The Green Gully Track
Oh how lucky James and I were with the weather. In 2018 James and the Wooman were finally able to explore one of New South Wales best multi-day hikes: The Green Gully Track.
23 - 26 May 2018
We started in a clearing, surrounded by kangaroos, the lucky ones that didn’t play that dangerous game of car verses face. Very quickly we were faced with a wall of timber, the edge of a thick forest in which we would spend the next four days. We spent the first two days descending, observing the live trees growing from dead ones, having staring contests with the resident pythons, and taking mental notes of the evident damage caused by the infamous Yowie. On the third day, we reached the gully, where we had over 35 water crossings – some up to our waist, well, my waist, James’ knees. It was absolutely gorgeous, like stepping into another world, the high cliffs on both sides and the luscious green vegetation that lined the river’s banks. The last day was a steep ascent, where James and I both received an appreciation for walking sticks. One unique part of this track was the availability of huts on every night, eliminating the need to carry tents, sleeping mats, tarps and cooking gear. Another unique part of this track was its history.
The area was owned by two neigbouring families, the O’keefes and the Youdales. They were stockmen, working hard mustering cattle in the challenging terrain. Each day, we walked from one hut to another, approximately 17km apart, the distance these stockmen could reasonably travel whilst managing a herd. Each of these huts told a story of their battles with ants and the bitter winter cold, and how many of the stockmen holstered pistols as the bulls were known for disemboweling their horses. Although restoration works had been completed, the original feel had been maintained including the remains of old kerosene drums used to for cooking, heating, and refrigeration. Old bottles lined the walls from which calendars dated ‘1972’ hung. In the evenings, I slept comfortably in my -12 degree rated sleeping bag and our walks were relaxing, with frequent stops and photo ops. Travelling on this path, James and I reflected how easy we’ve got it and how hard these families worked so we could have steaks on our plates, how those stockmen's efforts fuelled the local economy, and how their annual travels are now the basis of NSW’s best hut to hut trek for us to enjoy. Upon leaving, in the comment book I thanked the O’keefes, Youdales, and NSW National Parks. It also made me think, we all have a little bit of history we could be thankful for.
I think back to the story of my great grand father who immigrated to Canada in the early 20th century. He lived on an island in a lake on an island. Each day he rowed to the main island to work in a mill. You see, he had to live on the island in the lake because the Chinese weren’t allowed to live on the main island. He had to work in the depths of the saw mill for years to save up enough money to bring his wife and my grandfather over. They worked hard, eventually were allowed to live with the general population, and opened the town’s only general store and bakery. My grandfather worked hard and sent my father and five siblings to university on Canada’s mainland.
So I reflect and thank the efforts of my father, his father, and his father for giving me the opportunity to be able to do whatever I choose. I walked out of that forest thanking those stockmen for contributing to the development of the region and providing us adventurers with a chance to walk in their footsteps.
I finish off with a final thought. I’ve taken you on a journey where we’ve looked at efforts of past generations and what they’ve allowed us to do today. Consider this. What will we do today that will have future generations thanking us for?
For more information on the Green Gully Track, visit the NSW's National Park's website