Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

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Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Ms_Mudd » Mon 19 Jul, 2021 6:56 pm

I seem to only write a trip report in the depths of Covid restrictions. The last report I wrote was a trip I took at exactly the same time last year, the first few days of June. Perhaps as I am thinking about the wider world and how we interact with it? Or maybe as it is just because my red wine consumption goes up during these sorts of times and I get 'chatty'?!

I live in Regional NSW, in the foothills of the Barrington Tops which affords me the benefit of beautiful walking on my doorstep and many lovely snowy Wintry walks. Sometimes, my local area also offers frozen stuff hurling from the sky, but more the stinging, sleety kind rather than the fluffy white stuff. It was just such a weather prediction ahead of two midweek days off that prompted me to think about National Parks that were West of the fairly ordinary weather forecast. I had a trip planned to the Warrumbungles already planned for July, so had to get creative and think of something else less obvious. I took to reading my op shop copy of Gregory's NSW NP's and landed upon Mt Kaputar National Park, close to Narrabri, NSW. A quick reccie on the forum turned up some interesting ideas so I decided to leave on the trip, at 9pm the preceding night to potter about on the Skyline Traverse.

The drive was pleasant, open plains and rural scenery. I had downloaded a great podcast series so binged that while the hours whiled away. I arrived at around lunchtime and drove to some of the other walks in the park, only to find most were closed after wild weather in the days before. There were huge banks of snow at the sides of the road as I got up higher, much more still on the ground than I had thought there would be. After a quick look at some of the lookouts and my abandoned walk plans, I headed back down to Green Camp car park at the start of the Mt Yulludunida walk.
The formed track was steep and nice walking, plenty of steps and elevation gained in a short distance. Before I knew it, I was at the end of the designated walk and at the base of the Yulludunida Crater, it was a choose your own adventure from that point.
I skirted along the base for awhile, taking care along some of the slippery sections, water was still seeping out from the recent precipitation.
I then came to the point that I knew from my (limited) research, would be the optimal point to scramble up to the saddle between the two main peaks.

Having an irrational fear of heights, I always struggle with scrambling up or down anything with any hint of exposure. I knew rationally that the climb up was easy, the rocks had plenty of jutting out hand holds, that looked like dragon scales. They were solid and many, it was not hard to find somewhere to put your hand next. Yet, I still had adrenaline pumping through me and was having a stern, but encouraging conversation with myself as I picked my route and clambered up. Once safely up top in the saddle, I realised that my legs were shaking, this is something that has happened before when I feel a bit frightened, presumably from the surge of adrenaline.

The views were nothing short of spectacular, I think I will let my photos do the talking on that front. I spent the afternoon exploring the peaks to either side of the saddle, it was fun making like a mountain goat and climbing up,down,around and up and down some more,safely pushing my comfort levels with exposure.
After exploring along the crater in either direction, I decided I would camp off to the side of the saddle as it afforded views across to nearby Mt Ningadhun and would make a fabulous sunset location as well as close proximity to a scramble that would make a perfect sunrise vantage point. My choice of location would also allow me to get back to my car in a timely fashion to be home in time to do the school pick up run and make dinner for my family.
Sleeping real estate in my choice of location was some what limited,the fires of 2020 and recent rains had made for dense shrubby undergrowth and after searching around a bit I found a 'me' sized sleeping spot that was free of rocks and reasonably favourable with no real slope. Unfortunately my sleeping spot did not lend itself to situating my XMid easily around it, but I managed to McGyver up a creative solution for the pegs and shared my vestibule with some shrubs.

The clouds and flurries of snow had all but blown away and sunset was just pure magic with calm conditions. I ran from spot to spot taking it all in,before settling in with a cup of tea to watch the final show.
I settled in for the evening just as strong gusts of winds began. My tent was not optimally pitched, but seemed to be holding strong, so I drifted off to sleep. I was woken around 11pm by flapping of my tent that was louder than when I went to sleep- I soon found one of the corners had come unpegged, I reluctantly got out, found some rocks to hold the shrubs down and affix some extra line to in lieu of pegging that corner out. It held and I went back to a toasty and restful sleep.

Coffee watching the sunrise was as gorgeous as I had hoped. I chose a different route down the rock face than I had coming up and was pleased to find that my nerves were much more solid, I even paused halfway down just to chill out and take it all in. Once at the bottom I was able to see my route down had been significantly steeper than my route up, evidence that my confidence was in a much better place after managing my fears the day before. I was back down to my car at Green Camp within the hour and back on the road.

