over 15 years, but if you’re out there Bushy Dave, I’m keen for that lilo adventure now!

Books Completed: David Mitchell – The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

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