In October, I walked a portion of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk from Echo Point to a track junction that leads to Merriwa St in Katoomba. Then, the rain was unceasing and the temperature was about 10deg C (50deg F) (see “A soggy walk in the Blue Mountains“). Since then, bushfires have raged in the Blue Mountains and the entire national park (some 2,690 sq km / 1,040 sq miles) was closed due to fire danger. On 31 December, when I walked again, only one track was open — the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. So I followed it in the reverse direction this time, and from Gordon Falls Lookout in Leura to Echo Point in Katoomba. (Map source)
I was very lucky with the smoke — the morning was clear, the first blue sky for quite a while, I was told. Not so lucky with the temperature, though: it was 30deg C (85deg F) when I began walking, and 35deg C (95deg F) when I stopped. That’s really not ideal for the ups and downs and sometimes rough terrain of such a walk!
Even this trail, skirting the towns of Katoomba and Leura, is not safe from fire. Some, inexplicably, are deliberately lit by arsonists.
In this view from a lookout, the burnt areas are clear. Again, that’s smoke on the horizon.
Finally, I got to Echo Point. This walk is only about 7km but I deliberately went slowly and rested often. The heat did not make for pleasant walking, and I hadn’t taken enough water so I was feeling about as parched as the forest! The blue sky of my start had, 2.5 hours later, mostly given way to murky, opaque smoke.
Contrast the photo below of visitors at Echo Point with one from October of the same spot.
The views from Echo Point are extensive. Sadly, this time the views include spot fires and smoke.
No ice cream or cake at the end of this walk, something more substantial was called for. 😉
Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walk.