Rocky Creek again

08-03-2019

Madie, Ethan, Dave@, Kylie, Shauna, Roy, Mark, Dick, Luke, Joel and meeeeeee

I’ve said it before I’ll say it again Rocky creek is my favouritest canyon ever. I’ve been through it many times and hearing the the little waterfall on entry never fails to give me goose bumps and remind me of the first time Scott dragged us through there to spark my canyon addiction.

The light is always magical, even at night

Anyhoo with people coming from all directions several meeting places were teed up, things got confused, no one had reception but eventually we all met up at the Rocky Creek car park. Late but keen.

A quick meet and greet and then down the hill and into Twister.

How excited do they look. ©Madie

We head on into Twister right on dusk and the light quickly fades and the glowworms begin to appear.

We found a way to stop Madie giggling… briefly

And just like that we drop out of Twister and make our way down to Rocky Creek

The glowworms are out and the crew spend some time just checking them out, but we are still on the walking track and I try to explain they are only going to get better.

I don’t care how many times I see glowworms I will always be stuck with a sense of awe. In a canyon setting that is amplified a thousand fold.

Most canyons around these parts have glowworms, especially at night but Rocky is next level

There are 7(possibly 8) species of glowworm found throughout the world. 5 of those are found only in Australia and New Zealand and are the larvae of a fungus gnat, most live of fungus and their glow is redundant . The ones endemic to NSW are Arachnocampa richardsae and they are still predatory. Their light attracts small insects that get trapped in silk snares they trail down off the roof which they then consume.

For the most part if they are hungry they glow brighter and just after a feed they dim.

They are sensitive to noise and light and will turn off to hide

The pupae also glows but the males dim and stop glowing altogether just before they emerge as adults, while the female’s glow gets more intense to ensure they have a choice of males waiting as she emerges.

The adult flies can’t do much but reproduce, they can’t eat, they can barely fly but they do flash little lights to attract their mate.

Anyhoo, Glowworms are freakin cool ok.

But on we go
 

Dave@ Ethan and Madie under a ceiling of glowworms
Ethan under the glow ©Madie

Head torches, glowworms and stars
And we are back to the start and climb out to change into semi dry clothes for the slog up the hill

Broad tailed gecko, AKA Southern leaf tailed gecko AKA Sydney leaf tailed gecko AKA phyllurus platurus. What ever you call him he was a cool little dude Kylie spotted on the walk out

Back at the cars we revel in the night but some have long drives home and some have an early morning for their next adventure.

Party Size: 11

Time: 3hrs 40

Surround yourself with exceptional people, experience exceptional things

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Disclaimer: While canyoning at night poses pretty much the same risks as doing it in the daylight the consequences of things going wrong is much greater. Without the beams of sunlight to warm you between darker swim sections Hypothermia is a heightened danger. Limited peripheral vision may mask hazards that would otherwise be easily identified.

Navigation can also be much harder. You should be very familiar the canyon and it’s entry/exit tracks before attempting it.t.

It’s also worth noting the creatures out and about at this time of day are creatures of darkness. They don’t want thousands of lumins shone on them and massive groups disturbing their peace. We kept our beams set on low and trod as lightly as possible. As you always should in these pristine environments.

*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

Glen Davis in the heat

30-12-2018

Madie, Viacheslav, Kents Crew and meeee

This was another one people rave about. The canyon has 4 or 5 branches that all contain good quality canyons. The 2nd branch, or B branch, is one I had wanted to do for a while and one I had built up in my mind so when Kent put it on during a 5 day trip to Glen Davis I jumped on it.

Madie met me at my place early and we drove on down to meet up with the others. A quick meet and greet, ropes sorted packs on and we are away.

For the first part of the walk in we’d traverse the southern cliff line and then up into the bottom of the canyon so had bits of shade in between the baking heat.

The cool shade at the bottom of the canyon was a welcome haven and we took the opportunity for morning tea and a quick dip to cool off. Then it was back into the heat up the other side.

