The weather man predicted a -5 degree temperature for Sunday morning, and a terrifying low of zero during the day for Saturday.
That didn’t scare us away.
Instead, we packed the car as we usually would, and went on our merry way to Newnes State Forest nestled in the Blue Mountains.
We went straight to the same camp spot as last time – you know, Home Among the Pines – and set up the swag in a safe little nest of pine trees. A few metres across from us were zillions of fallen trees, ripe for firewood.
While Mark revved up the chainsaw and got chopping among the gumtrees, I carefully made our bed for the evening, started chopping up the veggies for our bush stew, and began heating up the coals before the temperature dropped.
Instead of using the camping barbecue, we decided to cook the meat over the coals, using a metal grate, the camp oven, and the heat of the fire.
For dinner we bought steaks, potatoes, onion, cheese and bacon. The ‘Mark Special’ would be potato, bacon, cheese, and onions cooked in the camp oven until it was a stew, and steak over the coals.
Dinner was cooked and ready to be slurped up within 2hrs. We sat by the fire for a few hours, before calling it quits, and sliding into the swag.
At approximately 3:10am, I felt the temperature drop, and quickly got out of the swag to poke the embers back to life. That way we’d have a fire still burning for sunrise.
When we woke up, we stoked the fire again, and saw it flicker to life just as the sun to rose through the gum trees.
We didn’t find any frost on the car, and our water bottles that we’d left out weren’t frozen at all.
It seems the weather man lied to us. I checked the temperature (with minimal reception) to find it was sitting at around 3 degrees. That’s warm enough for a light button-up, scarf, beanie and warm socks by the fire.
For breakfast we cooked up eggs, bacon, cheese, mushrooms, onion and toasted some turkish bread over the coals.
As we waited for breakfast to cook, we wandered over to a frozen puddle of muddy water to roll rocks across the ice. And pegged a few rocks with almighty force to break the thick sheet of water on top.
The night before, we were playing ice-bowls, knocking rocks into each other over the puddle.
Once we packed up camp, we hopped into the ute and began the drive to Lake Lyell.
Along the way, we stopped off at Newnes Plateau to take a peep at the views below.
The drive to Lake Lyell isn’t far from the city of Lithgow. For a $5 entry fee, you can head through the gates and find a quiet spot to park the car, relax, and do nothing.
Sadie – the dog – came and joined us as we watched her family paddle away in a canoe.
The plan was to sit at Lake Lyell and enjoy a cheese platter – but breakfast was still filling our tummies, so we didn’t have the appetite to eat yet.
We took the turn off to go to Mount Wilson, hoping to find a sunny patch of grass and a nice view. Instead we found a rocky ledge covered by the shade of the trees – not ideal for cheese-plattering.
Instead, we pulled over on the side of the road somewhere in Bilpin, grabbed the camp-chairs, the eski, and the cheese board, and tucked into the platter overlooking someones farm. It If you’ve got good company, cabanossi, and cheese – no matter where you stop, you’ll have a good time.