The Jindabyne and Blackheath Jaunts, 1991 - 1998
by Dot Gallagher
What began as a 'good idea' as a result of murmurings about the Snowy Mountains in the summer, turned into an almost annual event with mostly large attendances. The first trip was held in 1991 when 25 Shoalhaven Bushwalkers attended. The numbers from 1992 to 1998 were 32, 22, 51, 28, 36 and 17 respectively.
The 1997 figure included 16 people from SGAP who joined with other members of SGAP who went as 'bushwalkers'. Every day at Jindabyne several walks were organized of varying capacity, to cater for all tastes. We have been very lucky with the weather, hardly ever being totally 'grounded', and we have experienced damp and freezing, hot and dry, hot and humid (!) and just plain wet, but this is all part of the mountain experience.
The walks in the Snowy are wonderful, with the added attraction of magnificent alpine wildflowers. The cabins at the Sport and Recreation Centre at Jindabyne are both cheap and very comfortable. 'Apres walking' or 'Happy Hour' was just that - happy! It is on trips away like this that you can discover hidden qualities in people you had never really got to know on the Wednesday walks.
Blackheath in late October, to coincide with the 'Rhododendrons in the Mountains', began in the same year. The numbers have never been really high, which is fortunate as the cabins don't cater for so many. We stay at Jemby Rinjah Lodge, an award-winning environmental centre, near Evans Lookout. Numbers for the years have been 15, 16, 22, 11 and 9.
Walks in the Blue Mountains have been so famous for so long that they are largely taken for granted, but they are really beautiful and once again cater for all levels of walking. Some intrepid walkers did the Blue Gum Forest in one day, but one of our longer walks for all our members was Ruined Castle, sometimes returning via the Landslide, and sometimes via the Golden Stairs. Even the Federal Pass was re-discovered and another favourite was the Wentworth Falls area where some managed the Wentworth Pass, and the remainder the National Pass with the Overcliff - Undercliff walk thrown in. Other members have organized trips away to very beautiful places, but the Jindabyne and Blackheath trips have been my contribution to the Club.