July 21, 1990

Where the hell is Braidwood?

"Where the hell is Braidwood?" was the question I was asked,
"It's easy; get to Goulburn, then continue straight on past!"
And so our travelers got there bright and early Saturday,
grabbed some fuel and some provisions just to eat along the way.
Some had experience, and some were fairly new,
with Sierra's wide and narrow, and a Tojo 50 too .

Thus, we left to start the trip by heading toward the South.
Though a last minute decision was made, because of word of mouth,
that the river was a deep one and we might not make it through,
and the day would be a long one; as it turned out, this was true.
So we ventured towards Pike's Saddle, in reverse we did the track,
and instead of starting out hard, we would do it coming back.

We all stopped up at Pikes to lock our hubs and do our tyres,
and remarked how in the winter there's no worry with bushfires.
As we wound into the valley we encountered a big mud hole
which stopped Trudy and her cousin when her wheels refused to roll.
A quick tug with a snatchum strap soon had her on her way
and through some more big bog holes, we continued with our day.

Lunch was had at Dampier Trig, after climbing a big hill,
and a Drover in the group behind took fan blades off, the dill!
Seems he plunged into a puddle that the rest of us drove through
and the fan blades parted company with the bit that holds them true.
We spent the rest of that day driving up and down the scenery,
till we finished in the valley by the river and the greenery.

A wide and peaceful valley, where the morning mist was hanging,
which was perfect just for camping, cooking, eating, boomeranging.
A truly pretty spot where we escaped from all the crowds,
to take in the mighty mountains, bright blue sky and fluffy clouds.
A place with an abundance of campfire cooking logs,
and as John was fond of saying, "not to many bloody wogs".

We had some guys from Canberra who had joined us for the journey,
with new Wide Track Sierra's, there was Stuart, Matt & Barney.
Their cars were well set up, and were rarely seen to flounder,
just to make sure, Mathew's winch was a big 8,000 pounder.
Apart from good 4 wheeling this weekend, there also was a bonus,
that the others all around them were all keen Suzuki owners.

Nearly all were 1300's, but for Allen's Red 1 litre
which pulled up well on all hills and never once did peter.
Most cars were sporting Mud Terrains, two had standards, two had Diggers.
Most were wearing 215's, though Stuart's tyres were bigger.
Dexter's Diggers let him down on several slippery ledges,
while his friend Joanne & Adam, must have shares in Benson & Hedges.

On Sunday we explored the place and found a disused track,
which looked like fun until we found it blocked, and headed back.
We drove around, and crossed the creek in several different places,
and found a muddy rutted hill which put cars through their paces.
Then lunch was had to fill us up, then on with boots and hats
as we walked off on the track towards the cave with all the bats.

Those coming back from up the track all warned us of its length.
So some of us decided that they didn't have the strength
and turned around to join the other people back at the camp,
while those who had the energy continued with the tramp.
We walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked,
except for John who walked and talked and talked and talked and talked.

The caves were fascinating, through the crevices we hunched,
though not a lot of bats were there (they must have been at lunch).
It was dark and dank and muddy, and the chambers where quite cavernous.
I was looking forward to dinner as the walk had made me ravenous.
By the time we came out of the cave, the sky was getting black
and our torches lit the walkway as we bravely headed back.

Dinner was lovely, Donna had baked some veggies and a roast
cooked to perfection, Camp oven cooking is what I like the most.
We followed it up with Chocolate Cake and passed around a sample
Not much came back, but that's OK, our tummies had had ample.
We sat and talked and took in the heat which flared up from the embers
while Trudy cooked marshmallows and passed them amongst the members.

Monday morning was foggy as we packed our tents as last
we had a big brekkie and headed off, for the day would go by fast.
With a long way to go, and a river to cross, we intended to stay on the move,
and we would have done too, except for one hill which required us to prove,
that the Suzys could get up it, - although grip was sometimes missin',
though we sure rubbed it in, when we snatched up the hill a great big diesel Nissan.

It was getting on dark at the end of the day when we finally got to the river,
it was muddy and steep, and to get to the water it required us to slither
right down to the edge, and take a deep breath, and across to the other side.
Though most were concerned at the depth of the water, all come across with pride.
Then 200 metres and up a big hill and along the dirt road we started,
then 60 odd kays took us back to the place where on Saturday morn we departed.

Thus came the end of a good fun weekend which was over and done too soon,
with a great bunch of people, a wonderful place in the light of the silvery moon,
it's a marvelous valley down there by the Deua, and somewhere to come back again,
and those that suggest that we lock it all up; quite simply, they must be insane,
'cause the bush is a place that's for seeing and touching, not locking away with a gate.
So get out and see it, as much as you can, 'cause one day it may be too late.

Volume 15, No 7
July 1990
Chris Betcher

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