Gloucester Environment Group's last bush walk was held on a private property at Monkerai on Saturday August 22. On a windy and slightly overcast morning a procession of 11 cars from Gloucester arrived at The Highlands at about 9am with an astounding 22 people keen for a walk despite the conditions.
There were a couple of walk options for people to choose from depending on time and desired incline. The first was to walk up a mild to moderate slope to get to the western ridge on the property and eventually on to the trig point. The second more subdued walk option was to follow the Sugarloaf Creek through the lower part of the valley and return the same way.
Everyone initially set off along the same path, an old grassy fire trail, heading out into the valley. Not far along we got to a fork in the track where we bid farewell to those choosing to stay low and continued on up the hill. The track to get to the ridge took about 30 minutes and once on top we enjoyed taking in the views of the Upper Monkerai valley.
From the viewpoint on the ridge, the walk headed north along the no longer visible fire trail for a few kilometres with a steady incline. The thigh high grass and a few weeds were the major obstacles to push through to get to the trig. A small group of people decided to head back early so by the time we stopped for a morning tea break there were 11 of us left and two kilometres remaining to reach the highest point.
With gusts of wind over 40kms and ominous clouds circling, we eventually made it to the geodetic station of Monkerai where it soon became apparent that it might not be in use, with many young trees around it partially obscuring the view. With a bit of manoeuvring we could get quite a good outlook towards Chichester forest and the lower Barrington Tops blanketed in what looked sure to be snow clouds. Not wasting any time, we headed back to beat the rain and enjoyed a much-earned rest and cup of tea.
Next walk - Spring is the season for wildflowers. National Parks recommends the best wildflower display in our area is at Kattang Nature Reserve, Dunbogan. It is one of the few coastal areas to survive the intense and widespread bushfires of last summer. There is a walking circuit of about 3km at Kattang. We plan to spend the morning there and after lunch to drive to the top of North Brother Mountain which is nearby and has magnificent views and a short rainforest walk. Both walks are short with attractive spots for any non-walkers to sit.
Meet at the skateboard bowl at 8.15am on Saturday September 26. Steve Robinson if you wish to join us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6558 7428