Serendipitous moments

25-01-2019

Madie, Gabbie and meeeeee

Anyone up to squeezing in a Friday night canyon trip prior to the long weekend?

Ahhhhh, Hell yes.

And so I find myself once again following these two down a fire trail looking for adventure

We drop into the top section on dusk

it was a glorious evening

We reach the canyon proper just as the light is starting to fade and we decide to suit up and wait for full darkness. The night was warm, we lay in the creek talking about past experiences and future goals.

But then it’s time to drop in and join the glowworms

And just soak in the ambience
They always remind me of an Ani Difranco song. Tonight more so than usual

And then true to it’s name Serendipity strikes this shot was a complete fluke I had no idea Gabbie was in the shot and Madie had no idea I was shooting when she turned her red light on.

We spent so long in the canyon standing still, moving a bit, lights out, sit down, lay here,look up… we start to get cold even with the wetsuits and so we drag ourselves away and scramble out.

Just around the corner a warm breeze drifts up to kiss the canyon wall and we spend time drying off under moonlight looking for shooting stars. The banter has died down but eventually back up the hill we must go

Party Size: 3 all experienced

Time: 5.5hrs with lots of time just standing/sitting/laying taking it all in

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Bridge canyon

AKA Steep Creek

Beauties and the Beast in the Bungleboori boondocks

12/01/2019

Me, Madie and Gabby

I’ve never given Steep Creek much thought but Kent talked up Bridge canyon as a great trip. Took me a bit to realise they were the same thing.

Anyhoo another trip out to this part of the world was high on my wish list for this year and me and Madie had started talking about doing it even before we had finished last weekends trip in Twilight Canyon.

I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to fit it in but then my weekend freed up and Mandy granted me a leave pass…

You want to do it this weekend? It was like Wednesday morning.

Hell yes!

Some last minute invites were sent out. We weren’t sure we’d get any takers with so late notice but Gabby jumped at the chance.

Some off the cuff planning was done.

The rest of the week saw afternoon storms roll through including a big one Friday that just seemed to keep coming. It made me a little nervous about the camp but the worse Fridays storm got the better the revised weather forecast for Saturday became. In the end the weather and water levels were near on perfect

Keen as beans for an awesome weekend in nature

It’s amazing how quick a long walk in can go with good company, a bit of banter and high expectations of what you are going to find. With just a small hickup in navigation that was easily corrected we arrived at the bag drop where we decided to stash the camp gear before spending the rest of the day exploring Bridge and Bjelkes Mind Canyons.

We make our way down to the start of the canyon don our wetsuits and scramble down.

The chamber that waits below is spectacular.

Up there with Dalpura for one of the prettiest starts to a canyon
©Madie

©Gabby
Madie enjoying the cool water

But then it opens out and it’s a long creek walk, scrambling over boulders with a few interesting abseils

It was pretty but not canyoning Wow

Madie in the “Steep creek”

It seemed like we we getting very close to the junction with the Bungleboori and I was starting to wonder what Kent saw in this trip and then the creek dropped into this

©Gabby
And things took a turn towards amazing

Madie checking to see if a tunnel like cave might go and provide me with an easier way down ©Gabby
Darlene dubbed this photo The Dragons Eye
The girls in the Dragons Eye tunnel

Abseiling. Are we doing it right
Do you reckon Gabby is enjoying herself? ©Madie

Orgasmic
Madie under the pump
Gabby into the hole

And then it opens out and we have one more abseil before we reach the bungleboori. We spend a bit of time backing up the anchor which was a large rotten tree that felt like crumbling paper.

We find a sunny rock in the bungleboori for a bit of lunch. I think we need to go down stream a bit but the going is difficult and Madie finds a way to scramble out onto the bank, stumbling across a faint exit track by chance.

We follow it up through the first cliff line and then make our way around for the second canyon of the day

Continued on  Bjelkes Mind

*March 2019 I am once again participating in the Wests Cycle Classic to raise money for the Westpac rescue helicopter. If you enjoy my blog or just want to help this great cause think about making a small donation

Bjelke’s Mind Canyon

12/01/2019

Gabby, Madie and me

Continued from Bridge Canyon

Former Qld premier Joe Bjelke-Peterson was renown for being narrow minded, whether that was straight and narrow or narrow and twisted is neither here nor there but his name sake canyon is one I’ve had on my radar for years.

Anyhoo, armed with some tips from Kent it was surprisingly quick and easy to follow the contour around from the pass out of the Bungleboori and before we knew it we had entered the creek smack bang on where it dropped into the canyon

Gabby in a fabulously narrow section of canyon
Madie
It looked like it opened up just down stream and I remarked to the girls that I hoped there wasn’t sections up stream that we’d missed

But the canyon dropped and twisted and dropped again

I’m a dainty little rope twirler ©Madie
Each drop seemed to get narrower, this one had me wandering if I’d fit
and the canyon was just stunning

And then Madie found a cave full of glow worms

We sat in complete darkness, even Madie was silent… Without a tripod I wasn’t sure how the camera would go picking them up but had a try. Bloody flash went off.