Kent on the tops

While the scrub was quite thick at times it offered little shade and so it was with a bit of relief, 5hrs after leaving the cars we reach the top of the canyon and wasted no time dropping in for lunch in the cool confines.

Madie

Madie, me and Slavr then went ahead to explore the canyon and set ropes while the others followed passing ropes forward as needed.

We soon came to the junction with 1 or A branch and explored up it aways. I failed to get up this little waterfall, Madie decided to show me how easy it was….



Slavr on a narrow bit
But wait, there’s more
and more
and more
Every time you think it’s about to open out… Boom there’s more

The water was a bit odd. It went from black to crystal clear to murcky brown and back in between disappearing for long stretches all together

We must be at the end now….. Nope

Madie and Slav
regrouping

and it continues

And then, just after I began to think the canyon would go forever we round a corner and we are back at the morning tea spot.

What an awesome day full of challenges, wild beauty and great people. A great way to finish off 2018 outdoorsP

Time: 11hr car to car. The fluctuation between heat stroke and hypothermia taking its toll a bit

So what did I think of it? The people I had spoke to about it invariably rated it “Best ever” or “Top 5”. Whether the low water levels affected my views I cant say but too be honest I wouldn’t put it in the same category as Claustral or Rocky Creek as far as jaw dropping beauty nor would I rate it on the bang for buck and out and out fun scale as high as Whungee Wheengee or Danae Brook but for complexity, length of constrictions and true untouched wilderness feel it’s certainly up there.

It’s a true canyoners canyon. Tricky Nav, obstacle after obstacle to figure out in a constriction that just seems to go and go and go and get better as it goes… I’d def do it again but maybe not when it was so hot and maybe I’d wait until just after a bit of rain.

Don’t waste time waiting on sometime. Get out there now.

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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

Slavens Cave

01/10/2018

Mandy Tal and meeee

There’s not much to see. Says Tal. It’s just a hole in the ground

In one sense he is right, it is just a hole in the ground.

But the hole had significance in a couple of ways.

  1. As drab as it is it happens to be one of the largest sandstone caves of it’s type in NSW, possibly Australia (1 report I read claims 10th biggest in the world). From what I’ve been able to make out from what I’ve read sandstone doesn’t tend to form these large subterranean cavities that often.

and

ii. 25 years ago, when we first started going out Mandy dragged me out on a wild goose chase trying to find this cave that was suppose to be near her grandfathers property. Way back before we got really into the adventurous outdoors we had a couple of goes at finding it and never did

 

So when Tal comes home after a weekend of camping with his mates and nonchalantly announces they found the cave I was 2 parts proud dad 1 part jealous.

You’ll have to take us there one day. Says I

Meh, shrugs he. There’s not much to see. It’s just a hole in the ground

Any way with a bit of bunged up ankle and a free afternoon I con him into taking us for a walk. He and his mates had traversed quiet a bit of private property on their journey. We try the approach from the other side.

It’s further around then we thought and hard to spot until you are on top of it but he navigates us in with nary a wrong turn.

Like he said it’s just a hole in the ground.

 

But that’s not the point

 

 

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Tal leading the way in. The big depression this hole lies at the base of suggests the cave was once much much bigger

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A little witchcraft is needed to find it

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Bad photo of a pit left over from an archaeological dig done in the 80s(?) Apparently nothing was found

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Mandy Exiting back out

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Hole in the Wall Canyon

10/03/2018

Shaha, Frankie, Kristy and me

Hole in the Wall consists of 2 canyon sections interspaced with a more open creek walk. It’s a reasonable walk in and out, mostly along a flat to undulating ridge. It is a bit of a Show Case canyon thou, being dark and twisty with glowworm caves, fun little water jumps and interesting abseils so well worth the walk.

