Day 1 (7/17/15), Sydney to Blackheath, 73 miles
We left Sydney today! In the rain…
We headed west on the Great Western Highway into the Blue Mountains which are about 60 miles away and rise to about 4000 feet in elevation.
We were surprised to learn that the highway was closed as we started up the mountains. Not surprisingly, the rain and cold temperatures in Sydney the last few days yielded several inches of snow accumulation at elevation. Apparently, this happens every few years in the Blue Mountains. And, we were lucky enough to experience it!
After the Great Western Highway was reopened, we continued down to a campsite we read about in the Blackheath Glen Reserve of the Megalong Valley. The narrow, windy drive was a bit slippery, but nothing a couple of Californians by way of snow country couldn’t handle, right?
A trio of Germans was not able to handle the conditions. Rounding a snowy corner, they slid to the outside of the curve. The outside of the curve was a steep treed slope. We tried to help by towing them backwards, but they kept sliding further down the slope as we pulled them. So, we all decided to give up and they called a tow truck.
Here is a video of them a few minutes before leaving the road as they passed by us while I filmed the conditions:
Attempting to unstuck them for an hour resulted in driving to the campsite in the dark. This contributed to an interesting drive. In addition to the dark, the added weight of the snow on the eucalyptus trees resulted in big branches that fell onto the roadway. We had to drive through, around, and over them!
Eventually, we made it to a nice little campsite with a babbling brook beside it.
Quite an adventurous first day!