I left Mt Kaputar National Park, vowing to return and explore some more. My version of the skyline traverse , which was an up and down of it rather than a circuitous route was unexpectedly mind blowing, the views were superb and the scrambling enjoyable. I could see from my brief visit that there are many more interesting off track options and I am keen to spend some time exploring the ideas I have come up with.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby eggs » Tue 20 Jul, 2021 12:06 am

Lovely report.
Might get back to NSW when sanity returns
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby JohnnoMcJohnno » Tue 20 Jul, 2021 7:23 am

Gorgeous photos Ms Mudd - it looks fantastic. Mind you I reckon I've driven past Kaputar a half dozen times and every time its been in cloud. I don't think i've ever seen the top.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby crollsurf » Tue 20 Jul, 2021 8:53 am

Nice, great photos. What was the mice situation like out there ATM?

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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Ms_Mudd » Tue 20 Jul, 2021 9:51 am

A good question re: mice. Saw plenty darting about on the road as I got closer to Narrabri, but zero encountered walking or overnight. I would think some would be around the designated camps or maybe not due to snow?

The closures were not on the NPWS site and the system actually let me book a camp site that was closed too. I had no intention of staying there, but did the online booking for contact tracing so NPWS would know I had been in the park. Interesting that others have encountered closures too. I did drive all the way up the top and could do the short path to both Governors and Mt Kaputar look out, but everything else was taped off.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby crollsurf » Tue 20 Jul, 2021 2:09 pm

Ms_Mudd wrote:A good question re: mice. Saw plenty darting about on the road as I got closer to Narrabri, but zero encountered walking or overnight. I would think some would be around the designated camps or maybe not due to snow?

The closures were not on the NPWS site and the system actually let me book a camp site that was closed too. I had no intention of staying there, but did the online booking for contact tracing so NPWS would know I had been in the park. Interesting that others have encountered closures too. I did drive all the way up the top and could do the short path to both Governors and Mt Kaputar look out, but everything else was taped off.

Thanks, I'm rethinking I'll head up that way now the mice aren't so bad and once the lockdown is over.

I read somewhere that NSWNP's budget was cut by 20% so I'm thinking communications (and closures) are only going to get worse. I hope not but what can they do, they only have so much money/staff to manage all the parks.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Ms_Mudd » Tue 20 Jul, 2021 6:35 pm

Absolutely, 100% worth the trip.
I can't believe it has never been on my radar before, it was only that I didn't fancy the sleet here that I even came up with the idea.

The formed walking track closures wouldn't impede on any off track options, of which there are many. I would add though that there was some dense shrubby undergrowth post fires and recent rains. I am already plotting and planning my next visit and will hopefully be a proficient tarp user by then to take advantage of more view-tastic camps.

As I was having a pre sunset cuppa, I flicked my phone on to see if there was signal and at that moment NPWS called to advise me to camp at Bark Hut Campground instead of the closed Dawsons Springs as I had booked. I said I was already set up and told her where, explaining I had never intended to camp at Dawsons anyway, NPWS woman was totally fine with that and said I shouldn't have paid. I was still happy to pay and at least could be contacted if need be if a random Covid case happened to be there. I did use the toilet facilities at Dawsons Springs and they were impressive for a reasonably remote- albeit drive to- camp site with hot showers and all. Fancy!

Definitely heading back.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby north-north-west » Tue 20 Jul, 2021 8:20 pm

JohnnoMcJohnno wrote: Mind you I reckon I've driven past Kaputar a half dozen times and every time its been in cloud. I don't think I've ever seen the top.


Ditto. Frustrating place.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby crollsurf » Tue 20 Jul, 2021 8:45 pm

Forget the tarp, your Protrail Li is an all in one tarp. Bit like a swag for Ultralighters.

Off track I can do but if it's anything like the closed tracks around Sydney, there are well worn tracks around the Cyclone fencing. Haha

I'll show more respect and will make the effort but like you say, the regrowth after the fires could mean getting back on track might be a safe plan B.

Its ski touring time too but I'm so keen to get out there.


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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Hughmac » Wed 21 Jul, 2021 7:43 pm

Hi Ms Mudd. We must have been up there just after you, following our Green Gully walk. Camped at Bark Hut Campground. The place was a revelation. There are any number of stunning short and longer walks there, and every corner you turn seems to reveal another amazing view. The view from the top of Mt Kaputar is the best I think I've ever seen, basically 360 degree views to distant horizons. Fortunately for us a few of the tracks had been reopened, but NPs were working overtime to clear the remainder. Must have been a hell of a storm. Will definitely be returning to explore further.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Ms_Mudd » Thu 22 Jul, 2021 9:57 am

Hughmac wrote: The place was a revelation. There are any number of stunning short and longer walks there, and every corner you turn seems to reveal another amazing view. Will definitely be returning to explore further.