It also empties into a very pretty section of the North Bungleboori crk, AKA Nine Mile crk, AKA Dingo Crk (though that name was originally appplied to a just small but interesting tributary)

It starts with a bang. You are in a pleasant sort of creek that looks like it might canyon up but is other wise unremarkable, you duck under a chock stone, round a corner and BAM!

Anyhoo

I was half keen on the  Banks double again but decided after a couple of big weekends I’d be better to take it a bit eaiser. Shaha, Frankie and Kristy joined me for the trip.

Setting off from the car park it was a coolish day that made walking pleasant and an hour and a bit of relatively flat ridge top walking later we descended into the little creek that would soon canyon up.

Normally I wouldnt bother with wetsuits yet, the top section has a few short wades but no swims, but with the day a bit of the cool side I made the call to put them on and in we went

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Kristy entrying the canyon

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It’s nice but just around the corner…..

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It drops into this amzing, deep, dark  slot

I’ve done this canyon a few times now and it blows me away every time. For the others it was their first time so I encouraged them to take the lead and find the wonder for themselves.

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The tops section is fairly short but it packs in some wow moments

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I once got flooded out of here seconding a comercial group. This was a deep swim as we came up it against the flow. I had to swim up, kicking off the walls pulling my self along the rocks. I then set a rope to pull the others through,..

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Dark, narrow, twisting halls open out to wider chambers which in turn lead to Dark, narrow, twisting halls

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And after a tricky climb down or two the canyon opens out to a pleasant walk down the creek interspaced with boulder hopping and quick sand

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Just when it was starting to get uncomfortably warm in the wetties the creek begins to drop again and the walls close in.

We harness up above a small drop. The water down below looks so inviting.

What are you guys like with water jumps?

Shaha and Frankie were up for it. Kristy, not so much.

Ok we can rope you up here or it’s a fairly easy down climb. She opted for the down climb.

Frankie takes the leap first and then Kristy follows using the sling to hand over hand.

Me and Shaha jump.

Another nice canyon section follows before we get to the first abseil.

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Kristy tackling the awkward start over the log

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Shaha makes the whole thing look easy. Check out the moss on the log to get a bit of an idea of the high water mark/throw of the falls when the canyon  floods

And then it’s into the show stopper section. a dark cave like tunnel filled with glowworms

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“I see Oriens belt but say nothing”:-Ani Difranco

The cave seems to periodically silt  up and flush out. Last time this was a deep swim and a difficult climb up out of the water over a mid way shelf. this time it was barely ankle deep at the shelf and and easy step up.

Over the shelf and back into a deep pool then a tricky climb out and up a cave like squeeze

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Regrouping after the squeeze

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Some more very nice canyon follows

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Log choke. I can’t fathom the power in the flood waters that caused this

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And then the longest abseil, down through a hole. When we first visited this I remember it being a sandy floor with a log spanning a hole a bit back from the edge. you had to rope up around the log and it was a very awkward to get on rope and then you swung in and down you went. At the time we joked that “Hole in the floor” would be a better name. Now the floor is bouldery and it’s obvious you are on chock stones. The hole is right at the edge, the log all but decayed. A handy anchor is found on the wall.

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a 12-15m drop with a nice bit of free space at the end

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Some more narrow, dark canyon follows

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A tricky down climb or awkwardish jump into shallowish water

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Then it’s one last abseil/slippery hand over hand

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Shaha, looking out through the Hole in the Wall

And then we are into the magestic North Bungleboori… AKA Nine Mile, AKA *hackspit* Dingo Creek.

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The hole in the otherwise towering walls of the North Bungleboori that inspired the canyon’s name

Now its a 500m wade, swim, scramble, walk up stream to our exit.

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Don’t get me wrong, I like Dingos but they have nothing on the Bungleboori

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. T E Lawerence

Party size: 4

Time: 6.5hrs car to car

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Dargan Creek Photo trip

10-02-2018

Albert, David and me.

 

So I found myself with a spare Saturday and my usual crew busy elsewhere so I sent a request through the airways to see if anyone was out who wouldn’t mind a tag along.

