|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 !
Waterfall of Moss , Mt Wilson
Saturday 4th April 2003
Vert. Elev: 150m (approx.)
Distance : 4km (approx.)
Time : 6 hrs (aprox.)
Comments: A lovley small canyon, joining the majestic Wollangambi !
Ropes: 1 x 60m
Other Sources of information on this area :
In reality, the further we drove into the mountains, the less rain appeared to have fallen over night, and judging by the river level and flow, we guessed that the rain had been mostly confined to the our costal home.
We had a very welcome late start from the office, leaving at around 06:00 in the mighty wagon. Heading up the M2(?) the phone rang. "Who on earth could that be this early !?" ...
Geoff and Richard on the other end... "Where are you guys going today? Still heading to Waterfall of Moss ?".
They too were heading up and due to arrive about the same time as us. Their destination for the day being lower Bell Ck. We promised to meet up at the fire brigade shed before starting.
The bakery at Richmond was still asleep as we slid through, White Stipes making way for the Dirty Three in the CD player.
It's great driving around early in the morning, there's just no traffic! Last week was the last week of Daylight Savings, so we kind of got used to early starts and driving in the dark. Today we're a little later than normal, and the sun is well high as we scoot along the freeway. It feels as if we're 'wasting' the daylight.
Mt Wilson seems deserted as we drive past the fire brigade shed (no Geoff and Richard there yet), and on to the campground. There is a van parked next to the road and a couple of cars and tents at the back of the campground, but all is silent.
With plentyof time up our sleeves, we head back up the the fire brigade shed to wait for Geoff and Richard, and make use of the err.. 'facilities'. I emerge from the small room, relieved and energised, to find the lad's have just arrived and cheerful morning greetings are being dispensed all round.
We hatch a plan to leave a message for them when we leave and bid them adieu, climbing back into the car one last time to roll down to the campground again and get ourselves going.
It's still quiet as we quickly gear up. Niot much needed for this one. Patrick has the 60m and I throw my 1st aid kit into my drybag. Ben's got one in his too so we're more than adequatley covered. Harnesses and wetsuits dissapear into packs and we lock the car and start walking up the wide track at 08:10.
As usuall, I can't help but look about through the forrest on both sides of us as we walk. It's a beautifull place. The morning sun is out and shining, the air is cool and the ground has a permanant damp feel to it. In my mind I remember the exit up here with Ed, ater completeing Wollangambi #1 and #2 together, as part of a 40hr famine challenge. Can you spell "exhaustion" ? A lesson well learned that day and I'm forever in Ed's debt for never letting up on me, and convincing me, not to give up but to get out!
I also remeber this same trip with Geoff, Sean, Ed and Debbie. I'm looking forward to the cool twisty archway and the neat abseils that punctuate this canyon. (Bad memeories of a really cold swim also pervade. Sean and I opted to do this without wetsuits last time. This time I'm older and wiser)!
Our walk down to the river take us about an hour, and we decide to put wetsuits on before swimming across the river. It's such a beautifull spot. So quiet and serene, it seems a shame to break the surface of the sluggish water before us and destroy the shimmering reflections. Yabbies wander about their buisness in the deep clear pool, unaware and uncaring that their home is about to become invaded briefly by our noise and size.
Margot goes first and claims the water to be fine. Clambering out to the farthest rock I jump after her and race ger to the bank opposite. Ben wades in carefully and Patrick follows from the rock. From here a short scramble up a wet muddy climb gains a steep narrow gully.
The climb has a fixed rope left by benefactors unknown, but is short and easy, just wet and greasy. beware of trusting the tree roots, especially low down. They are wet and weak. I was a little dissapointed to see a large scoop in the sandstone has now worn down low as the 'first step' up. I wonder if this is 'natural wear' or if it has been chipped.
The track up the gully is fairly obvious but also much less used than many other canyon approach and exit track. A sign that this canyon quite likley is only recently starting to get regular traffic. Following the track is simple. Note though,, at one point the track heads 'right', away from the canyon, along the base of a cliff. At the turn there is a very well worn track leading Left. Probably wee worn because everyone who walks it, ends up walking back, (ie, gets twice the traffic!).
