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Box Vale Track

Danny, Camilla, Jon, Kiran, Rex, Adrienne, Gregor, Simone, Rees, Sam, Andrew, Selma, Matthew - 15 September 2008

Everyone who'd said they were coming turned up, despite pretty miserable weather. We picked up Jon, Kiran and Rex and drove down in quite heavy rain, but with little traffic we made good time and stopped in Mittagong for a second breakfast. We picked the same cafe as Adrienne's group, so that was ten of us. Andrew and Selma were at the trackhead car park when we go there, and Matthew turned up a quarter of an hour later.

It was pretty gloomy, with occasional showers, but the walk out along the railway cutting to the lookout was comfortable. Progress was delayed by photography - Gregor, Matthew and myself had DSLRs and several others had P&S cameras - and botanising, with Andrew explaining orchid pollination and other topics to Rex.

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Forest Oak, Allocasuarina torulosa
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birds nest in a fruiting Blueberry Ash, Elaeocarpus reticulatus
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Prostanthera rugosa
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botanising in the tunnel mouth
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the view from the lookout
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noticeboard describing the incline

Soon after we started the descent down the incline it started pouring down, and after some discussion Adrienne, Rees, and Rex decided to bail and return to the cars.

"Incline: In 1883, five years prior to the Boxvale Tramline being built, the Mittagong Coal-mining Company (Limited) took steps and opened a new seam of coal situation 520' (158.5mts.) below at the base of the incline. The seam was said to be twenty-nine feet thick.

It was well known that the quality of the coal was of a very high standard, nearly if not equal to the best Newcastle coal. In the same year a workforce prepared the ground for the erection of a stationary engine on this spot and the construction of the incline to the mouth of the coal mine below."

The rest of us negotiated the slippery descent down the old haulway to Box Vale Creek, then pushed on in the rain till we go to Natural Arch, which provided a dry lunch spot. While we were having lunch it stopped raining and even cleared, with patches of sun. That created beautiful effects on the river.

There was some slipping and sliding - Gregor splashed down crossing back over the Nattai, while I slipped a good metre or so at one point, getting mud all over my bum - but we made it to Forty Foot Falls. This had more water going over it than I'd seen before, and was also rather photogenic.

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Pomaderris intermedia
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the Nattai River
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the Nattai River
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Forty Foot Falls
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Pterostylis longifolia, Tall Greenhood
We had a minor confusion right at the end, 150 metres or so from the car park, and I discovered that my 1:25000 Mittagong sheet is so old it doesn't show the freeway! We stopped in Mittagong for cake and coffee before the carloads went their separate ways back to Sydney.
Other photographs:
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