|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 !
Serendipity (Honeywell crew)
18th May 2002
Time (approx.) : 6hrs
Other Sources of information on this area : Canyons Near Sydney (Rick Jamieson)
"No problem!" was the chourused reply.
Andrew and I drove out to Mt Wilson the previous night and loitered in the warmth and luxury of Andrews dad's house up there, thus negating the need for an alpine start to meet the others. Filled with a hearty warm breakfast, we sauntered (in the car) the several hundred meters from the house to the fire brigade shed and found a shivering group waiting for us, keen with anticipation (or was that 'cold').
I needed to pee, but the door to the toilets at the shed was locked, and there was gear to sort anyway, and we needed to get going. I can do this before we get into the canyon anyway ! (Kicking myself for not having gone before).
Packed and off down the fire trail I find myself thinking back to doing this trip with Patty and Barry about eight weeks ago. What a difference ! It was warm back then ... and the area was 'packed' with keen canyoners all vying to get going. In contrast, today was COLD ! No-one around but us.
Both times I've done this canyon before, I've come in from completley different ways. Today I was determined to use the way in Barry had shown me before, but we would exit downstream. That, as it was, was the plan! We made a quick car shuffle to leave one car at the campground for the exit, and off we went.
We found the track in without difficulty, but then, with the urge to pee triggering my aluminium fried memory defects to kick in, I called a halt after only a couple of minutes heading down the correct track, and explained that it all looked wrong to me, and we were probably on the wrong track and we need to turn around and go back up ... back up the hill onto the road again, and so the search began. Back and forth for about an hour until we had exhausted all the wrong possibilities and were left with only one conclusion.
Back on target now I was keen to find the good boulder and tree Barry had used for abseil practice. Alas, unable to see the forrest for the trees, I walked right past it and kept going. (I really need to pee!) We found and used a suitable tree and rock further on (and higher up) and quickly verified everyone could do this with little or no difficulty.
Training time over, time to do it for real. Into the canyon we plunged and to my surprise, we found two additional small abseils 'before' the big on to get in. Rigging the 2nd of these I was reminded of my pressing need which by now had taken a new form. Oops .. no time for that now. Gonna have to wait for the walk out.
Being a bit short of ropes on this trip I had elected to use my aging climbing rope,
theorising that the abseils are straight forward...
Now I have two much shorter aging climbing ropes. (roped bouldering anyone ?).
It's actually quite a nice feeling knowing you're the only group in the canyon. The knowledge seems to bring an additional kind of peace to the place. A serenity of isolation. The walk down the creek and canyon alternated between chilly wades and quick sprints along the banks until the next two abseils and short swims.
Once again I found myself looking at the possibility of jumping the second one (is this becomming an obsession ?)... Not this time though ! (Geeze I need a good poo!)
This abseil caught a few of the guys off guard as they plunged into the waterfall and copp'ed a facefull on the way. Ben eased himself over the edge and cautiously lowered down into the flow. A splutter and a head shake later and it was all over, too fast and too late !
[wit] "Ben... Your glasses"
[ben] " OhNo! My Glasses "
[wit] "Andrew, Sit on the water fall ! make like a plug!"
[Andrew] "What ?!? ... err OK, Like this ?"
An erie silence descended as the waterfall slowed to a trickle ... (What does he do with the build up ?).
Groping about in the water under Ben I found metal and promptly pulled out ... someones '8 ... Bugger !
A second grope and I couldn't belive my luck. A pair of glasses. (I'd have killed Ben if he'd said they weren't his).
The last abseil we all elected to jump. Now this is probably the worst executed jump-in I've ever done ! I think the cold was starting to get to me. (or was it the build-up inside?). Richard took a masive jump. (Very impressive !) ...
Lunch and a drink at the junction was very welcome and gave us all a brief chance to warm up slightly. All we had left to do now was the cold cold cold downstream exit ...
After a few chilly swims and paddles I discovered that my wetsuit was completely unziped at the back. (I never did it up at the start, as we were all still warm from the walking at that point). Doh! #3 I think ...
A quick pull and all was warm and well again ... Andrew was visibly fading by now, definitley from the cold. Banter in the group was a little subdued and getting out was foremost on our minds. The boulder choke was such a welcome sight (because I knew there was only a couple of hundred meters left to go) ... Finaly! The exit ! Slow stumbling upwards eventually lead to bodies warming up again and soon we were stripping off the rubber suits and making for the top, racing the fading sunlight.
I love the track back to the campground, but jeeze... On a day like today, it just goes on and on and on ... By the time we finnished the car shuffle back to the shed, it was pretty much dark. The place was still deserted and I still needed a complete system dump !
Why do we do this ?
Because it's FUN !