Box Vale Track
Danny, Camilla, Jon, Kiran, Rex, Adrienne, Gregor, Simone, Rees, Sam, Andrew, Selma, Matthew - 15 September 2008
Everyone who'd said they were coming turned up, despite pretty miserable
weather. We picked up Jon, Kiran and Rex and drove down in quite heavy
rain, but with little traffic we made good time and stopped in Mittagong
for a second breakfast. We picked the same cafe as Adrienne's group,
so that was ten of us. Andrew and Selma were at the trackhead car park
when we go there, and Matthew turned up a quarter of an hour later.
It was pretty gloomy, with occasional showers, but the walk out along the
railway cutting to the lookout was comfortable. Progress was delayed by
photography - Gregor, Matthew and myself had DSLRs and several others
had P&S cameras - and botanising, with Andrew explaining orchid
pollination and other topics to Rex.
Soon after we started the descent down the incline it started pouring
down, and after some discussion Adrienne, Rees, and Rex decided to bail
and return to the cars.
"Incline: In 1883, five years prior to the Boxvale Tramline being built, the Mittagong Coal-mining Company (Limited) took steps and opened a new seam of coal situation 520' (158.5mts.) below at the base of the incline. The seam was said to be twenty-nine feet thick.
It was well known that the quality of the coal was of a very high standard, nearly if not equal to the best Newcastle coal. In the same year a workforce prepared the ground for the erection of a stationary engine on this spot and the construction of the incline to the mouth of the coal mine below."
The rest of us negotiated the slippery descent down the old haulway to
Box Vale Creek, then pushed on in the rain till we go to Natural Arch,
which provided a dry lunch spot. While we were having lunch it stopped
raining and even cleared, with patches of sun. That created beautiful
effects on the river.
There was some slipping and sliding - Gregor splashed down crossing back
over the Nattai, while I slipped a good metre or so at one point, getting
mud all over my bum - but we made it to Forty Foot Falls. This had more
water going over it than I'd seen before, and was also rather photogenic.
We had a minor confusion right at the end, 150 metres or so from the
car park, and I discovered that my 1:25000 Mittagong sheet is so old it
doesn't show the freeway! We stopped in Mittagong for cake and coffee
before the carloads went their separate ways back to Sydney.