Your flash will turn them off! Madie swings a playfull elbow at me in the dark. It connects with my Crittr, driving it into my crittrs…. Some deep breaths were needed…

©Madie

Back at the Bungleboori and we fight our way upstream to the exit

The river had a bit of flow after Fridays storms

And then it was up hill to some stunning views over the Wollangambe Wilderness

Gabby admiring the view

Madie escaping from her cave


Ecstatic after a great day of canyoning

and then it was an easy but longish walk up the ridge and back down to collect the camp gear. We opted to exchange it for the canyon gear, hanging wetsuits, ropes and harness in a tree to dry. this saved us carting it all into the camp cave only to carry it back out tomorrow.

At camp we change into dry clothes and settle in for an evening of relaxation and banter. Gabby had carted in a feast, no idea how she managed to fit it all into her pack but it was awesome.

I wonder if there are glowworms in the end of Bubblebath, asked someone after the sun had set. Let’s go for a look.

Again we sat there in silence but this time we had no need to push on. Never have I ever sat for so long with nothing but a constellation of glowworms to break the darkness.

Madie declared a rule: no torches, no flashes. and we sat there admiring the worms in all our glory.

A magical experience.

Sometime later the torches came back on and we made our way out to get some sleep and prepare for the next day

Continued with Bridge Canyon

*March 2019 I am once again participating in the Wests Cycle Classic to raise money for the Westpac rescue helicopter. If you enjoy my blog or just want to help this great cause think about making a small donation

Bubblebath Canyon

Originally called Froth and Bubble canyon “Bubble Bath” seems to be the name that has stuck.

13/01/2019

Madie, Gabbie and me

Continued from Bjelkes Mind Canyon

After a great night nestled in the amazing over hang looking out at the milkyway we were all up bright and early but took our time with breakfast and packing up camp before making our way up to once again exchange the camp gear for the canyon gear.

I hadn’t given Bubblebath much thought, I just tagged it on to the trip as it was suppose to be short and we were out there and sounded like it might be a cruisey way to start the day before the walk out . I would never had thought it would turn out to be the highlight of the trip.
By the end we were all frothin on it.

The Bubble Bath.

Madie dropping in

It started pleasant enough, just what I was thinking a nice little canyon, nothing spectacular but nice

Madie through the Arch window. …Gabby


There were lots of laughs on this trip
so many laughs

Gabby descending into a great bit of canyon

As I said never would I ever have guessed BubbleBath would be a highlight but Fridays rain combined with a slightly cooler day gave it a great atmosphere.

This sun beam would come through super strong, disappear then just as we put the cameras down to move on it would come back even better

©Madie
©Madie

There were some stunningly beautiful sections of slot in this canyon

Some really beautiful bits got put on display

Gabby admiring the beams ©Madie
Me in awe ©Madie
Your’s truly suffering a serious case of super stoke ©Madie

If possible the end of the canyon got even more stunning, so much so it was at times hard to look away. It really was enchanting. Unfortunately my camera was out of battery, I was probably too mesmerised to get photos anyway.

As they say all good things must come to an end and so it was back up the hill to collect the camp gear and off for the long walk out.

Such an awesome trip. 2hrs into the walk out and we’re still all smiles ©Madie

Party size: 3, all experienced

Time:

Day 1. Car- Bridge – Bjelkes Mind – Camp Cave 12hrs not rushing but not dawldling either

Day 2. Camp Cave BubbleBath to Car 7hrs 15 min, relaxed pace lots of photofaffing and posing for cameras

Surround your self with exceptional people. Experience exceptional things

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*March 2019 I am once again participating in the Wests Cycle Classic to raise money for the Westpac rescue helicopter. If you enjoy my blog or just want to help this great cause think about making a small donation

Imlay Canyonfire long term review

OK so I’ve been using this rope for a while now and T2 gave me a gentle nudge on https://canyoning.org.au to do the long term review I had promised on my original review so here it is.

I like them.

I like them so much I bought more in different lengths

Oh, you want some thing more substantial. OK

So a quick count up say’s I’ve used the original rope in over 50 canyons. Without thinking too much on it I’d have a conservative guestimate of an average of 3 drops and 4 people per trip that’s at least 600 descents on the rope.

So how’s it holding up?

Pretty bloody good to be honest. There is one bit where the sheath is a bit fluffy from someone taking a swinger and it dragging across a rock but all in all it still looks new.

The one bit of the sheath that is showing a bit of abuse

Feel: My original impression was the rope had a wirey feel and while it does soften a bit with use it still has a wirey feel. The newer one is less wirey (I believe Tom changed his weave slightly) but they are still wirey compared to other static ropes.

Handling: I also said it felt like it may be prone to tangles and knotts. This simply hasn’t been the case. It’s been pretty faultless and needs no more care on throw or pull down than any other rope.

