A walk in the country

When I was about 15 years old my father took me for a walk in the country consisting of a two-day bush walk into the Blue Gum Forest in the Blue Mountains. We packed a tent and all the necessary items to be able to survive for that time – things like dehydrated chicken and vegetables, a billy, water, fruit, biscuits, a torch, a two-man tent and sleeping bags, and off we went.

.We drove to Blackheath and parked the car next to the Blue Gum Lookout, put on our rather heavy backpacks and started walking. The first 500 metres were easy because it was a level, well-marked bush track and then we came to the steep track down the cliff-face.

I was not used to the heavy backpack and it kept on throwing me off-balance and on one particular steep location I lost my footing and over the cliff I went. I was grabbing at every small tree or shrub trying to slow my fall and I luckily grabbed a tree branch and clung on with all my strength. The fall below was about 50 metres so it would have been fatal but for that one tree branch. My father was able to somehow scramble down the slope and grab my arm, and gradually, inch by inch, with me pushing with my feet and him pulling with all his might, we slowly edged our way back up to the track.

We were both exhausted and relieved and sat somewhat stunned at the thought of what might have happened.

The rest of the trip was uneventful but most enjoyable. We camped by the river, cooked our meals over a campfire, slept in the tent, went for a swim in the morning, had breakfast, and then made our way back up the steep cliff track. It was a walk in the country which I will never forget.

Ian Ferrie