Desiring to remove myself from all things technology and obligation, university's lifestyle requirements of sitting, staring and absent-minded processing would not pervade my mid-semester break. Counterbalancing this virtual extreme with the extremely real, an entire week spent on the Alynn River in Barrington Tops during the October long weekend seemed to be the only option.
Photo: Poyt448 Peter Woodard
Settling upon a grassy patch just downriver from the popular White Rock camping area (which, at the time of writing, was still closed), night progressively fell and the grounds slowly began to resemble an Elven encampment from Lord of the Rings. Campfires and tents dotted the roadside, with quiet murmurs and sudden outbursts of laughter common. A modest amount of beer was sipped on, yet the expansive calmness of the world around ensured that a usually rambunctious group of young males did not get out of hand: there was so much to occupy one's time with, that to be sound asleep by 8pm wasn't uncommon.
Woken each day by the alarm of nature, the choruses of currawongs and kookaburras were disturbances that didn't allow for any more sleep. Survival became a welcome exhaustion, as the processes involved with providing warmth and preparing food were much more intimate than flicking an air conditioner on or shoving bread into a toaster. Our recipes were simplified with the arrival of a camp oven on our third day, however; the only ingredient needed being 'Food' and, "Chuck it in," the only step required.
Initially intending to participate in absolutely nothing remarkable or strenuous during the entire week, such premeditated goals for complete boredom and nothingness were quickly forgotten. Discovering a track entitled 'The Corker' and embarking as early as possible, the fulfillment of physical activity was further enhanced by the world around us. Peering through the branches as we rose higher and higher, the vastness of the valleys surrounding us became so astoundingly apparent that we almost forgot to absorb the world immediately around us. The canopy above teeming with birdlife, gargantuan stones rising with moss and vines and trees so monstrous that not even the most anti-environmental of deforesters could bear to cut them down, it confounded us to think of what could lay beyond.
Weather-wise, we could not have been more blessed. It is important to note that snow regularly falls in the area and it can become bitterly cold, but we were graced with sunlit mornings, warm days, colorful sunsets and starry nights, with the only rainy night not inconveniencing us one bit. Nevertheless, pack warmly, as the area is known for unpredictable weather.
I should add, too, that electricity in the area is non-existent, and the only way to stay clean is a dip in the chilly (but refreshing) stream beside. This powerlessness and showerlessness, though, only served to contribute to the experience, and by the time we'd arrived and set up, the absence of such facilities was quickly forgotten. An entire week without these comforts may be way too long for some, but for those looking for a wilderness adventure less than three hours away from Sydney, Barrington Tops could not come any closer.