This section of the ‘Gambe is harder to get to than the more common “tourist sections” but is renown for having some of the best canyon bits on the river.
In hindsight that’s a bit like saying Wang Dam has the best bits of beach in Lithgow….
Anyhoo, it’s a bit of the ‘Gambe I hadn’t visited before and I had wanted to do it for a while. I knew Madie was keen to check it out too so we semi organised a crew and then half made plans.
Then the weather turned to shite and we ummed and ahhed about going. Even an hour before we were due to head off the rain came in and we discussed doing something else. Then the sky cleared and we thought “Fugg it!” and off we went
I’d planned to do the car shuffle to the end of the Dumbano/Wollangambe fire trail as it should be a shorter walk and I’m not overly familiar with the maze of trails in from Bell.
In high spirits we skipped out to the end of the fire trail and had no difficulty finding a pass down through the cliff.
From there it all turned a bit shit.
My intel said there would be a track.
Reality said there was scrub.
Now I’m not adverse to a bit of a scrub-bash but this scrub was heinous. Razor grass and dead fall and despondency.
An hour later we’d barely gone 600m and light was fading. I wasn’t 100% sure where the famed camp cave was so we made the decision to bunk down in the next viable overhang to shelter from the predicted overnight moisture.
We snacked on Madie’s infamous butter chicken and settled in for a reasonably comfortable if slightly cramped and sleepless night.
Of course the actual camp cave with large, flat sandy floor was just 100m or so down stream…
Morning comes and we pack up for a not so early start. Our advice was it was going to be a long/hard day. After yesterdays experience in the scrub we decided to avoid the banks and stay in the river as much as possible.
This was faster. Mostly. But full of energy sapping sand with pockets of quicksand ready to swallow your leg without warning.
The three images above summarise the tip for me. Stunning cliff lines, dead fall galore and complex boulder scrambling. Oh and sand. Lots of sand….
Eventually we make it to a part of the ‘Gambe we are all familiar with.
Reaching the exit point is usually a bitter-sweet moment as you are glad to have finally made it but know the adventure is nearly over. This was no different. We were exhausted (We’ll maybe not Madie, she seems to gain engery the longer she goes) but smiling. It was a hard trip, even tougher than I had expected, but as always the company and laughter made it great.
Now just the 1hr uphill stroll to the car.
Your comfort zone is a very dangerous place to be
Mt Wilson fire-shed to Dumbano fire trail locked gate: 30min (drive)
Locked gate to camp: 1.5hrs
Camp to Exit: 7hr
Exit to Fire Shed: 1hr