Vera Creek Falls, Frenchmans Cap

Vera Creek Falls, Frenchmans Cap 2019 Mar

Vera Creek Falls 6.

Vera Creek Falls were not initially the object of our bushwalk. It was my birthday, and my daughter had taken the day off work and tossed in the weekend to climb a mountain with me. The trouble was, the rain was howling more fiercely than the wind, and my daughter had hurt her knee two weeks before doing a race in NSW called the Six Foot Track, which is so gruelling that her runs up Mt Wellington seemed nugatory as practice. Camping on Baron Pass for night number one was pruned back to limping into Vera Hut just as darkness was beginning to require a head torch if we’d been out any longer. (In case you think she was REALLY injured, I’d better add that we didn’t get started until 3pm.) I’d watched the limp develop early on, during the very first climb, and worsen with each successive slope. One thing at a time, but things did not bode well for the morrow.

Hygrocybe roseoflavida

Now, as adumbrated, we were sopping wet by the time we descended the final drop into the hut, and had been discussing how very nice it would be if someone else just happened to be in the hut, and if they also just happened to have the fire lit. Sigh. Dream on. “Hey mum, I see a light,” Kirsten exclaimed. “Oh wow. Do you think they know how to light a fire?”

Vera Creek Falls 4

We opened the door and peeped around the corner, but we didn’t need to ask our question. The magnificent warmth of the glowing stove greeted us, as did the welcome smiles of seven or … was it nine?… happy faces. While we dumped our sodden packs and pulled out our sleeping bags and dry clothes, these guys pampered us by collecting water from the tank outside and hanging up my horrid lumps of fabric (I am too small to reach the pegs). We chatted convivially while we eventually ate our dinner, and had good fun together.

Kirsten was not in a rush next morning, and I figured we had little chance of summitting considering the state of her knee and the rather appalling weather out the door, so we took things gently, both in terms of departure time and pace. I have never wandered through this forest at such a relaxed speed, and it gave us both time to enjoy all the aborning fungi more thoroughly. There is nothing like rainforest in the rain. Every leaf glistened. The moss was spongy and thick. And as for Vera Creek, it wanted to challenge Niagara. Even the track was a waterfall worthy of photos. We sloshed and admired. I didn’t take too many photos on the way up – just enough to be happy but allow me to catch up in between shots.

Vera Creek Falls 2

It was late morning by the time we reached Baron Pass. The sky was black ahead. Thick clouds obscured all mountains. And yet, the sun shone in a tiny circle that happened to contain us. Always being a little hungry, I suggested an early lunch during the lull between downpours, and I was so glad I did. By the time we’d finished, it was deluging again, and we decided to head for base and skip the idea of a mountain. Back we went, with far more photography this time, slosh slosh, all the way to the hut, where we read and did some exercises to stay warm, ate more and then it was time for dinner. Kirsten lit the fire while I cooked, and all was cosy for the other four walkers who opened the door.

The way out was uneventful: more fungi, more water, more rain, and more good luck when it came to my need for snacking, in that the rain stopped briefly to give us a respite, and then made up for its gentillesse once our packs were back on. Luckily we both think that rainforest in the rain is a real treat.
Can you believe that on the way out, we met another mother and offspring combo celebrating a birthday by having three days in the same area? Fynn and his mum from Western Australia were there for his twentieth birthday. We gave each other a high-five before parting in our opposite directions. It’s nice to know that someone else knows abut perfect birthday presents.
Waterfall aficionados, note: there were at least six falls on this creek that were worth photographing, some of which are shown here. Others were not photographed, as they would have involved my spoiling beautiful forest to get a good line, so I just admired them and left them alone. Others had too much clutter to be photogenic. This selection will suffice.
And thanks to Terry Reid for all the interesting historical material to read that is there in the hut to help while away some time waiting for the next meal.

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