Jan-Jun 2021

2021 06 04 RegWalk Kurt Empire P 6                                                                                                              The stunning beauty of Empire Pass
With the NPWS alert that the programmed Jack Evans track walk wasn’t possible due to access maintenance, the North Lawson Waterfalls Circuit was chosen as replacement. Despite previous day’s rain, twenty walkers met at the end of Hughes Avenue in warm sunshine to take an anticlockwise route to enjoy the added treat of large amounts of water tumbling down the four stunning waterfalls. The expected downside of the recent rain was stressed in the briefing, namely wet slippery steps, mud and swollen creek crossings. Undeterred, the group commenced walking along a pretty flower strewn track of Sunshine wattle Acacia terminalis, the early flowering Prickly Moses Acacia ulicifolia, and Sweet Wattle Acacia suaveolens . The first thirty minutes of this pleasant track was also dotted with Hairpin Banksia Banksia spinulosa, Mountain Devil Lambertia Formosa , Pine-leaf Geebung Persoonia pinifolia and a dainty yellow/red pea, Bossiaea heterophylla.  Reaching a cleared knoll, and turning right at the intersection, we walked through a gate and carefully down a steep rubbly firetrail where walking poles were certainly appreciated!  This curved in a U-shape and continued down past large boulders and a magnificent bright green ferny open sunlit slope on our right. Reaching the crossing of a small creek, being the intersection of the rough Frederica Falls track on the right, (that leads back to Hughes Avenue - previously recced but unpleasantly muddy), we turned left down to enjoy a sunny morning tea at Frederica Falls.
2021 06 04 RegWalk PeterT briefing 090625                                                                       2021 06 04 RegWalk PeterT crossingofsmallcreek 095038
           Briefing at end of Hughes Avenue         Hairpin banksia Banksia spinulosa  Sunshine wattle Acacia Terminalis      Reaching the crossing of a small creek

Frederica Falls -  Apparently named after the daughter of locals Benjamin William and Alice T. Robert’s daughter E.A.Frederica C. William Roberts (1882 – 1935). This was our first waterfall, and a fantastic little spot for morning tea.
2021 06 04 RegWalk Pauline FredericaFalls IMG 6843 32021 06 04 RegWalk Pauline Settingout IMG 6827 3

Next was the Empire Pass Track which was constructed in the early 1900s, and improved and opened on Empire Day, 1913. Setting off after morning tea, the wearing of the recommended ‘firm walking shoes’ was a blessing in the sloshy mud that we encountered as we passed the Blue Mountains National Park sign! We began also to encounter quite a few trees down and large sticks over the track, which we had fun slowly negotiating ‘with a little help from our friends’!
2021 06 04 RegWalk Kurt SueSEmpirePass Empire P 1   2021 06 04 RegWalk Kurt HelenA Empire P 2
     Leader Sue S at the Blue Mountains NP sign                                                            What obstacles?  Helen A all smiles as she negotiates the fallen tree
With obvious lack of track maintenance, in places the narrow, sometimes falling away track was negotiated with the help of the walkers hanging onto a sapling or two close by and the confidence of a firmly planted walking pole. The track was often tricky to see beneath the wet overgrown vegetation and boggy with the run off from the slope above. Despite this difficulty, the creek was picturesque once we lifted our eyes from the mossy and quite slippery steps which had been laid many years ago, and as previously mentioned, seemed to have had little or no maintenance.  The scene that followed with the dappled light in the ferny Lucys Glen was breathtaking.  The gentle water drips from the overhang above sparkled in the flashes of sunshine. Then down to our first creek crossing over stepping stones, large slippery boulders and cascading water flow which was manoeuvered with great care and once more aided by a friendly hand where necessary. Once conquered, the ascent was on rocky steps, then followed by a flat path along tall and scenic mossy rock walls. Traversing a narrow track along the creek brought us then down to our second creek crossing over a series of yellow boulders, then up steep worn steps and along a pleasant track.
2021 06 04 RegWalk HelenA leaderupahead 103037    2021 06 04 RegWalk PeterT walkers 103244a
                                      Leader Sue S ahead                                                                            ........and walkers following
2021 06 04 RegWalk PeterT EmpirePass2 114046   2021 06 04 RegWalk PeterTtreestump 115845   2021 06 04 RegWalk PeterT EmpirePass 114041
2021 06 04 RegWalk PeterT walkersoverrocks 111356   2021 06 04 RegWalk Kurt GroupatEmpire P 5                                                                                                                                              Walkers carefully negotiating creek crossings
Packs were left at a somewhat dilapidated set of table and seats, as walkers made their way to our second waterfall, the delightful St Michaels Falls.  A long neck turtle raised a sleepy head, then retreated into its shell.  Resuming the track heading to Fairy Falls, we saw ahead of us the white cascades of Dantes Glen Falls thundering down to a wide pool below. It was time for lunch…. so seating was found on stones and logs of Dantes Glen with the beautiful backdrop of waterfall and rock walls.
 2021 06 04 RegWalk MargaretP Sign 124041     2021 06 04 RegWalk PeterT turtle 120401

