Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

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From the Mountain Top

by John Morris

 
From the Mountain Top

 
Easter 2012 did not see us heading east but north west. The target was Mt Kaputar National Park. The reason for going was that we had never been there before. We had been many times over the years to the famed Warrumbungle Mountains and had observed Mt Kaputar on the map some 150km north, but that is as much as we had done.

We moved out on Good Friday and traveled north to the Hunter Valley, then west to Singleton, north to Murrurundi and the Great Dividing Range and onto the Western Slopes and Plains at Willow Tree. It was new territory for us from then on. The Kamilaroi Highway took us the rest of the way to Narrabri. The occasional town like Breeza was readily identifiable with the obligatory wheat silo. About 7 hours after leaving home we rolled into the motel at Narrabri.

The roads were generally in reasonable order, smooth surfaced with occasional noisy sections where larger sized gravel had been used for the surfacing layer and mostly 2 lanes only with an occasional overtaking lane. Being in the Easter Holidays traffic volumes were low and driving was comfortable.

It is 56 km from Narrabri to the top of Kaputar. The road is tar sealed for about 50 km, with a rather rough gravel road for the first part of the climb up the range. There were no protective barriers on the gravel road, passing traffic going in the opposite direction was a little nervy at spots.  We walked the last kilometer, a bit of gravel road we wanted to avoid taking the car onto - a 4WD would not have mattered. The view was fantastic. It is said that you can see 10% of the state of NSW from the top. I have not been able to verify the claim, it is highlighted in the tourist literature, but you can sure see a long long long way. The top is 1510 metres above sea level, or just under 5,000 feet. The horizon was hidden in the haze of a late afternoon but what we could see to the southeast - southwest arc was as flat as a pancake with occasional large bumps. Close to the mountain top we had an audience of 3 kangaroos, plus numerous birds.

 
Proof that we got to the top The welcoming committee

Saturday night's rest was interrupted by a wedding party in the next motel (adjacent to ours). Marcia was more disturbed than I. We were happy to be up and away on Sunday morning heading back to the mountain for some walking around the top. Dawson Springs was the base. Here the National Parks have constructed lunch shelters, car parks, accommodation cabins (3) and tar sealed a number of tracks through the mountain top flora. Our day was weather perfect, though it is not uncommon for the tops to be snow dusted in winter we were told. The Dawson Springs nature trail was sealed for nearly all of its 1.4km circuit, the balance was a raised boardwalk over sensitive vegetation areas. We moved off the nature trail to the Bundabulla Circuit which took us to the plateau edge in a number of locations around the plateau. The drop from the edge is pretty near vertical.  There was a smattering of wildflowers along the walks, we would like to come back in spring and see what difference there is in flower quantities. A track led off the circuit through a small stand of snowgums to the Lindsay Rock Tops, an open rocky lava flow area. You could see a long way to the east across the adjacent ranges, nothing like the extensive views to the south and west of the park.

 
Lyndsay Rock Tops The Governor

The last location for the day was at the Governor. This lava plug looks like a molar and was said to be climbable. Parked the car, left the boss with some knitting, then walked  out to the lookout to assess the chances of risking life and limb. It turned out that there was a steel staircase allowing an easy descent to a saddle. On the other side was another steel staircase leading 20 metres up the main plug. At the end of the stairs you had to scramble over rocks on a marked trail - piece of cake. Great views again, and an edge to keep away from as you admired the view.

We had earlier decided to drive to Murwillumbah to drop in on our daughter and family for a day. We had not been cross-country north of Tamworth and looked forward to being modern day explorers. The decision was helped by the northern end of the National Park containing an interesting feature called "Sawn Rocks" which was just off the first section of road heading east. An easy walk from the car park led to the organ piped cliff face about 40 metres high. Where parts of the face had dropped it was easy to see the hexagonal structure of the solid piping.

The run from Sawn Rocks to Inverell took us through a couple of old towns with excellent examples of late 1800's construction. Some of the more modern shops probably constructed in the 1920's or earlier had some excellent examples of lead light glass over the shopfront windows. Inverell was an  impressive town with large modern shopping malls in addition to an extensive older shopping centre. On to Glen Innes and Tenterfield then down to Casino and Kyogle and a winding 75 km run into Murwillumbah. The road between Tenterfield and Casino had one stretch of 33 km of winding road where we were negatively impressed by the number of cars and bikes that would overtake us on blind corners or across double lines.

Tuesday  was a do nothing day and we drove home comfortably on Wednesday.

Mountains provide many personal benefits. On top of Mt Kaputar we were able to breath fresh, clean air. We felt a sense of achievement in getting there and standing on the top of the mountain. The location was awe inspiring. The fact that we could see such a large part of the country from the various lookouts helped us to feel positive about our Australia. Yet, with the potential for man's wish to use the country and resources that would spoil the natural picture we did feel some sense of loss.

Jesus is paced on record as being a mountain user, often to get away from it all. He would spend time to recharge his batteries with communication to our Father God which could be an all night session (Luke 6:12). On one notable occasion Jesus took Peter James and John with him when God the Father wanted to give him special commendation and to allow Moses and Elijah time to encourage him in his difficult role. He took his disciples to the mountains to given them instruction and training. He took to the mountains to avoid the attitudes of the people who wanted to make him a king.  

We have the major mountain role during the movement of the Children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan where God paid a visit to the assembled group and delivered life style recommendations with  the Ten Commandments as the focal point.

Jesus recommended that his disciples on occasion "come apart and rest awhile". He took them out to the lesser inhabited areas, the desert, or the mountains, across the sea by boat to avoid the rush. There was specific intent to take a break.

The Psalmist (46:10) records a heavenly recommendation "Be still, and know that I am God"

Do so and you will be able to claim the promise of the first three verses of the same Psalm, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth be removed, and thought the mountains  be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." Do so and you will have a good chance of avoiding the calamity of the end of time when we will find many great men of the earth as well as your average John Citizen calling for the rocks and mountains to hide them and fall on them to avoid the face of him that "sitteth on the throne" (Rev 6:14-16).

 
This article and the pictures it contains are Copyright © 2012 by John L Morris.  Used by permission.

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 50 - December 2012 / January 2013 > From the Mountain Top (by John Morris)