It’s been two years since my last bush walk. I’m definitely out of practice …
… which made the Peak Hill Gold Mining Experience an ideal place to regain my bush walking bearings. It’s well signposted and not too big, and right next to Peak Hill. I couldn’t get lost no matter how much I stuffed up. And stuff up I did … a little bit.
Mum and I started by looking at the big map near the entrance, but I didn’t study it. I photographed it but not with my phone’s camera. So, when I realised I wasn’t sure where I was or how far to go, I had nothing on me to answer these questions.
I wasn’t technically lost and we were in no danger, but that disorientation did add some extra adrenalin to the experience.
My first tip: Maps. Very important.
We walked in the afternoon. It wasn’t hot but certainly warm. We both took water, but I wished I’d taken more. You can fill your water bottle near the entrance, but I forgot that when we got back to the car. It’s easy to forget things once you get a bit puffed and dehydrated.
My second tip: Take more water than you think you’ll need.
Time is always a factor. Finding time. Fitting things in when time becomes available. Right?
So it would be a problem if, having found the time, that walk is longer than expected? The map suggested 30 to 45 minutes, depending on which trail. We ended up taking a mixed path, starting on one, grabbing of bit of the other and then dashing to the exit via the tarred access road. There’s that disorientation I mentioned earlier.
I’m estimating 1&1/2 hours, about 3 times longer than suggested.
Time is never as expected when I take my camera out for a stroll. When my Mum comes along, the walk will be a bit slower, not because she’s just shy of 80 but because she will stop and look at any rock that catches her eye, regardless the size.
When something runs over time, do you fret over the other things you could be doing? Or do you recognise that those other things would have cost you this experience … if you’d let them!
My third tip: It’s a fascinating place. Give yourself plenty of time. I recommend a morning start.
I haven’t taken a walk like this since leaving Canberra back at the end of 2016 … two years. In that time, a terrible drought has taken hold and it was evident. I’ve seen photos of this area when it was lush and green. In contrast, on this day the leaves of some trees were the same colour as the ochre walls of the open cut mines. I wonder if they will recover?
But don’t ignore these walks because it is dry. There is always beauty in nature. It may require more effort to find it or it may require a shift in perception, but it is always worth it.
I must go back after some good rain and see how it changes.