It’s kind of become a tradition that we do something for Russ’ birffdee.
Come to Bungonia, they said. It will be fun, they said.
Only coordinating every one this year was difficult so it got spread out over a coupe of days with Russ and Lib being the constant and the rest of us joining for a day.
Anywoo, I’m in for the Saturday shenanigans and rock on down Friday night just in time for a good old fashion curry cook up.
The camp ground at Bungonia is amazballz. If you are into that sort of thing
At some point during the night someone asked, so what are we doing tomorrow?
I don’t mind says Russ
It’s your birthday, you choose says us
Awwwww I don’t like decisioning, says Russ. But I’m not keen to put a wet wetsuit back on tomorrow. How about Long Gully,
Now I’ve never really given Long Gully much consideration because nobody really raves about it. But they are all worth doing once and anything is good in the right company. so we get some sleep, rise not so early and break camp at the crack of 8am. Or there abouts.
I have no idea if I have the order of the abseils photos right but you get the idea.
and before you know it we are on the banks of the Shoalhaven basking in the glorious sun shine.
A lounge about, some lunch and more laughs and then it’s back up the hill.
All in all Long Gully might not be the best canyon but its a reasonable abseil trip, worth doing at least once especially in the company of some of the best adventure buddies going
Hywaida, Kristo, Ethan, Kylie, Rus, Madie and meeeeeeeeeeeeee
Who wants to do Butterbox this weekend, said I
Me, said them.
As they say in Canada (probably) Well alrighty then
A cold wind blew on the morning of our gathering.
Wait! That’s an understatement and a half
It was an icey gale that ripped through us as we met at the car park.
And it seemed like it would be whipping up through the canyon
Are we sure we want to do this?
And so it went.
We layered up and headed in.
Excitement on faces and interesting places.
Butterbox is, for the most part, more open and has less swimming than the trip we did through North Bowen 2 weeks ago. But there are more abseils which could lead to more standing around waiting. we had enough ropes to keep moving. My only concern was the small stance on the chockstone pitch might mean we have a line up of people waiting in ice wind.
Good news for us, once we dropped off the ridge there was hardly any wind at all. I had a set of sharkskin T2 chillproof underneath my 5mm seland wetsuit (* this is not a paid endorsement. but if seland or sharkskin are reading this….. 🙂 ) I had put them on at the first abseil. I’d packed a windcheater jacket but left it in my pack.
By the time we got to the first swim I was keen to cool off
A couple of short swims, a slide and we get to the bit we are here for
So at the bottom of that you go over the edge and pop out to a large rock wedged between the canyon wall, The chockstone. Well I say large, there’s room for 2 people to set up the next abseil, 3 if you don’t mind getting up close and personal. 4 if you want a group hug with little room to do anything else much less try to set rope or maneuverer to abseil.
And I just noticed Madie creeping in the background of the above photo as Kristo descends. What is she doing up there? How did she get there? How will she get down? The answers to all this and more will not be forthcoming in the next instalment of “What’s Madie up to now”
Another short swim, some boulder hoping and a final abseil and we reach the lunch spot and spread out in the sunlight. Pulling on dry clothes Rus reminisces about the time it was so stinking hot when we got here that we found some shade and snoozed for a couple of hours waiting for it to cool down enough to climb out.
Of course the Butterbox adventure isn’t over yet. There still the steep walk out to the clmb.
I put my windcheater on expecting to be in the full force of the icy zepher. Soon I stash that back in the pack and strip down to a tee shirt. It was pleasant in the valley
Up top it wasn’t until we were cross the saddle from Butterbox point back to the car park that the full force of the wind hit us. At one point I think I was leaning 45° to the right trying to resist it blowing me off the hill.
You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t loose it: R Williams
I believe all canyons are worth doing once and actually get some satisfaction of checking out those rarely visited ones. They are normally low quality scrub bashes but in this day and age the feeling of being one of the few who have been somewhere is rare.
I felt Whores Bed canyon would be one of those.
And too be honest I’m glad I didn’t do it mid drought. On a cold misty day after 6months of wet weather it was a pleasant little trip.
The company made it better.
It was Loz’s first canyon so to give her the true Flynny/Madie experience we changed plans last minute, hadn’t done any research, parked in the wrong spot and started down the wrong trail.
Anyhoo we eventually deduced we weren’t heading into the correct gully and reversed out. Some of us scoffed a quick hot chocolate. And then we corrected previous mistakes and dropped in right at the anchor
And that pretty much it. Shorter and a bit easier than the near by Boars Head trip (for which this one is a play on words) but in these conditions it’s a prettier trip.
Of course some of those worth doing once canyons are actually worth doing again with the right company or weather conditions. Thus back at the cars the day was young and still had adventure written on it so we slipped across the Darling Causeway and dropped into Karamah.
Somewhat fittingly Karamah is a first nations word meaning “Sleep”.
Like a most of the canyons in that area it has some nice bits and 1 very pretty chamber.
Sure I’d done a heap of other cool stuff in mean time but I was itching to get back out.
