The Exotic Treasures - Of the Temple of Baal

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2016 at 23:43

Baz - The Landy

Story: Baz - The Landy

XPLORE: thelandy.com

There was a hint of an Indiana Jones Adventure in the making as I stood at the top of Nellies Glen, the sky darkened by a moonless night as I readied myself to go in search of…

“The Exotic Treasures of the Temple of Baal”

I set off in near sub-zero temperatures along an old bridle track named the Six-Foot Track, taking my first steps cautiously to ensure I didn’t slip on the ice covering the ground.

Established in 1884, the Bridle Track is a well-trodden path linking the township of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains to the picturesque Jenolan Caves to its west.

The 45 kilometre track initially traverses majestic forests and national parks deep in the Megalong Valley and is often trekked as a 2 or 3-day walk. Although, every March there is a six-foot track marathon run and the front-runners will complete the distance in around 3 to 4 hours despite the mountainous terrain.

The Jenolan Caves, containing some of the world’s most spectacular calcite crystal formations, have been entrancing visitors since 1838 and are the world’s oldest, dating back over 340 million years.

The glorious Orient Cave and the glittering Temple of Baal are indisputably among the world’s best…

My route took me along fire trails and well-worn tracks in the Megalong Valley, an area steeped in early Australian settler history, before heading up on to Black Mountain Range, a tough section as the route winds its way up the mountain.

When the route was first surveyed in 1884 it took the exploration party around 11 days to make their way through the rugged Australian bush. I had planned on around 12 hours of walking to cover the distance to the caves carrying a 15 kilogram pack.

And whilst that was the plan, I was content with just getting Out and About in the mountains on another adventure.

The area is important to the Gungungurra people who moved throughout the various valleys in the region. The track even passes the site of the last recorded Gungungurra corroboree and a cricket ground where an all-aboriginal team played the Megalong settlers in the 1890s.

“And it would hardly be an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones unless there was a swing bridge of some kind along the way”…

An interesting feature on the track is Bowtell’s Swing Bridge, a suspension bridge over the Cox’s River that was constructed by the army in 1992. It is used as an alternative crossing when the Cox’s River is too high to cross safely.

It is such a beautiful spot that I was tempted to set up camp, but I was still a long way from my destination so I settled on a break to take in the peace and solitude that the flowing river brought.

The area teemed with wildlife, kangaroos feeding on fresh green shoots of grass, and Gang-Gang cockatoos, squawking, as though heralding my passage through the tall standing gum trees.

As I made my way up along the Black Mountain fire trail the silence of the Australian bush was punctuated every so often by motor-cycle riders who use the area for recreational riding, and occasionally, a four-wheel drive vehicle.

And as the sun lowered in the western sky, disappearing behind the mountains, and the air cooled, the Stately Caves House came into view, a most welcome sight after 11 hours of trekking.

I took a look around the caves area and was later met by Mrs Landy and the Crown Prince, TomO, before heading to the small rural township of Oberon, situated about 30 kilometres away, where I was able to relax over a beer, reflecting on my journey, and…

“The Exotic Treasures of the Temple Of Baal”



And in case you were wondering… “The Landy” came about as a consequence of owning three Land Rover Defenders, but as you can see this has now changed and yes, thank you, I've recovered fully!
And whilst I'm reluctant to refer to the new vehicle as “The Landy” that’s for sure; the owners’ of either brand would never forgive me!

But “The Landy” reference has stuck, so “The Landy” it is...!

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
“Those who don’t think
it can be done shouldn’t
bother the person doing it…”
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