Dave responded with an invite on a photo trip to my local canyon, Dargan creek.

Dave’s photos have always been an inspiration to me (if you haven’t checked out his pages have a gander here) and it had been nearly 16 years since our only other trip together so I jumped at the chance.

Dave and Albert busied themselves with the DSLRs while I felt a bit out gunned with my Olympus TG4. I managed some reasonable shots but I can’t wait to see theirs.

In the mean time

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Albert setting up the tripod at the start of the constriction

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Looking down the canyon

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I was expecting them to march out 10 paces, turn and shoot.

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Even when I wasn’t canyoning full on we’d do this canyon once a year or so. Being 20min from home I’ve been through it a lot but I haven’t really spent time in there taking photos. It’s a sure way to see things you normally miss.

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Dave on the down climb. Fixed hand lines seem to be a relatively new phenomena in Blue mountains canyons. Was certainly always able to get down, and back up here with out a fixed line in the 90s.

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Dargan creek has some lovely canyon formation

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Dave setting up for a long exposure.

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This bit gets so dark it is almost cave like. You sometime see glowworms here in the day and big brown eels in the water. Neither today

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In the dappled light of the canyon I couldn’t make out the marking on this little fellow. I was 99% sure I knew what it was but that 1% meant I was careful to stay out of strike range

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While it looks snakelike a bit of post editing to lighten things up brings out the classic patterns, external ear holes and limb vestages of a legless lizard. The common scaly-foot (Pygopus lepidopodus)

As well as the external ear holes (which snakes lack) legless lizards have a broad fleshy tongue, rather than the forked tongue of a snake, and eye lids so if it blinks or sticks out a wide tongue you know it’s a lizard.

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The arrow on the left points to the external ear holes which snakes lack. On the right you can make out the tiny flap which is a remnant of the rear leg.

They also have a long tail. Snakes are all body with a short tail, these guys are 2/3rds tail. That might sound silly and it’s certainly hard to see where this ones tail starts but they can and do drop their tails as a last ditch means to avoid being someones lunch, a bit like a garden skink, and the tail often grows back a slightly different colour. So you get a coppery body and a grey tail.

 

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This is the classic patterning but they come in a range of colour from smooth coppery brown with hardly any pattern to an almost purplish colour  with gold  highlights in between the black dots which is absolutely stunning.

 

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Sun beams

You’ve probably noticed I shot a lot more in landscape orientation which is unusual for me in canyon settings, but it seemed to work today

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And then it’s up the tree and out

Dave asked if I knew the history of the spikes in the tree which are used as a ladder for exiting. I’d always assumed they were placed by Col Oloman who was a bit of a Blue Mountains Canyoning pioneer and Lithgow local but Dave says Col’s notes speak about the spikes already being there.

They look to be railway spikes so perhaps the builders of the 10 tunnels diviation in the early 1900s, or perhaps the original railway prior, were the first white folk to visit this canyon? Seems odd they would be scrambling down here as you can walk in up stream and you can also follow the creek down into Hartley Vale without too much trouble. Maybe surveyors looking at another dam wall lower down?

What we get from this adventure is pure joy.” George Mallory

*Slight detour* in March I am again taking part in the West Cycles Classic to raise money for the Westpac rescue helicopter service. Whether preforming bush rescue, emergency patient transfers, and all the rest no one has ever had to pay to use the helicopter due to public donations. If, like me, you believe this is an invaluable service or if you just enjoy reading my blog think about pitching in with a donation. Large or small every bit counts. follow this link for details 2018 West Cycles

Anyhoo

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Stunning light in Rocky Crk Canyon

23/12/17

Gaz, Lauren, Renee, Jodie, McKennzie, Rob, Sav, Dick, Luke, Swav and me

I think I have mentioned before that Rocky creek canyon is my all time favourite. I’ve no idea how many times I’ve been through but I still get goose bumps every time we get to the spot on the entry track where you start to hear the little waterfall at the start.