Following the real track to the right and up again it eventually heads back away from the Wollangambi, traversing just below the top of the ridge and eventually topping out. Lots of small indistinct tracks wander about on the left hand side of the ridge, all heading towards the eventuall head of the creek leading back down into Waterfall of Moss.
The top part of the creek is thick with vegitation, while the creek itself is not much more than a narrow gutter. Care should be taken as you walk along that you don't suddenly step over a drop or hole, unsighted below the ferns at your feet. The first abseil is froma tree on the left and drops imediatley about 8-10m with an overhang to boot. As I said. Be carefull where you walk. If walking inside the creek itself this drop appears quite suddenly.
After the fist abseil you can regroup under the overhang, in a beautiful tiny ampitheater, before moving down the creek to the next abseil. This second abseil can be a long one, hence our 60m rope. There is plenty of evidence of other parties entering from belays too early or using shorter ropes requiring a second belay further down. Although we found slings at the gead of the drop, we decided to travers around on the left to a large shelf further along. The view from here gives you a much better appreciation of where we are heading. Slings around the base of a large gum indicate this is also a popular belay. The abseil from here is a straight forward drop down the dry rock face, into a gutter, and then carfully, still on the rope, negotiate another 15m or so of slippery dip like drops, emerging through an archway in the rock above one last steep chute. Our 60m rope reached this point comfortably and there are plenty of of stout belay here for the final pitch. We found the pool at the base of this drop was pretty dry. A stark contrast to the last time we were here, and another reminder of the changable water levels.
Another gully comes in from above here making for a reasonably large junction point, however the canyon itself continues in it's own compact manner. A short way on the walls definitley begin to get closer together, steeper and taller as the 'slot' begins to take form around us.
The second half of the canyon has a different feel it. Darker and more verticle. The gaps between the abseils are level but short and the pitches themselves are overhangs from neat chockstones or blocks. A couple of the belays are well back from the edge, so be aware of your rope stretch as you go over. We found the landings in all of the pools below to be quite shallow. Again, this would appear to be fairly changable. I rememeber Sean and I wading around quite deep at times, to pull ropes down.
Ben found a small tree frog just before the 2nd last drop !
Back at the junction to the Wollangambi, we also found a small snake, curled up in the base of an uprooted tree. Obviously pissed off at being disturbed by myself as I lent on him and put my hand over him as I looped the rope ends up to make them easy to find in a few minutes time. I didn't see him till after Margot had removed the rope. (and Margo HATES snakes!)...
We dispatched the 200m swim in two parts with a nice warm ankle deep wade in the middle. The day just hasn't been long or hard enough yet ! Re-grouping back at the exit point again we head off up the exit track for about 10 minutes to gain the first sunny ledges and stop there to strip off our rubber and dry off. Lunch and chatt, dry clothing and some drinks made this a great way of breaking the walk back.
With the sun mostly out we managed to dry much of our wet stuff before finnishing food and re-packing for the remainder of the pleasant walk out. Ben set the pace and pausing only briefly to listen to and wonder at some music wafting over to us on the breeze, we arrived back at the car before 14:30 !!!
The campground was a much busier place now and much to everyones annoyance, there was a bus charging his breaks or something .. What a noise. As we changed and stowed gear into the car a group os walkers came over and asked if we knew where the 'Catherdral of Ferns' was. Guessing a little we, sent them up the track. Shame the severe weater over summer has wreaked as much damadge as it has. The 'Cathedral' is a bit sparse at present. Still , it's a nice walk !
More food and coffee were noe the order of the day and we made all speed to Blackheath (and the Wattle). I must say I used to really like the Wattle, it's staff, food and atmosphere. I don't much care for the folk singer who seems to live in the front window these days. Nothing against him persoanlly. He's just too loud and intrusive for that small a venue. It's a bit much having to compete volume wise when trying to chat with your friends over the food and coffee you've just bought. After all, we the customers, frequent the caffe for vitals, not a virtuoso ...
Geoff and Richard caught up with us as well here and we got the scoop of their trip down Bowens. Sounds absoultly fab ! I've never ctually done a li-lo trip with a li-lo ... This could be the next one I think !