Hiking through Olney State Forest is a bit like getting a lap dance off your best mate’s mother – pleasant and refreshing, but not overly exciting, with the whole experience leaving you feeling dirty at the end of it.
I’ve been as busy as Rolph Harris in a kindergarten lately and haven’t had a chance to get away for more than a month, so when I found myself with a few free days, I packed my bags and headed into the wilderness. After driving through glorious valleys and pretty rural towns, I parked by the side of a dirt road and headed out into the trees, making my way from Cedar Brush to the Basin Campsite, on the NSW Central Coast.
The track headed steeply upwards, and it wasn’t long before I was regretting every meat pie I’d ever even. Actually, that’s a lie, because I’ll never regret a pie. It was a real slog through the scrub with little in the way of rest areas, and after an hour or so I was very happy to reach the top of the mountain and stop for a well-deserved lunch break.
The next two or three hours of swaggering along the ridgeline were lovely, even if there wasn’t a lot to see. Lots of trees, plenty of dirt, some rocks, that sort of thing. It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve barely had any time to myself, so it was wonderful to be out there with nothing but the birds for company.
As the track dived down the other side of the mountain, the vegetation changed quicker than a small-penised man in a public swimming pool bathroom. Giant ferns and palm trees towered above me, and I stormed down into the valley as the daylight waned and darkness settled over everything.
In fact, the darkness settled just a little too much, and I found myself stumbling through the night, with only a vague idea of where my campsite was. I fell over rocks, bumped into trees, and tumbled into roots (not for the first time!) before finally coming out (no, not like that) at the glorious Basin Campsite.
While it was too dark for me to fully appreciate, the Basin is a huge, well-kept camp with heaps of fire pits, a few picnic tables, and a view over a muddy creek. It’s next to a dirt road, so most people drive in and set up camp and rock in with beers and sausages and big tents, but I had the place to myself. Well, pretty much.
That night, I learned two things. 1) Possums love nachos every bit as much as I do. Shortly after finishing my deliciously authentic Mexican meal, these cheeky bastards rolled in and smashed the leftovers, then hung around for the next few hours while I listened to music and danced around the campfire like some sort of demented hippie.
2) It gets pretty fucking cold in the Watagans in the middle of winter. I went to bed wearing thermals, a shirt, a jumper and a jacket, wrapped up in a sleeping bag rated to zero degrees, and I still woke up feeling colder than a penguin’s penis. The council needs to install some heaters out there.
The next morning I headed back to the car, and after a 10km walk I was feeling a tad thirsty – so I headed to the Six Strings Brewery at Erina, where I drank beer and embarrassed myself in front of a pretty lady! Maybe I’m best off out in the bush by myself, at least I can’t make a dickhead of myself out there…