A very hot, very steep hike along Koolewong Ridge

I usually don’t hike when the temperatures are in the thirties (around 90F) but I had set aside the day to hike and by golly I was going to do it! I was thinking of doing more of the Great South Coast Walk or maybe heading out to blackheath, but the heat and the looming threat of wild storms kept me closer to home.

I hopped on the train to Woy Woy NSW with the goal of walking to Gosford via the Koolewong Ridge. I decided along the way to stop at Point Clare, sticking to the ridges rather than the bays.

After a short walk along the bay I ducked under a bridge to reach the entrance to the fire trail. The climb up the ridge was much steeper than I expected. With the heat and the excertion, I found myself gulping down the water. I saw a green tree snake slither off into the bush to my left and I thought that meant I might see many more but it turned out to be the only snake of the trip.

The climb up the firetrail came to a set of steps and continued to go up.

After passing the towns water tank the trail levelled off. I decided to check out a number of side trails for the views and was well rewarded. I startled a huge lace monitor and it shot up the tree and climbed right to the top. Gorgeous creature. I caught it on video below.

After a few views I realised I was deviating from the route on the map so I backtracked and followed a rough path along the highest part of the ridge with some good views. However the route soon vanished, leaving me having to decide whether to backtrack or bushbash to the firetrail I could see below. I decided to bushbash and it was simple enough to get to the trail. I was very cautious though and on the lookout for snakes.

After a rest I found a short side trail that led to an aboriginal engraving site. I couldn’t make out what it was. Possibly a fish or maybe a pipi. I explored the rock platforms nearby but did not find any others.

Hard to make out but I there is an engraving site here

I was very tired at this point and questioning whether my water would last. I was pleased to stop at a creek and dunk my cap in the water to help cool me down! It looked like there would be a bit of a waterfall further back when the rains kicked in. Would be interesting to see.

From the creek was an extremely steep climb that completely defeated me. I was stopping every ten footsteps and chugging water like crazy. I only got up to the top by looking directly at my feet and ignoring the view ahead. Ignorance is bliss they say! It worked and I got to the top with my heart pounding. From this point on I was like one of those cheap remote control cars that stops at even the slightest slope. I was ready for this walk to be over and the promised storm was starting to build so I made the decision to finish at Point Clare and not carry on to Gosford.

I took in a few more views then descended into town whilst finishing the last of my water. I headed straight to the bottle-O to grab a powerade. (There seemed to be only an Aldi and a bottle shop in this town).

All up I walked 10km with 350m ascent and same descent. I still don’t see the attraction of hot weather hiking and I’m still quite unfit so my abs ache, but I’ll admit I still feel generally fantastic for having done it! Hiking is odd like that. It hurts but it’s good! I’ll definitely take lots more water next time if I do a longer hike in the heat.

I made a YouTube video you can view here . Please subscribe to see any future videos!

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