2021 06 04 RegWalk MargaretP DentesGlen 120707   2021 06 04 RegWalk MargaretP KurtandMichaelatDantesGlen 122007
                            Margaret P enjoying the beauty of St Michael's Falls                                 Kurt and Michael have found themselves a great lunch spot!
           Beautiful colours at the lower pool at the falls                                                                       Settling in for lunch...looking for the perfect spot!                                                    
Dantes Glen  -   return to Hughes Ave via Fairy Falls and Echo Bluff.  Following lunch, we crossed the creek on a deteriorating unrailed wooden bridge at Dantes Glen and slowly climbed through the tall Blue Mountain Ash Eucalyptus oreades via the hand-railed steps, to the sunny wattle filled plateau above, where some attempt has been made in track maintenance. A couple of pretty Eastern Yellow Robins were darting amongst the bushes.
2021 06 04 RegWalk SueS walkingtheplank 182348    2021 06 04 RegWalk SueS UpthestepsfromDantesGlen 124531 resized 2
                 'Walking the plank' ....Peter T keeping a watchful eye                                                  Up the steps from Dantes Glen
The wide picturesque Fairy Falls were soon reached and fun was had with watching a walker behind the falls, as the recent rain-swelled creek tumbled with a shower of water over the fern covered red rocks. Further along the track was a fenced viewing platform that showed us the full length of Fairy Falls.
                                  2021 06 04 RegWalk PeterT grouptakenfrombehindFairyFalls 130055
                                         Is that Peter T behind the falls?                                                            .....and walkers through a veil of tear drops admiring the falls 
The track, muddy at times, continued with magnificent views on our left of the valley that we had previously walked in on Empire Pass. We enjoyed the easy track under large Scribbly Gums Eucalyptus haemastoma with a sprinkling of wildflowers, including the small Flannel Flower Actinotus minor and the delicate white Platysace linearifolia , until we reached the turn off to Echo Bluff. Descending an eroded track, we reached what we first thought was Echo Bluff. But walking still further down to the edge, the real Bluff was reached and we were able to “Cooee !” individually as a ‘warm up’, followed by a sonorous HVB chorus of “Cooees!” which echoed across the valley. From Echo Bluff we returned to the cleared knoll that we left in the morning and took the track back to Hughes Avenue. Just prior to the end, some walked a little further down a turn off on the left to enjoy Lawson ‘wild’ Spring Water from a terracotta pipe in a little grotto. Both locals and people from 'out of town' make their way to collect this Lawson Spring Water .
2021 06 04 RegWalk SueS returntoTheKnollfromEchoBluff 135802 resized 1   2021 06 04 RegWalk SueS Michaelsampleswildspringwater 141316 resized 2 3
       Return to The Knoll from Echo Bluff....not far now to the cars                                  Michael pauses to sample the Lawson wild spring water

                                  2021 06 04 RegWalk SueS map 184507
                           Swollen creeks with yesterday's rain                                       The North Lawson Falls track map showing our anti-clockwise route
Driving to the other end of Hughes Avenue, we adjourned to the Lawson Bowling Club to celebrate our fun day with ‘coffee’, biscuits and other ‘beverages’.

Sue S and Vreni assisted by Dawn led 17 walkers - Helen A, Susan C, Elaine, Annette Ell, Michael and Sue, Anne G, John and Ros, Cherry, Margaret P, Elizabeth, Wendy P, Kurt, Lyn , Peter T and Pauline.
A big thank you to Dawn and Chris B who assisted on the first recce and to First Aiders Anne G and Ros, and Tail End Charlies, Michael and Peter T

Words by Sue S

Photos by Kurt (1, 9, 10, 17), Peter T (2,5, 12-16, 19, 27), Ros (3, 4, 7, 22, 23, 26, 30), Pauline (6, 8), Helen A (11), Sue S (24, 25, 28, 29, 31)

S5 Box