Cockpit creek and beyond

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Cockpit creek and beyond

Postby puredingo » Wed 31 Jul, 2013 7:30 pm

Readers of my previous posts in this section will remember a trip I did not long ago where I attempted a loop from the Wanganderry plateau, around Mt Egan, back down the millnigan fire trail and return. I didn’t quite make the circuit that time around as I lost the track somewhere around Mt Egan. So I decided to go again but this time in an effort not to cover old ground I went in reverse…and this is what happened.

Pulling the car off the Wombyan caves Rd into the “Bullio” property fire trail I parked at the locked gate and got walking by 8.00am. Not far along the FT forks and there are 2 options down to the Wollondilly, the right hand lead will take you to an old abandon hut near a skinny part of the river but rather rapidish and the left will lead to a ford area of the river but (apparently!) through private property.
I chose the left which is O’briens rd due to it appearing on the map to be a more gentle gradient down to the river but with about a kilometre to go I was confronted with signs telling me I was “ no longer in the Nattai NP” and “beware the owner” and “trespassers will be shot” …just the usual intimidation tactics you read, these people watch way too many Kevin Costner movies.
So I reasoned I’d probably rather take my chances being shot at then climbing back up that slope so I defiantly trudged on to the fiord. The river was flowing swift and showing .9mtr on the depth marker. I shed my shoes and pants for the crossing and did it without much drama although it was FREEZING and just deep enough to cryno freeze a few of my lower lying tadpoles for future reference.


Once on the other side it’s a matter of crossing paling flat, through some old yards then climbing 2 hills. The 1st hill you don’t really need to top, you can sidle around it, about halfway up, to the base of the second hill and then head up. I decided to climb the 1st hill anyway out of curiosity as it’s Dingo pupping season and the hill looked to have plenty of rocky den areas on top.
Sitting atop the peak enjoying the view up the Burrgarang valley I heard a rustle not more than 3 meters away and up stood 2 pigs, the boar took flight into the scrub but the sow was more staunch and sat staring at me snorting and clicking her tusks. This got me interested so I made a bit of noise and cracked my walking stick against a rock so she backed off a bit, enough for me to walk closer to see she was protecting a nest of 6 little piglets about the size of a big guinea pig. These were about the cutest little buggers I’d ever seen. I quickly despatched them with my boot heel before mum got back and went about tackling 2nd hill which from my view looked to be no picnic.


2nd hill wasn’t the beast I was expecting and although far steeper and scrubbier in no time I was atop of it and enjoying the views West. From here it was simply a matter of descending the hill then following a series of lesser hills and saddles N/W until I struck the end of the Millnigan FT. After about an hour grind mostly uphill I was at cockpit Ck. Don’t be under any illusion that this creek will allow a swim and an endless supply of cold, clear mountain water, it was more like a swamp/soak set up with pools that resembled a chain of pig wallows. But it was the only water about so I did drink it and so far so good.
I set up camp here and seeing it was 1.30pm decided to see if I could make it to the track head and back by sundown…I did. It took me an hour and a quarter to reach the start of the track, here is a 3 way junction. Left will take you along the Colong stock route, right will take you to Mt Egan where I lost the track my first time around (just how I will never know?).
Made my way back to camp as the sun was getting low in the sky, cooked dinner and enjoyed the fires warmth. There is a real sense of solitude in this area and somebody with an overactive imagination could really begin to feel that bush spook creeping in. Luckily I was too shagged for any of that nonsense and hit the hay at 7.30 for a fairly poor night sleep, I reckon I would have had more peace camped in the middle of Taronga zoo. Many animal visitors through the night kept me on the edge of deep sleep and just dozing.


Up and away early in the morn and before long I was making my way down 2nd hill. As usual I couldn’t retrace the easy path I found up and ended going too far South, visibility was really low the mist was so unbelievably thick, but it worked out in the end. This time I skirted around 1st hill and believe it or not ran into that same pig! At least 500mtrs from it’s nest above. This time with no youngens to protect it moved off pretty swiftly.
Crossed the Wollondilly in the same place (more frozen taddies) but didn’t bother with talking off shoes/pants as everything was drenched due to the heavy dew. Then it was just a matter of hauling on uphill to the car and that rounded out a neat little trip.



DISCLAIMER: No little piggies were actually harmed on this walk, I simply through that in for Hollywood shock value.
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Re: Cockpit creek and beyond

Postby kanangra » Thu 01 Aug, 2013 8:14 am

Pure Dingo you did it! Congratulations! You have been in a mission to do this trip for a while. But you do realise that you still have the missing link to go? The bit along the Mt Egan FT between the junction and where you lost it last time?

Also did you notice a side track on your right not far from the junction? this leads down to a small creek and flat where you can camp. It joins with another track which runs parallel with Millnigang on the eastern side.

Now you have mastered Millnigang have you considered Bullnigang?

K.
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Re: Cockpit creek and beyond

Postby michael_p » Thu 01 Aug, 2013 9:38 am

Thanks for the well written report. I was able to follow your adventure on the map easily.

I've added this area to the long list of places to explore.

Cheers,
Michael.
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Re: Cockpit creek and beyond

Postby puredingo » Thu 01 Aug, 2013 12:30 pm

Haha, K... Thanks for the reminder! I was a bit disappointed not to be able to complete the link but that's overnighters for you, time is always a factor. I did notice that track off to the right and wondered about it. Also the one off to the left that leads to some ruins of some sort, I would of loved to spend an hour or so exploring each but again time got in the way. In hindsight I probably should of kept my pack on and camped closer to the junction which would of meant more time for exploring in the morning but I did a fair bit of sweating that day and was reluctant to leave the water supply and a great camp spot.

Thanks michael, I mainly write these reports to keep my typing skills from resembling an ape at a typewriter but if people can get something else out of them, well I'm stoked!
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