Anyhoo

We leave town at sparrows fart and make our way up to the carpark. We are early but there is one other car already there. It looks vaguely familiar but I don’t take a lot of notice as we gear up and swing down the entry track towards Twister (not Sheep dip).

I’m a bit excited.

Wet suits get donned. stuff gets crammed into dry bags. For some reason I always seem to get a lot of go pro footage but not many photos in Twister and the opposite in Rocky but I digress.

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Rob double checking where to aim. Yep that big wet bit.

For quiet a few of the group this is their first canyon and despite a few nerves on the jumps the smiles are big

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Curro getting into the swing of it.

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Macca taking the leap with out hesitation

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Soon she is styling it up

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Lauren was probably the most nervous on the jumps but she didn’t let the nerves get the better of her

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Jump. Slide. Jump. Slide. Repeat. Twister is a hell of a lot of fun

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But all too soon it’s over and we have a 30min walk down to the Junction where the little stream that the entrance track follows meets with Rocky

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The soft morning light on the way in promised some thing special once we hit the canyon

Up ahead the waterfall can be heard. My pace quickens. And then Rocky creek comes in on the right and where our little stream meets it  it plunges into an inviting slot

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I realy can’t describe the feeling I get looking in here. Must be a bit like a coffee addict catching the aroma of the best coffee they have ever smelled

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In we go

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Rocky creek never disappoints me

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If they thought the water in twister was chilly they are in for a surprise. I feel a bit sorry for curro who was toughing it out in a rash shirt.

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One of the small drops in the canyon

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The swims start short but get longer towards the end

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After a fun constriction the canyon opens up breifly and offers a fun slide or small jump in a sunny pool

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The walls soon close in again and up ahead the sun beams look magical

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And they keep getting better

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And better

It was about here I walked around the corner and see the light of a camera ahead. Think I might have walkedinto someones carefully composed long exposure shot.

Sorry, calls I, How awesome are these rays.

Is that you Flynny, comes the reply.

Oh Autal.  I couldn’t see who it was, how are you mate.

We have a quick chat. He has been in there for a while already and is keen to stay a while longer chasing the changing light. We leave him to his snaps, can’t wait to see them, and continue down.

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The soft morning light casts and etherial glow

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The lower constriction really is sublime

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And just before the junction with Budgary( originally Buggery) creek we emerge back into the light.

We do our best to catch a bit of sun to warm ourselves while having a quick snack.

Now it is posible to continue down the creek aways and then climb out via a break in the cliffs then follow the ridges back to the car. I prefer to reverse back up the canyon. In the little time it takes to turn around you can guarantee the light will have changed. Plus you see things you missed on the way down.

We grab packs and head back up the canyon

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As I said the light changes

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And you get to experience the canyon from different angles

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The sun ray were awesome on the way down but not half and hour later they were on a complete other level

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Rocky creek canyon dwarfs you, engulfs you and reminds you your troubles aren’t even a blip on the geological time scale

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And the beams progress from sun to tractor

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Beam me up, Scotty

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Step into the light

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Almost need UV protected sunglasses

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Light behaves both as a wave and a particle and sometimes like a solid bar of awesome

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Everytime I turned around I though I have to get a photo of those rays

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And still they got better

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I could have stayed here all day. I was wishing I’d set up the camera on a tripod in a time lapse and could just sit and watch it all unfold

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The little TG-4 was pushed to it’s limits with the contrast but did a reasonable job

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Ok the others are well ahead of me now I tear myself away and continue up the canyon

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Renee negotiating on of the little cascades on the way up

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Curro feeling a tad shivery in his rash shirt by now but not far to go

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I can see the exit up ahead. I assure him

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Lauren is keen for a swim under the falls

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Back where it all began.

All in all a great day out.

With the early start Autal was the only one we saw in the canyon itself. A few groups walking in as we were walking out and a few cars in the car park but much quieter than I thought i would be on such a nice weekend near christmas.

