Day 14: Yarramalong to Cedar Brush Creek

After the heat of January, the rains of February and March, my April trip to Lord Howe Island and then Easter, I finally had the chance to resume my barefoot trek to Newcastle. Meeting Allan Savins at the well-concealed Cedar Brush Creek finishing point, he drove me back to the Yarramalong trackhead where I’d hoped to grab a coffee before starting the walk, but alas the shop was closed for renovations.

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Disappointed but not undone, I set off west along Yarramalong Road, soon crossing the new concrete bridge over Wyong River.

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Motorists in these parts need to watch out for the wildlife, although wombats are mostly nocturnal and are unlikely to bother GNW hikers.

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Shortly I came upon the quaint St Barnabas chapel built in 1885, these days a popular venue for wedding services. No-one tying the knot today though.

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On the left the countryside opened up across the Wyong River valley. A few years ago I spent a week working at an electromagnetic compatibility test range just along here, but it’s not visible from the road so I don’t know whether it’s still operating.

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The road surface is gravel embedded in tar, not ideal for barefoot hiking although the volume of traffic along here has mostly smoothed it out and in places I was able to use the grassy verge. About 3km into the walk I came to the Cedar Brush Creek turnoff.

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Some inquisitive cattle on the left gave me a good look as I passed.

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From here the going became easier, with plenty of freshly mown grass to walk on and a lot less traffic to contend with.

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There are some unusual letterboxes in these parts.

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There are horses too on some of the properties, and like the cattle are enjoying the lush fields after all the late summer and early autumn rain.

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Speaking of autumn, the exotic trees are putting on a fine display of colour as they lose their foliage in anticipation of the snow that’ll never come. A bit sad when you think of it that way, but the fallen leaves felt nice underfoot.

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It’s starting to get cool for our reptilian friends too, with one of them seeking out the warmth of the road surface.

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As the road headed further up the valley I came to Fernances Country. Now all I need to do is figure out what a Fernance is.

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The road crosses Cedar Brush Creek at Yorky’s Bridge where it was time for a snack stop.

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Just the other side is the end of the bitumen, with the road becoming a pleasant recently graded dirt surface with minimal gravel.

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One of the neighbours has a quirky sense of humour. I wonder what they do there if it isn’t a pharm.

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Another five hundred metres along I saw a familiar vehicle lurking on the side of the road.

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Opposite is the Cedar Brush Creek trackhead and the end of today’s journey.

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I’ve now covered 146km and there’s just another 104 to go to Newcastle. Immediately ahead though is the steep climb up into the Watagan Mountains and what will probably be a four day traverse across the wild country to Heaton’s Gap, where the track returns to civilisation with the descent to Teralba railway station.

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Thanks once again to Allan for getting up early on a Saturday morning to do the car shuffle.

Coming up next: Cedar Brush Creek to Watagan Creek.

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