Thursday, 24 April 2014

Destination Nangar

I'd never heard of it either.  Nangar National Park lies half way between Orange and Forbes, a reasonable distance from Sydney to constitute a mini Easter escape.  Friday arvo we packed in 1 hr 20 min.  One of our most efficient throw-togethers ever.  But considering we were taking bikes, binoculars and camping gear something was bound to go wrong.  Before even getting out of the street I realised that camping in only thongs was not going to be pleasant.  We arrived in Orange just after sundown and checked into a motel only a short stroll from the local Irish pub which equated to dinner on a night where most establishments were closed.

Saturday morning we hit the Kinross State Forest XC mtb circuit where Anita discovered that, like me, by avoiding multiple A-lines she too could ride what is a terrifically crafted undulating circuit, especially the white-knuckle descent back to transition.  The bike fix out of the way we spent the rest of the day breakfasting for lunch and filling out the all important bird list.  On what turned out to be a long-winded approach to Nangar we unwittingly hit "finch-avenue", adding Zebra and Double-bar to the Red-browed and KA Plum-headed we’d already bagged at a dilapidated farm house, where we also ticked White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (only the second time we've ticked the latter two).

Nangar was gained, once again, just as the sun dipped.  What a terrific place.  Like a mini version of the Warrumbungles, albeit lacking the majesty of the volcanic plugs.  But a similar distance west, similar lumpy terrain, and similar cypress-dominated arid vegetation.  That said, the country was so unbelievably green all the way west from the Bluies you could have been in Europe!  Similar to the "bungles" but much better camping.  We picked out a bend in the creek all to ourselves and pitched the tent on lush turf next to a partially stocked fireplace.  The fact that my Thermarest seemed not to have made the trip didn't dampen my spirits, as a ripper campfire was soon going, followed by excellent stodge and booze.  It’s been far too long between bush camps.  

A predictably crap night (for me at least) was followed by a "pleasant" ride to the summit of Mt Nangar.  This is what the information board suggested.  I can only surmise that the author had not actually attempted such a feat.  Although only a 24 km return trip it was an unrelenting roller coaster experience on loose gravel.  "Rough" 4WD track can mean one of two things;  massive sump-rupturing pot holes, or mega loose and steep inclines.  It was the latter in spades, with pinch climbs neither of us could clean.  But the summit view was terrific, especially the Wedge-tails making a fly by, and the return trip was significantly easier than the ascent.  

Given the Thermarest situation we eschewed another night in the frost and headed back to Orange, but not before birding the Back Yamma forest (Red-capped Robin, Jacky winter and Whiteface) and dropping by Forbes and Parkes before heading east.  After our final night in Orange we again hit the trails of Kinross before setting sail for the big smoke complete with mega traffic jam at the bottom end of the Bell's line, which required a couple of bypasses, including a tour of the Pit Town turf farms. 

The twitch total came in at 109, although Nangar and Back Yamma are sure to throw up a few more dry country specialists if afforded a bit more time.  Well worth another look methinks.

 Fork-tailed Kite
 Double-Barred Finch

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