I was able to sneak a few days after recent book talk commitments out west to meet two cousins who were going camping in the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran, New South Wales,
It was the perfect time to try out my new tent, a Hamersley Tourer, which is intended to go with me on various future forays into other ‘wild edge’ places than my own Mountain.
It passed the first test in that I erected it on my own. That, and being able to stand upright in it, were two of my main criteria.
My cousins didn’t arrive until dark, by which time I had a fire going. Their tent was a much bigger dome tent with several layers: definitely not a one-person job to put up!
Next morning was fine and we walked one of the many trails in the park, heading up to a ridge and around the base of a higher spire that mad rockclimbers undertake.
The Warrumbungles are dotted with strangely shaped, spectacular volcanic remnant plugs and crater walls.
The symmetrical native cypress pines, looking like garden escapees, share the rocky ridges with blackened ironbarks, ethereal White Gums and decorative large Kurrajongs.
This was the first time I have seen Kurrajongs in their natural shape, unlopped over their lives as fodder for stock, their shining, almost heart-shaped leaves dangling from widely spread branches.
Such hardy trees seem to be able to take root in any crack and tiny ledge on the rugged cliffs.
Caves abound, both large and small, and all clearly put to good use as shelter by the local critters.
Lichens and mosses paint the rocks with ice blues and sage greens, between dark weepings and a range of surface weatherings.