They can be a bit hot on the hands when dry but I’ve recently retired by 20yr old Kong Robot and have been using a Crittr which has better control on skinny ropes, especially when going single rope and so I’m back to not wearing gloves.

Descent: On descent the rope feels great, some ropes I’ve used in the last few years feel like you are abseiling on a dynamic rope with the rope stretching as you get on and off ledges and juttering on over hung descents. Not so with the Imlay, no bobbing up and down, no juttering, just smooth descents

Water absorption: This is the other thing I love about these ropes. The tight weave just doesn’t seem to soak up water making them nice and light for the walk out without relying on stretchy waterproof/floating fibres.

Final Thoughts: So that’s it I’m more than happy with the Imlay and while I’ve had the chance to try a lot of other ropes while heading out with a few different groups I’m yet to try anything that would have me veering away from this rope in future purchases.

Cost: Imlay now has a local distributor and you can pick up the canyon fire for around $3.99/m

Specs: Imlay lists the rope specs as

ModelRated StrengthWeight grams/meterWeight lbs/100 feetWeight lbs/200 feet
8.3mm Canyon Fire4100 lbF57.3 g/m3.85 lbs/100ft7.70 lbs/200ft

The Blue water 8mm Canyon rope is lighter at 40g/m and has a higher tensile strength at 5000lbf(2.2kn) but it is $150 more expensive for a 60m rope.

Colours: Imlay has expanded the colour choice a bit. I’m not fussed on colours but it is handy to easily differentiate your different length ropes

canyonfire
Rope brand new out of box
Rope after an estimated 600 descents

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*March 2019 I am once again participating in the Wests Cycle Classic to raise money for the Westpac rescue helicopter. If you enjoy my blog or just want to help this great cause think about making a small donation

Twilight Canyon

06/01/2019

Madie, Mark, Jen, Gibbo, Steve, Sterlo and meeeee

We’d just finished an epic day canyoning at Glen Davis. It had been a big day in scorching heat, we were driving home exhausted.

Oh course we started planning our next trip.

I wouldn’t mind doing Twilight some time this season says I.

Wanna do it next weekend replied Madie

Wheels were set in motion…

Anyhoo a ragtag group of adventurous folk meet up in the camp ground, the plan is to ride our bikes down the Wolgan river maintenance trail then stash the bikes and find a way up the hill. A bit of asking around had us confident our pass was viable and the bikes, in theory would make the haul down and back up the river faster, if not easier.

The ride down was fairly non-eventful and we were soon stashing bikes. The heat had already kicked in and Mark took a slight detour to lay in the river to cool off.

We follow a steep ridge littered with loose scree to the base of the mighty Wolgan cliffline. Breaching the cliff was surprisingly easy. Our original plan had been to scramble out onto the tops, across a ridge to descend into the top of the canyon. With the sun blazing overhead we opted to stay in a shady gully and found this gave us a relatively easy way onto the halfway ledge that runs above the canyon all the way up to the start.

After a hot haul in this pool was so welcome

Mark cooling off, Sterlo dropping in with Steve on belay while Madie checks out the cave
the top section reminds me a bit of sheepdip canyon
But then the walls close in

and it drops into a stunning slot

The jump through the arch was a definite highlight

And then the canyon opens up. A short bit of boulder hopping and we scramble out onto the ridge for an easy walk back to the bikes and hence back to the cars

Wanna sit in the river and drink beer? Oh shit yeah!
All canyon trips should finish like this

Party size: 7: 6 experienced 1 semi experienced

Time: I did 7hrs car to car relaxed pace with a bit of laying in the river prior to the ride out but Steve busted a deraileur so Gibbo had to do some bush mechanics to convert it to single speed and I rode back down to assist with carting packs once they had it going so the group did 8hrs total

Live your life governed by a compass, not a clock:- -Stephen Covey

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*March 2019 I am once again participating in the Wests Cycle Classic to raise money for the Westpac rescue helicopter. If you enjoy my blog or just want to help this great cause think about making a small donation

Mares Forest Creek for NYD

01/01/2019

So for the past few years we’ve been getting together with family and friends to do a cruizy float through canyon as a recovery on New Years Day. This year Mares Forest Creek was suggested. It’s a long drive for a short canyon but it is really beautiful and the Limestone and marble walls are so different from anything in the Blue Mtns

Anyhoo, we meet at the car park at a respectable 11am and wander over the hill and into the bottom of the canyon then make our way up stream

Ed was happy with his boat
The water temp was lovely. I didn’t bother with a wetsuit and strong swimmers could get away without flatation

There is a fair bit of portage thou the boulder fields aren’t as complicated as the popular Wollangambe sections
Mandy enjoying the float
At the top of the canyon we have a bit of fun jumping off rocks
Selfie time

Whitewater Rockmaster

Party Size: 13

Time: 4hr car to car relaxing out of the heat

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*March 2019 I am once again participating in the Wests Cycle Classic to raise money for the Westpac rescue helicopter. If you enjoy my blog or just want to help this great cause think about making a small donation