Fiddle Sticking in the Wilderness


Soggy Bottom, Balls Deep, All in, Just a Bobble, Dragged a Toe and Ah Stuff it I’m in, AKA meeee

It’s 9pm, it’s the middle of May and I’m following Madie down a fire trail on another wild adventure.

The snow clouds that swirled around all day had hampered the drive out with constant rain and a smattering of sleet yet as we pull into the car park to meet the others they miraculously clear and we have a crisp stary night for our walk out to where we will camp above the canyons.

We’re not the only obsessive compulsive canyoning weirdos this time around, joining us are Rus, Ryan, Stu and Phil.

Madie had been recently converted to fiddle stick ghosting/Leave-no-trace techniques and I’m keen to check it out but first we pitch tents and enjoy a night of banter around the camp fire.

We’re up before sun rise and set off at first light amid one of the most spectacular pretty dawns I have witnessed.

After a few kilometres walk further along the fire trail we spear off into the bush looking for our first canyon. There are no track notes for the canyons out this way and the un-tracked terrain makes the whole area something special.

After a bit of navigation deliberation, something that would become somewhat of a theme for this trip, we find the entry point of our first canyon and after some tips from Madie, Ryan and Stu on the finer points of fiddle sticks we drop in
A game of “The water is lava” ensued. Pleather pants for canyoning is a thing now.

Another notch for our Bow or sumfink
Fiddle sticking is all well a good but for true leave no trace techniques some of us down climbed this one, but the bottom has a bit awkward and Phil was not comfortable so Madie set a rope for him and followed him down
Tolkien use to write about places like this, we all thought it was fantasy

And then the canyon opens out and we make our way down to the main creek aiming for a pass up to our next canyon


Bridge canyon

AKA Steep Creek

Beauties and the Beast in the Bungleboori boondocks


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 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

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

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