Sunday, April 19, 2015

Snakes and Ladders - Climbing Pigeon House Mountain

We came. We saw. We pigeoned!

Since we arrived in Nowra (last December), there has always been one attraction that people we speak to have said that we HAVE TO DO - Pigeon House Mountain (or "Didthul").

We found our opportunity while Chantal and Dave were visiting us during the April (2 week) School Holidays. Through the kindness of the Speer family, we dropped our boys off for a fun day of playing and headed out towards Milton and the Pigeon House Mountain Walking Track (kid-free!).

Chantal posing with the local talent at the Blue Dog Cafe

So, we drove our 4-door, 2-wheel drive sedan to the mountain starting point and the advice is that you should only travel on the road there with a 4-wheel drive if it has been wet or raining. It had been dry for a day or two, so we thought we would be alright - but the road still had quite a slope and rocky ride in store for us! The adventure started before we even arrived at the car park!

The journey ahead!

The walk is a challenge and commitment is needed to see it through to the end. The first section is a steady, uphill walk on a wide path with logs forming steps to climb up. The total climb is about 500 metres in elevation to the summit with an approximate distance of 5.3 km return and a suggested time of 3-4 hours to complete the return journey.

Perfect conditions for the walk - sunny, clear, mild

Almost to the end of the first section....slightly heavier breathing has begun!

Makeshift stairs and an uphill winding path through large rocks and trees

Almost at the first "lookout" area

Enjoying the middle "flat" section

Was that a bird?

We finally got a quick look at our summit! We're walking to that! Wow!

The girls were leading the charge!

Creepy trees

Slow climb up again

Love the "natural" steps to help in steeper sections

This is where Chy-Anne's fears came to fruition...

She was walking at the front and watched - what we both think was - a brown snake slither across the path. Looked like a small one - but still very much a highly venomous snake. We froze in place and slowly walked backwards away from it when it seemed safe to do so. After a few moments of staring at each other and debating what to do...we all agreed to push on and head to the top! We're certianly finding the wildife on our adventures...

Snakes and Ladders indeed!

Almost at the ladder section to the summit

Apparently, wooden ladders were installed over a hundred years ago to make the summit climb possible. Since then, metal upgrade ladders have been put in. 

Here we go!

The amazing views starting creeping in all around us as we climbed up higher

C'mon Dave - you can do it!

There were many other people climbing Pigeon House today (school holidays) - 
in fact, the car park was nearly full when we arrived!

We made it to the top!

And then...the breathtaking views started! 

We could just see the outline of Jervis Bay in the distance (white sand beach shorelines)

Dave at the summit trig station point

Chy-Anne enjoying the views at the top

...and then the journey back down began!

Chantal loved the ladders!

Coming down these steep ladders was worse than going up - we all agreed!

The only sign we saw on the trail 
(but it would really difficult to stray as there is only one real way up or down)

Nearly there...

The car park had all but emptied out when we finished. Most people had signed up for the 'early bird.'

It was 7.3 km return for us in just over 3 hours from start to finish. A great walk at a great pace!

As we were driving towards Milton, we caught this amazing sunset 
(you can just see the tip of Pigeon House Mountain slightly left-of-center in the horizon)

We finished - and celebrated - our amazing day with dinner out in Mollymook at the Tallwood Restaurant. Terrific food (highlighted by a huge paella and fresh Clyde River oysters) in a great atmosphere!

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