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Today we enjoyed a brisk walk to Camel’s Hump in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve:
Camels Hump (Option 2) 11.6 km 6 hrs Hard: Climb from Mountain Creek to one of the highest ridges in the ACT. Enjoy stunning views over the mountain wilderness.
Before embarking on the walk we bought an annual entry pass to the reserve and spoke with the reserve officer. He said that we had the option of adding an extra 45 minute walk to the summit of Camel’s Hump and that if we are fit we may be able to do the walk in 5 hours. He went on to say that we had great weather for it and would enjoy marvellous views.
Knowing that we needed to pick up our children after school we walked very briskly. The track uses a fire trail so it’s not the same as being enveloped in the forest on a true bush trail but it was still lovely to pass through the wet sclerophyll forest at the base of the climb. We were delighted to see flame robins sitting quietly on a branch before dashing through the trees with a flash of red. We walked fast and steadily without really pausing except to inspect some interesting intrusions in the granite.
We were interested to note the changes in vegetation as we climbed 600m in altitude and eventually encountered beautiful sub-alpine woodland on the ridge-line at the top. I glimpsed a view including the radio telescope dishes about 3/4 of the way to the ridge but shrugged thinking that the view would be even better at the top.
As we levelled out onto the ridge a superb lyrebird crossed the path which surprised me because I’ve only encountered them in rainforest previously. When we reached the ridge we entered low cloud and soon it was raining steadily on us. We didn’t have wet weather gear with us but it was about 18C so it wasn’t particularly unpleasant. Visibility deteriorated and as we climbed towards the summit the path became very slippery and it was unclear how to pass some large rocks so we slipped our way back down through the rain and briefly reflected on how wrong the reserve officer had been about the weather, view and time required!
The walk down was fast and easy and we accelerated and then jogged the last part of it although both of us had sore ITB’s by this point. We were delighted to watch what we suspected was a Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby (only about 40 left in the wild) hop across our path and then sit watching us from the trackside (It seems likely it was actually at Swamp Wallaby though – thanks Maxine!). We also encountered a 2nd rock wallaby and a few kangaroos but the cool and wet weather kept the reptiles out of sight.
We completed the walk in just 2 hours and 41 minutes which makes the allowed time of 6 hours a bit of a joke.