Wanna do Arethusa?
Does the pope shit in the woods…. wait, um, that’s not it. I mean, hell yeah
Anyhoo we meet up. Head in and gear up.
It’s a big call but Imma call it anyway, Arethusa is the best bang for buck micro adventure in the Blue Mountains.
All thrilla no filla. Beautiful canyon sections with minimum creek walking. Pretty waterfall and cascades. Abseils that can be techie unless it’s supper low water levels. Interesting down climbs with optional jumps. Stunning views at the end. And some easy but adventurous climbing to get out.
Some extra bolts have appeared recently and I would caution people to assess the landingzones. We scrambled/walked past most (all) of them simply because it was quicker and easier (even in the slipperiest-shoes-known-to-man(tm). OK I had a few moments but none of them near the optional abseil bolts) but one anchor in particular looked like it would drop you into recirculating water at the flow level we did it in. At lower levels (and maybe higher levels) it mightn’t be an issue but today we looked and said nope to that.
So make sure you assess things yourself rather than just blindly follow. And that goes for all canyons. We got use to the low water levels during 10years of drought, now they are flowing again reassess things.
Kylie, Hywaida, Kris, Jason, Aimee, Tash and meeeeeeeeee
I’ve done the lower section of Bell creek a couple of times. It’s beautiful.
Like really, jaw droppingly beautiful
But the first time it took us 3hrs to walk into the start of the access canyon, Bell Fry(which is a pretty little canyon in its own right)
Next time we knew where we were going and a hazard burn had taken out a lot of the scrub on the ridge. So we cut that down to just under 2hrs.
But it was still a difficult walk, having to scramble into the start of Du Faurs creek then climb up the other side.
Anyhoo, the Jamieson guide says a good overnight trip is to include the upper section. It also suggests you could do both in a very very long day.
Myself and Madie had mentioned a few times about having a crack of doing it in a day. But we never got around to it
This year a trip got planned. Unfortunately last minute I had to work
I get a text. Ok we are heading in.
Just over 6hrs later. We are out.
Anyhoo I finally got the chance to give it a crack.
Now I’m not as quick as Madie and Russ but a 30min walk down a fairly easy ridge, with me just following my nose until Aimee checked the map and corrected my course and we slipped down a short side canyon and entered Bell creek just upstream of where it canyons up.
So the girls hadn’t caught up for a while and there was a chatter. Well, I say chatter but it was more weird noises and giggling. And, I say giggling, but it was more like cackling. Like b grade movie witches planning downfalls.
TBH I wasn’t expecting the upper section to be so good.
“Upper sections” as described in the book can be hit and miss around here. The upper section of Du Faurs creek is good. The Bowens (North and South) have upper sections that contain pretty canyon sections but they pop in and out and there is scrub and scrambling between. Upper Wollangambe is basically a creek walk…. But this one has sustained sections of quality canyon.
Ok so there are no abseils… I get that’s what some people are after but it’s like 2 totally different sports. Vertical canyoning and this.
Maybe the old skool bushwalkers had it right when they described these trips as Swalks (Swim/walks)
Because I knew it wasn’t the very very long day Jamieson suggested we weren’t rushing at all. We even stopped for little lunch… I never stop of little lunch… but we still managed get from the car to the junction with Bell Fry in just a bit over 3.5hrs. So not much longer than the standard way into the lower section and far more interesting.
As surprisingly nice as the upper section is the lower section really is special
The Lower Section just keeps going
Click the images to enbiggen ’em
We stop for a bite to eat and Kris finds this little beauty
And then the Canyon opens out a bit. It’s still grand and dwarfs us as we boulder hop down to the junction with Du Faurs creek. Then up to exit out Joes and up to the fire shed.
Group Size: 7
Time: 8.5hr car (Water Trough Hill) to car (Fire Shed).
Some of God’s children just are naturally wild: Ray Wylie Hubbard
Mandy hasn’t abseiled for a few years, she lost the passion so when she asked if I’d take her out I got a so excited that I didn’t explain the 2 options she proposed, while short trips were actually 2 of the more awkward abseils…
Anhoo after a week that involved Danae, Rocky, and a quick afternoon running throu Empress 3 times squeezing another little canyon in sounded like just the ticket
Beth decided to join us and off we went to a pretty but short little canyon near Clarence
and what better way to finish it off with
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night― Sarah Williams
So for some years (with a break in 2020 due to bush fires) I’ve been joining Ed and Ethan for a New Years Day recovery canyon.
It started as a family thing but kinda morphed and pretty much has had different people joining each yea . This year we decided to do a trip to Rocky Creek New Years Day Night and the above mentioned legend joined us
Anyhoo I first visited Rocky cr nearly 30 years ago. It blew my mind and have made a visit to it at least once a year ever since. I have waxed lyric about it both in day and at night heaps before so I wont bang on to much this time around
and of course the Glowworms.
We went in earlier than usual for doing a night trip but had enjoyed the serenity so much it was the 2nd before we were were out of the canyon