Party Size. 11. 4 experienced 7 beginners though most of them have experince in varying outdoor activities

Time: 4hrs 20min car to car

Rocky creek canyon dwarfs you, engulfs you. Your troubles fade in the face of it’s grandour. They aren’t even a blip on Rockys geological time scale

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Coachwood and Rocky Creek Canyons

27-09-2017

Julie, Michael, me

Last time I did Coachwood canyon was about ’97. I couldn’t remember much about the trip other than the Coachwood forest made for nice photos and  as I abseiled out the end I could hear what I first thought was airforce jets zooming over the gully. Turned out it was a wall of hail that was just about it hit. It struck with avengence just as Della and Mandy joined me at the bottom. Gathering the rope as Rocky creek began to rise we made a dash down stream to the big bend where we cimbed up to a little cave to wait out the fury. An hour or so later we climbed up a hail covered ridge. Photos below (Click to enlarge)

 

 

Anyhoo, I had a week off work and I know Julie is always looking for people to go canyoning mid week so I hit her up.

Yep I’m off Wednesday, says She. Want to do Coachwood?

Sure do, says I

I was keen to get back, it’s reasonably dry but I had no recolection of the canyon itself.

Want to reverse up Rocky creek to exit? says she.

Are you freaking kidding how freaking cold is that going to be… I think but instead my brain replies with, Yeah, sure.

Anyhoo We drive up to the Bungleboori picnic spot to meet Michael. Instead we meet Geoff, Anna, Peter, Ruth and other assorted UBMW members heading off to do a rarely visited canyon not so far from ours. Anna looks confused as she does a head count. Oh we arn’t with you guys we’re meeting someone else.

all good they pile in cars and head off. Michael arrives shortly after and we do the same. Veering on the the Galah mountain road we see Geoff and his group driving backout. That was quick.

Big tree down just up ahead, we couldn’t move it. He informs us. We’re changing plans.

Oh we might as well have a look. Yep big tree. we go bush and carefully edge around it and continue on our way.

I think I know why I couldn’t remember much of coachwood. It’s not much of a canyon. A bit of fun but nothing overly “Wow!”

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We somehow missed the top of the first absiel and walked in below the waterfall

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The Coachwood forest I remebered being so picturesque

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Julie on the first of our absiels

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Michael dropping in

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Michael on the the very nice second last abseil

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Julie on the last abseil

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Lunch in Rocky Creek

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All Rugged up ready for the swim up Rocky Creek

Now traditionally for me Rocky Creek is a NewYears day or later canyon. It’s always cold so I was a little apprehensive. But we’d layed up. I had a thermal top, 3mm steamer wetsuit with a 3mm spring suit over the top. Woolen beanie to keep the noggon warm and over it all a light spray jacket to keep the wind off.

With all that on and working our way up stream I never felt cold at all. Infact because the beanie stayed dry it got a little warm and I ended up splashing water over my face a couple of times to cool my head down.

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Rocky Creek

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Rocky Creek

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The light is so different each time you visit

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Toasty warm

And of course the early waratahs were out on the ridge

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all in all a fun day out. I’d class it more of a trip up Rocky Creek with an alternate entrance

Party Size: 3 all Expereinced

Time: 5.5hrs car to car

 

What if something is on TV and it’s never shown again? Smudge

 

 

Then the next day it was off to do Zorro and Cathedral canyons with the Cracks of Doom Thrown in

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Basking in the Glow of Worms

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Tal, Ed, Ethan, Jodie, Gaz and me

It’s just before 9 as we pull into the Rocky Creek car park and we have the place to ourselves. That might sound unusual but it’s in the PM and our head torches cast eerie shadows through the mist.

Ethan and Ed soon join us. The refracted moonlight gives a strange illumination. We lament the lack of stars but soon we’ll be greeted by constellations of another kind.

