Blue Mountains

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March 8th 2009
Published: March 9th 2009
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Three SistersThree SistersThree Sisters

Yup, that's it folks
Early Saturday morning, we started on our journey to the Blue Mountains. We stopped at the store to get some supplies for a picnic lunch (these Irish men are quite gourmet, let me tell you) and then got on the train for the 2 hour journey to Katoomba, one of the main stopping points in the mountains. The topography started changing about 1.5 hours into the train ride, when the flat was replaced by rolling, forested hills and small towns. "Mountains" is probably an overstatement... reminds me a lot of the Porcupine Mountains in the UP of Michigan. The best part of the mountains was the "blue" part. I guess the eucalyptus from the trees has a chemical reaction with the ozone, so the mountains are coated in a blue haze. Quite neat, and really a cool sight.

Our first stop was Echo Point, where you can view the infamous "Three Sisters". Unfortunately, 3 tour buses had the same exact idea, and we were fighting for views and photo ops. And to be perfectly honest, the Three Sisters just aren't that hot. The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road were much more impressive than the Three Sisters. So the trip started as a bit of a disappointment, especially as we started out on the Prince Edward Trail which was still congested with tourists, and the walkways were all concrete. However, just as I was starting to regret spending a day away from Sydney on this hiking excursion, once we were a kilometer deep, the tourists all dropped off and the scenery changed dramatically. The hills became rocky and mountainesque and we had some spectacular views from craggy, rocky cliffs and had pleasant stop offs at the Leura Cascades, the Gordon Falls and Pool of Solamin. We then headed off to Leura to catch the train back, of course with some celebratory drinks in hand for our stalwart hiking efforts and to prepare for the Mardi Gras night to come.

So, if any of you are planning on hiking the Blue Mountains, I would suggest: start early and hit Echo Point before the tourists, and maybe even start in Leura instead of Katoomba. And if you are looking for some serious hiking in some serious mountains... you may want to skip it all together. =)

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