The Blue Mountains Camino Group meet monthly for a training walk starting from Glenella in Blackheath (guesthouse and home of Margaret and Rowan Bouttell). The group usually offers 2 walks – a 9km route along a fire road to Medlow Bath return, and a more challenging route along local bush trails to one of the scenic lookouts. We are spoilt for choice – each walk will typically includes creeks, bridges, waterfalls, tall eucalypt forests, fern gullies, viewpoints, and many steps!
However, the bush fires last summer changed our landscape dramatically. The Blue Mountains area was significantly impacted by bushfires, as the map shows.
After the bushfires we only had two monthly walks – January and February – before the coronavirus curtailed our activities. Not many trails had been re-opened by end January but we found a good 12km route that we named the ‘Blackheath Fire Fringe Walk’. Walking along the edge of the burnt areas there was little sign of life other than a few ferns along the creeks starting to send out green shoots. 4 weeks later, we repeated this walk and were encouraged by the regrowth visible. Good rains in February brought life back into the bushland and it was wonderful to see green foliage amongst the blackened trees. Many of the eucalyptus trees were re-sprouting from epicormic buds (buds positioned beneath the burnt bark). And the wonderful sunny weather made the waterfalls sparkle.
The wonderful sunny weather made the waterfalls sparkle
Walking along the edge of the burnt areas there was little sign of life other than a few ferns along the creeks starting to send out green shoots
Susi and Fermin (right) from Casa Susi, the ‘Australian’ albergue at Trabadelo
Over 40 people joined our February Camino training walk which was made even more memorable with 2 special guests from Spain: Susi and Fermin (right) from Casa Susi, the ‘Australian’ albergue at Trabadelo. They are so well known and loved that some of their fans even flew in from Brisbane and Darwin to see them ! We were privileged to have them also share their wonderful Camino stories to a packed audience in our afternoon meetup.