Hike # 2: Clydesdale - Cinchona

Saturday 4 February 2006

Sherona, Latoya, Kaideane, Paul

The sky in the hills was ominous, and the wind had been howling in the night, but undaunted, four brave souls meet up in Papine at 8am and head off for Clydesdale, up in the hills surely near to heaven! (Well yes, we guess its cold and wet in heaven sometimes too!).

As we drive over the ridge towards Content Gap, we see (or can’t see??) Blue Mountain Peak shrouded in cloud – but at least there is a glimpse of Cinchona, our destination today.

Down through St.Peters then up a rough road to Clydesdale.. and quite a disappointment. For those who know the Clydesdale from before, its now VERY run down. Even what was a well-fitted-out guest-house is pure holes in the floor and roof. The barn, where we used to sleep on bunk-beds in the 70’s also has no floor, and the ancient wooden water wheel mechanism lies neglected. No pine seedlings, the potting shed empty – its all turning to bush.

Is there anyone out there willing to help / volunteer? Do we take our mountains seriously, for ourselves if no-one else?

Enough of that. Its raining a bit now, so we put on our waterproof coats and head off towards Cinchona. Jumping over a stream we soon meet the first STEEP part of the walk. Here we can tell the … girls from the girls!! But with enough stops, we overcome and soon are deep amongst the coffee trees, pretty with shiny, deep-green leaves and some rich-red ripe berries.

As we near St.Helen’s Gap, the wind and rain catches us so its good to finally reach Cinchona Botanical Gardens after 1½ hours and be able to find some shelter.. and eat some lunch. The gardens still look good and the main house has survived Ivan and all. The gold-fish ponds still have fish and the flowers are amazing.

Before too long we head off down back to Clydesdale, a more pleasant, relaxed walk now that we have conquered our first ‘mountain’. But into the river for a swim when we reach back?? No way – looking is quite enough. Next time, nuh?

Into the vehicle, and a sleepy journey back to Papine. Blue Mountain next week?? ..