The hike from the Explorers Tree near Katoomba down to Cox’s River in the Megalong Valley is approximately 15.5km and passes through the picturesque Nellie’s Glenn, along fire trails, past a campsite at Old Ford Crossing, through farmland and down through bushland to Cox’s River and a large campsite on the bank of the river. The track crosses the river over a long swinging bridge high above the river. The route follows the Six Foot Track which extends on a further 30 km to the Jenolan Caves. Tambo has put on this hike every couple of years in recent times. It’s a good introductory hike offering alternative starting points and other options depending on the experience level of the Scout. Swimming in Cox’s River can be chilly but fun. The walk back to Old Ford Crossing is about 7km uphill and can be tough going with a heavy pack in the heat of the morning. It’s a very popular hike.
This year was no exception. Eleven new and experienced Scouts with two accompanying Leaders set off from Explorers Tree early Saturday morning and made quick progress down to Old Ford Crossing where two parents and a two additional Scouts joined the group for lunch and the continuing hike down to Cox’s River. The campsite, luckily, only had a few other hikers and campers staying overnight and the riverbank – usually very crowded – was completely deserted which is where we chose to setup our camp.
Darkness fell soon after we arrived which meant we had limited time for pitching tents and cooking dinner – but everyone managed to erect their tent and have a good meal ahead of a very surprising early bed…some very tired Scouts.
The weather had been threatening rain all day but it remained clear. The night was chilly and we had very little dew which helped considerably with packing up the next morning.
After a leisurely breakfast, the group started the journey back. We had a brief swim in the river (too cold for much more than that). The steep walk back to Old Ford Crossing tested everyone and despite a ride being offered to some for the last little bit of the walk, which was politely declined, everyone completed the hike successfully.
In addition to introducing the newer Scouts to overnight hiking and generally having a good weekend, this year the hike also offered those Scouts who are participating in the forthcoming Tasmanian Cradle Mountain and Maria Island trip in January the opportunity to test their gear, and themselves.