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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

PO Box 403
Nowra NSW 2541

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A 1994 Walk Fred Backer Well Remembers

This walk was down Long Point Lookout to the Shoalhaven, then on to and up Bungonia Creek, hopefully to the big rockfall. After lunch there we retraced our steps and walked out the way we came in. We got the usual crowd of faithfuls plus a new member, a youngish nurse from South Africa. We had given her the usual grilling over the 'phone and she sounded very confident and assertive. She had done a lot of walking in most of the South African national parks, she said, also in Kakadu National Park. So we said she could come along.

The weather on the day was sunny but not overly so. The walk down was fast and uneventful, the amble along the Shoalhaven River to the mouth of Bungonia Creek pleasant as usual. We saw a small herd of feral goats on the steep southern banks of Bungonia creek. Eventually we reached a pleasant lunch spot. Some members (including Nurse) stayed there while the rest of us went on for a bit of exploratory scrambling around the big rockfall. After lunch we made our way back. The red-bellied black snakes meanwhile appeared to have made the mouth of the Bungonia Creek their headquarters. I've never seen so many, all sunning themselves on the hot pebbles.

Soon after we started the accent up to Long Point we knew we had a problem. Nurse got slower and slower and we had to put in several extra stops. Also she was out of water and refused to drink anyone elses. We decided to split the group, Elizabeth and I would stay with Nurse, Gordon would lead the others back to the cars, and then come back with extra water. Elizabeth and I did the tried and proven walking out thing: at a very slow but even pace with me straight in front of Nurse and Elizabeth hard on her heels, making reassuring and encouraging noises all the way. It worked for a while but eventually she just sat down and refused to budge. She kept refusing to drink any of our water (we had packed plenty - just in case). She told us to just leave her there, and she said she would stay on the track overnight and walk out on her own the next morning!

Anyway, after some rest and a lot of persuading she agreed to drink a bit of water and we managed to get her moving again. A bit later she became extremely abusive, she had gone beyond reason. Somehow, though, we managed to keep her going. We really were glad to see Gordon coming to meet us again with some extra water. Also this seemed to convince Nurse that it mightn't really be much further. Between Gordon and ourselves we eventually managed to get her up the trail and back to the car, and this is where the miracle happened. As soon as she saw the cars she recovered as if by magic. She could walk again, talk again, got stuck into tea and bikkies. On the way back she regaled us all with stories about extremely gory hip replacement operations. To the best of my knowledge she has never been on another Shoalhaven Bushwalkers walk.

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