A few days out from our Cathedral Range adventure and the forecast wasn’t looking great. With snow predicted down to 700m and our hike taking us up the range to nearly 1,000m we were expecting some wild and wooly conditions. But that will never stop a foolhardy group of diehard WMSS enthusiasts!
We met at a very reasonable hour of the morning at Cooks Mill, ready for what should have been a reasonably strenuous but enjoyable uphill 7km day. The drizzle coming down was just a glimpse of what was to come. After some quick pack adjustments and advice for those in the group foolish enough to choose this as their first hike, we were off. A slow and steady trudge up to Sugarloaf Saddle had people stripping off layers as we sat down to lunch.
After lunch, the fun really started. In a “choose your own adventure” style we could either go up the infamous Wells Cave track or the apparently easier Canyon track. Due to the drizzle giving the rocks a nice slippery sheen and the advice of the track notes not to attempt the Wells Cave track with large packs, we opted for the Canyon track. Some solid uphill brought us to our first obstacle, a rock scramble up some quite slippery rocks with heavy packs. Packs were ditched, a quick rock climbing lesson was given and everyone admirably scrambled their way up the slick rocks. The committee set up a quick shuttle and got all the packs to the top. With the difficult rock scrambling out of the way all that was left was to make our way along the Razorback to the farmyard, our home for the night.
The rain hampered our progress but amplified the hilarity and fun. What should have been a leisurely 3 hour day turned into a 5 hour slog fest with enough mishaps to keep any wilderness lover happy. After dinners varying from a bottom of the pack squished sandwich to warm cooked delights everyone escaped the rain into their tents.
The morning brought a little respite from the rain but the long day yesterday had taken it out of us. What was supposed to be an 8am start pushed out to 9.30am with a few bleary eyed soles emerging from their tents at 8.30am. While some were very keen to complete the range circuit by doing the northern part, others lusted for a more leisurely morning and opted to duck up to South Jawbone peak before heading down the middle of the range back to Cooks Mill.
The rain had abated and we were even fortunate enough to catch a few breaks in the cloud to see the sweeping fields out to the west of the range, a stunning view over the surrounding countryside. By the time we trudged back into Cooks Mill we were treated with a full view of the range we had just traversed, now without it’s cloudy shroud.
What was meant to be a nice leisurely beginner friendly trip turned into a soggy, slippery adventure with the fun dialled up. Everyone did incredibly well in the conditions and the positivity from the group was top notch. Everyone displayed the traits of fantastic future adventurers!