I can see your experience echoed my own. I was keen to get out for a walk, but Mt Kaputar NP had never featured on my mental check list of places to visit. For the last few months I have been really looking forward to my Warrumbungles trip, but now the Bungles have a whole lot to live up to! It was very grey when I was up the top of Mt Kaputar, but yet the expanse of views was amazing.
From my wee perch on the side of the saddle, I was looking across the plains to the lights of Narrabri.

My Green Gully departure is quite close now Hughmac, I have found enthusiasm a little hard to muster, but have pep talked myself that it is a privilege to be able to get out and about while so much of the country is locked down. I mostly walk on my own, so perhaps the social aspect will really be a highlight? Or not :lol: I am taking my tarp if it arrives in time so I can practice with the security of the huts nearby, filled with my snoring walking party, good motivation to get my tarping right.

crollsurf wrote:Forget the tarp, your Protrail Li is an all in one tarp. Bit like a swag for Ultralighters.


Yes to that- it was entirely my intention when purchasing the Protrail Li. I wasn't prepared to go 'full tarp' , didn't think I could, so hoped the PT would be a 'diet tarp' for me. Unfortunately the PTLi has not quite hit the brief for me in that respect though. Due to it still being a tent, albeit a crazy light one, I am still limited when pitching on shrubby, uneven, terrain. I am quite short and sleep curled up, so need precious little real estate to call home for the night, but pitching a fixed shape shelter around such spots still leads to suboptimal pitches and some serious Mcgyvering. I am unsure how I will go with the learning curve involved with an actual tarp, but am going to give it a crack for those time that I am not planning on staying in cleared locations.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Hughmac » Tue 27 Jul, 2021 8:13 pm

We spent a couple of nights at the Warrumbungles between Green Gully and Mt Kaputar. I'm sure it won't disappoint. Still a bit cool to be sleeping under a tarp with a hut on offer, I quite enjoyed them for a change. I'm also usually a solo walker, and really enjoyed sharing Green Gully with my wife - her only previous overnighter was the Main Range in the Snowys during February, so Green Gully was a big step up for her. I'm sure she regretted it at times, but she toughed it out admirably.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Ms_Mudd » Tue 27 Jul, 2021 9:19 pm

Double post
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Ms_Mudd » Tue 27 Jul, 2021 9:20 pm

Very cool indeed, Hughmac, My car had icicles on it as I left the carpark at Pincham this morning.
I did spend *some* of the night comfortably in Balor Hut, until the largest rodent I have ever seen took its harassment to a level I could no longer ignore . A nearly full moon walk starting out just before 1am saw me enjoy the trail differently to I had expected, pretty magical really. Warrumbungles were great too, loved my little trip. Also did some walking in Goulburn Rivers National Park on the way there.
You and your wife made rather a big, exciting trip of it Hughmac! Did you happen to stop in at Coolah Tops at all?
Well done to your wife, a very commendable effort from her, very unique thing to experience together
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby rcaffin » Fri 30 Jul, 2021 8:27 pm

Fantastic photos!

Cheers
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Ms_Mudd » Sat 31 Jul, 2021 11:38 am

Thanks Roger. I have no talent for photography, the gorgeous scenery didn't require skill to look good.
Even my obligatory trip selfish came out okay ish in the golden light ;-)
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Hughmac » Sat 31 Jul, 2021 9:10 pm

We didn't do Coolah Tops, but we did finish at Gibraltar Range - some fantastic walks up there too. We were at Goulburn River NP earlier this year. We also had rodent issues on our first night at Green Gully, with the noisiest rat I've ever encountered. The funniest encounter I've had with a rat was in the Royal NP. I was sleeping on a ground sheet, and it kept climbing onto my chest. Scared the Dickens out of me at first, but It got to the point I would just brush it off and go back to sleep. After breakfast I discovered it had stolen my toothbrush. The Royal is also the only place I've walked by moonlight, along the coast south of Wattamolla - pretty cool experience, isn't it? Must have been beautiful up in the 'Bungles.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby puredingo » Sun 01 Aug, 2021 7:02 pm

Hugh, I once woke up with a brushtail on my sleeping bag whilst on a camp out in the royal. That little overhang wasn’t big enough for the two of us, he won and I quickly conceded my lodgings and relocated to the rock shelf above the creek.

Sorry for the thread-napping Mrs Mudd but since I’ve got that exact same beenie thought it would be ok?

Awesome photos.
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Re: Mt Kaputar- Impromptu quick overnighter

Postby Ms_Mudd » Sun 01 Aug, 2021 7:41 pm

Beanie twins!

I could have coped with the idea of a brush trail and indeed thought the racket and jumping on my bivy was caused by one, until my headlamp caught the culprit trying to drag my full 1lt water bottle under a bunk. I had hung everything else except my water bottles
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