|The canyon log is my chronological account of the various canyon
trips that I have been fortunate enough to partake, and in some cases,
Sydney is blessed with an abundance of rugged bush land less than two
hours drive away, and in this bush land lie some of the most pristine and
delicate environments that can be found.
These trips are 'canyon' trips which involves starting high in the range and following a creek or stream as it carves it's way down to the river valley. The Kanangra canyons are generally fairly open and following these is an exercise in abseiling and scrambling. The beauty of this area is the panoramic views along the Kanangra Walls and valleys. The incredible ruggedness of the area.
Blue Mountains canyons like Claustral, cut deep into the sandstone below them and over time have worn channels and gutters, deep enough that direct sunlight never reaches the bottom. Walking and swimming through these is a magical tour through a ferny green wonderland. A visit to the lost planet.
I have kept these notes as a reminder to myself of the individual trips, as well as to provide 'some' useful information for following excursions, or to supply to others planning similar outings.
As I have been hap-hazardly adding pictures lately, these pages are best viewed at a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels !
Trip 25 Fortress Ck Canyon
18th Feb 2001
Time (approx.) : 4 hrs
Other Sources of information on this area : Canyons Near Sydney (Rick Jamieson)
Just another bloody beautiful day in the mountains!
Rossco was a little hesitant to come and join me on this one, due to minor knee and hip problems from some aggressive surfing, but
after a little perserverance and examining the map and the description in minute detail, we both decided this was probably not going to be an ardouse day ! (We were right!).
The leisurely drive from Palm Beach to Leura to about 2 hours and we found the parking area on the Mt Hay Rd without difficulty. There were already a couple of cars there when we arrived late in the morning.
As the canyon description had called for swims, we had packed our wetties and were prepared to use'em if required. Although it seemed unlikley on such a nice day.
Following the old vehicle track up to the ridge we were treated to some great views of the surrounding valleys and even glimpsed the return track as it wound its way down from the ridge top.
The usual track in to the canyon is fairly obviouse and ends up squelching it's way through boggy grasslands to join the creek and begin it's downwards journey. Other ways in would be from the Lockleys Pylon track or even by bashing down the gully immediatley next to the car park if you're really keen for some hard-assed scrub-drudgery.
Due to the heat of the day we were quite pleased to eventually reach the cool shadows of the creek. The creek is very pretty in spots, with a couple of interesting tributaries. In a couple of places the creek winds underneath quite descent overhangs and it was noticably chilly out of the sun. We both agreed that although the water wasn't freezing, it was nice to have the thermal protection from the wetsuits on the legs.
A couple of spots get quite narrow and two of these provide an excellent opportunity for small jumps. The 2nd of these is just beyond a short boulder scramble and drops nicley into a deep pool follwed by a short swim. The canyon opens up again for a while and the mode is reasonably open walking beside or in the creek. The last long swim is through a particularly steep and narrow section which feels quite primeval as you slowly and quietly wind your way between the dark verticle rock on either side.
Not long after this we reached the final drop, which is equiped with an abseil chain on the left hand side. The guide suggests this drop can be jumped by the brave or foolhardy, however We felt we were niether on this occasion, and donned harnesses for the 6m abseil.
We were caught up from behind by another group at this point, and they offered use of their rope which we accepted, as it meant we could rap down and rack off straight away, and they didn't have to wait for us to pull down our rope and clear off. One of their guys was keen to jump however... So we stuck around to watch.
It was a spectacular jump. It IS doable !
The canyon opens up again after this last pool and the last few minutes are spent rock hopping through a giant boulder pile,
framed by the canyon walls towering above as orange bluffs on both sides, creating a giant 'window' frame
through which a most spectacular view can be seen.
The creek emerges from the boulder pile a short distance from the edge of the cliff, on a large flat rock platform, which is an ideal spot to lunch and dry off. Sitting quietly enjoying the view, we are soon joined by the locals who seem to know we have food, but soon scamper off again as the group behind us closes in.
I don't think there are many canyons that have such a magnificent end point for a lunch spot.
Getting back is no probelm.
Walking back up through the rockpile, the track up and out is easily found on the right.
10 minutes or so of huffing and puffings gets you up onto the ridgeline again. 360 degree views become the norm as you wind you way back to the old vehicle track.
An endless sea of orange rock faces in just about every direction.
The track passes under a small crag just at the top of the ridge which has a couple of fixed hangers in it. (Climbing routes of olde ?) ... If anyone know about these please drop me a note ... I'm curiouse !
Much of the walk back is level or undulating, and the final downhill section to the car is welcome, especially if it's a warm sunny day.