Beginning of Book 9 to Gundaroo
We had 4 rest days with the McCourts, the section coordinators around Shooters Hill. We spent hours chatting everything from family to the obvious – horses and the trail. The horses had a much needed rest and filled up on hay and water whilst the temperatures rose slightly. We are so grateful to Hazel and Martin, and are sure that we will remain great friends.
A highlight of our rest days was our little treasure hunt. We got a message from Di and Judy (the walkers we met in the Wang) which told us they had skipped ahead to Canberra because of the cold weather. They also said that we were more than welcome to their food drop, and gave instructions on where to find it. So all 4 of us set out to find this package. We hunted high and low in pine forests with LOTS of tree stumps… we finally stumbled along the correct one and with a cry of “Found It” we loaded it into the car. I couldn’t wait to open it and explore the contents – even though it was dehydrated food, it was different, and it was exciting.
While on our rest days, we decided that as the temperatures had dropped and the weather was on and off rainy, we were going to try and carry rainsheets/winter rugs for the boys to help them out through the next section. To do this, one of us had to be off walking at all times, and the 2nd riding horse now became a pack horse, carrying the extra weight on his saddle. We also knew that we wouldn’t be on the road for much longer as we had to find somewhere to stop, live and work while winter passed and we waited for the snow to melt on the Snowy mountains.
Hazel rode out with us for an hour or so, then left us with the promise of dropping out to see us while we were still in their section. The next day as we headed off, the rain started… and continued all the way to camp. It was a wet, soggy walk and we were happy to be greeted by a hut. It even had an undercover parking space for the ponies so our gear stayed relatively dry while we unpacked. It was cold, rainy, and there wasn’t a lot of feed, so we were so grateful when we saw a car pull up – it was Hazel bearing Hay and horse feed. If the boys are happy, so are we.
As luck would have it, it was sunny the next morning so we packed up and headed towards Taralga. Again, we are so grateful to the people along the way as the boys were offered a big paddock over night, outside which we found our first BNT granite marker for the whole trip! We hit Taralga the weekend of the Working Dog show, which was great for some entertainment on our day off. We had a visit from Di and Judy who had finished their walk, and were heading up to do another walk on their way home. Our rest day was rainy and wet, but as we headed off towards Crookwell, the sun popped out for us. Half way into the day we made the decision to push all the way through to Crookwell in one day, which made it a 42 Km day. Half way through the day, the horses all got swapped over. After the halfway point, it was like Dusty knew that he had to pull the rest of us and the boys to camp. He put his head down and did not slow up from his 6.3km an hour walk for the whole 21 km. It was amazing to watch him and just gives me goosebumps thinking about how much effort and work that horse has put into our trip. He is the ever reliable one, and seems to know when he has to dig deep and pull everyone else along. He is one amazing horse. We arrived at crookwell and were put up in the bull shed – nice and dry. It also happened to be the weekend of the Brew and Bake Festival and there were hundreds of caravans there, so we headed over for all you can eat camp oven dinner and the biggest camp fire you have ever seen – we were pretty happy. We just happened to be sitting next to Chris, Nigel, Ingrid and Mark who were from Canberra and have relations in Gundaroo. Talk about a small world! They were a great help to us when arriving in Gundaroo organising ourselves, and we greatly appreciate everything they have done for us – they are such kind people!
After a rest and our coldest nights yet at -5 degrees, we woke up to a frost and decided to let that melt before we packed up and head towards Canberra. It was a fairly flat section of trail that travelled past a lot of windmills. We were quite surprised at how far away from them you could hear them… one night we felt like we were camped close to the highways, but after 5 km ride the next morning, we realised it was the windmills making all of the noise.
This part of Australia has so much history – we were riding past buildings that we hundreds of years old! It’s a pretty special part of Australia with lots of fertile pockets of land. No wonder our forefathers decided to grow sheep and potatoes here!
2 nights out of Gundaroo we arrived at camp to find it dry. The boys had had a good drink about 3 kms earlier and the temps were quite cool, and we were promised water 2km down the road in the morning by the guidebook. So we camped dry. As luck would have it, a lovely lady we met by the side of the road text her friends who decided to come out for a visit – with hay, and a tank full of water of the back of their ute! Talk about trail angels. The horses were happy with the drink they got, and it turned out well as the water promised by the guidebook had been fenced off onto someone’s land. Steve and Tracey stayed for a while for a chat, and came up with lots of offers of short term agistment while we found somewhere for our horses to live, which we are so grateful for.
Riding into Gundaroo we kept thinking about what we were going to do for the winter. We knew we had to get our car down here, so that was our first priority. We turned up in Gundaroo, settled the horses in, then headed up to the Gundaroo Pub – If you need to know anything in town, the local pub is where you will find it! We found our there was no public transport into Canberra, and couldn’t manage to find someone heading into town the next morning, But Chris and Nigel and Alarna came to our rescue! We met Lamby, a local, who proceeded to call Craig and Shirley (2 BNTers who had obviously made an impression on the locals and were still in touch with many of them) and we chatted to them for an hour or so. Lamby then introduced us to Kylie and Jimmy who offered a paddock and a horse truck for us to camp in, which we happily accepted while we sorted our lives out. We still cannot believe the generosity of people.
So it looks like we are in Gundaroo for the winter, and now just need to find somewhere to live and work…..
4150km down ….
Undercover Horse parking!
Welcome to the Blue mountains
leaving Shooters Hill
Almost at Gundaroo
Dusty Checking out the view
Lots of Windmills
Almost at Taralga
Our first BNT granite marker
Wandering along the road
Ready to head off!