The Hunter range, Sheepskin hut, and Commission Road

Trip Report – Sheepskin Hut
Saturday 18th May 2019

What better way to start a TRAX trip than an egg and bacon roll and fresh coffee at Dave’s on Putty Road?

Trip Report – Sheepskin Hut
Saturday 18th May 2019

The first thing that was spotted on the morning of Saturday 18th June 2019, was Ron Owen’s Pajero parked in front of Dave Thurston’s handmade BBQ and outdoor café a bit north of the half way point of Putty Road. It appeared that Ron forgot to have breakfast before he left home and was eager to get in early for one of Dave’s now famous egg and bacon rolls.

  

Rob Drummond, with daughters Lily and Kira, arrived soon after in the family Patrol and ordered the aforesaid necessities to await the arrival of the rest of the members for the TRAX trip to Sheepskin Hut in the Hunter Range sandwiched between Wollemi and Yengo National Parks. In due course Shane, Kylie, Joel, Isabel and Olivia arrived in the Beatson Patrol; Neil Flower in his trusty Discovery carrying Jon Beuman and Tate Hart, Neil’s grandson; our trip leader Rob Kelly with Jacqui arrived in their Pajero Sport.

Dave Thurston bought the burnt out fuel stop nearly 10 years ago and is currently rebuilding the shell, but at the same time, he has continued to work on his favourite ‘hobbies’ of working with steel and wood. The handmade cooker that he uses for his egg and bacon rolls is testament for his skill and artwork which you can almost taste in the result! He also practices these skills and produces a range of post boxes and other garden knick-knacks. After a briefing by Rob K, advising us of what to expect, we headed north from ‘Wo-man” on Putty Road to the left turn onto Commission Road just south of Howes Valley.

After turning onto Commission Road we soon found that there was a good amount of dust which made traveling in convoy more ‘strung out’ and the wiser option than it would if conditions were not as dry. It seems that no matter where you drive these days, everything is dry and the green you see here and there is almost an illusion, covering the underlying, ongoing drought.

The drive was mainly along ridges and you could see glimpses of the ranges disappearing into the distance to the south and north. It’s a shame the trees get in the way of such a good view! After stopping off to look at an overhanging sandstone cave which had numerous wasps nests attached to its roof, we continued for about half an hour to a hairpin curve where we had a belated morning tea. After yummy sustenance, we meandered the last 15kms along the easy grade track to Sheepskin Hut. The area immediately surrounding the ‘Hut’ is well suited to camping with a pit toilet and a table and bench set up with a camp spot further down at creek level. The points of interest are two iron clad structures in original condition giving an insight into how life might have been when sheep were run throughout the area. Evidence exists of the leathers and other artefacts still in the same positions as when left there before the original workers vacated the area.

After a hearty lunch and good fellowship, we returned along the same route towards Putty Road, however Rob D and Shane decided to spice the afternoon up a bit and tried to drive along a track that followed the powerlines down a hill. The view from the top was tops! A steep drop off stopped them in their tracks, deciding an intact vehicle a more desirable outcome for the afternoon’s endeavours, they reversed the route and joined the others for some afternoon tea at the bottom of the hill. It was nearly dark when we gathered just before hitting Putty Road and said our goodbyes and headed our various ways to home. A good day out and the promise of another trip, a weekend would be best, to loop back past Gospers Mountain and onto the Putty Road, or head west towards Olinda.

Who’s coming, I mean leading?
Rob D

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