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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

PO Box 403
Nowra NSW 2541

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To Camp or not to Camp - that is the Question? - by Monica Keely

As a walker I have spent most of my life pounding the pavement, sometimes out of necessity, more often than not out of pure enjoyment. Because of this the many and varied treks I have undertaken since joining the Shoalhaven Bush Walking Club have not posed any significant problems.

However I cannot say the same for camping, in particular camping in remote and rugged regions. I had in fact, never camped a night in my life before my recent trip to Corang Peak. Mud splattered and tired we arrived at our campsite late in the afternoon, the ten kilometre hike having taken much longer than expected because of an abundance of mud caused by recent rain. While Colin set the fire, we each quickly erected our tents and prepared tea. We spent the rest of the evening chatting by the fire. The camaraderie was a highlight for me. As I settled down for the night, still wearing my walking clothes, my mind focused on the two main fears I had before setting out on this trip. One was not being able to sleep and the other was having to go to the toilet in the middle of the night. Fortunately I was not troubled with either problem. However my tent partner was not so lucky.

At some stage in the night I was woken from a deep sleep. The fog in my brain eventually lifted so I could make out my name being called. "Moni," it said. "Moni". When I eventually worked out it was Pam, my first thoughts were "A dingo's got her!" But Pam was only lost in the dark, and my reply led her safely back to our tent. The next morning took us past a lovely creek with swirls of mist rising from it and an amazing sandstone arch. The track was much drier than the one we had taken the day before.

I arrived home safely, in one piece and had had a great experience. Though I'm not sure I am a converted bush camper, I am very glad to have gone on the trip and thanks for all the help and advice.

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