We turn off onto the steep track that descends into the head waters Twister. Thick vegetation creates a tunnel effect and the bright spot of the head lights focuses your attention. Without the peripheral distractions of grand landscapes the walk in seems even shorter than normal.

There is nervous chatter as we change into wetsuits. It had been a long time since I’d canyoned at night. The Wollangambe trip at night use to be a favourite of ours. The looks you got from the masses as they were getting back to the car park just as you were leaving… Youse are too late. You’ll never get there before dark! That’s the point we’d grin. Dolphin torches at the ready…

Anyhoo for most of the others it was a first. Me too, I’d never done this trip at night. Wetsuits on. The cloud cover had trapped the warmth of the day, there were a few comments of how hot it was in the suits. Hold that thought.

In we go… Marvelous. Nerves turn to adrenaline.

Heightened awareness.

Man Twister if fun!

The water is Twister and Rocky crk seems warmer than normal at the moment. As warm as I’ve ever felt it. OK not bathy and you wouldn’t just float there of hours in your speedos but it not take your breath away bracing either.

Concentrating in finding foot placements in the dark I had to remind myself to stop and look around. Not far in I spot that familiar green glow. The first of the glow worms. A few dim spots nestled into cracks in the wall

Jodie had never seen glowworms before. Lights off. let your eyes adjust Wow its like Christmas lights, says she. I Love Christmas lights.

Every chamber it was tempting to turn the torches off and just soak in the glow but I knew it was only going to get better

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Twister felt like it was over in no time and we continued down towards Rocky Crk.

More and more Glowworms adorned the steep walls that overhang the access trail. Soon enough we reach the start of the canyon. In the still night the roar of the waterfall seemed amplified 10fold.

This was the first canyon I’d ever done. I still remember the feeling of awestruck wonder I felt first looking down that drop into the narrow chasm. It sparked my love of canyoning. Countless trips later that feeling returns every time of reach this point.

In we go.

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I was hoping to get some stars in the background. But still… Wow

The glowworms in Twister were nice. The ones along the entrance track were magical. Once in the jaws of Rocky they are on another level again.

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Even the snotty webs coating the walls reflected the light of the head torches, making the whole canyon seem to glow.

Unfortunately just as we get to the Washing Machine Jodie jars her ankle on a submerged ledge. She and Garry decide to start heading back up while the rest of us continue down to the starts of the tunnel swim. Not knowing how bad the injury is we opt to finish the trip there and head on back up.

Brown Eels, glowworms and yabbies greet us in a passage. We try not to disturb them too much

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Ghosts in the machine.

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The Tunnel swim

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Light trails and glowing walls

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I couldn’t get my little tripod set up here so it was hard to capture just how awesome this cave section was. With torches off there were enough glowworm to be able to see.

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Beautiful by day stunning by night

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Light trails under shifting glowworms

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Time to exit

Party Size: 6. Mostly experienced

Time:~4hr car to car with a slow ascent due to injury

There was a bit of history repeating tonight. Just before I started canyoning my little brother and his mates did a few night trips to Rocky Creek. 1 I remember as one of the girls in the group broke her ankle before they had reached the canyon. While we were able to walk of injured out (Some tough determination and a lot of grimacing) they were not so fortunate and spent the night carrying her back up to the car park…

Disclaimer: While canyoning at night poses pretty much the same risks as doing it in the daylight the consequences of things going wrong is much greater. Without the beams of sunlight to warm you between darker swim sections Hypothermia is a heightened danger. Limited peripheral vision may mask hazards that would otherwise be easily identify.

Navigation can also be much harder. You should be very familiar the canyon and it’s entry/exit tracks before attempting it.Even on this trip with clear trails the guys missed a turn started back up towards twister on the way out.

It’s also worth noting the creatures out and about at this time of day are creatures of darkness. They don’t want thousands of lumins shone on them and massive groups disturbing their peace. We kept our beam set on low and trod as lightly as possible. As you always should in these pristine environments.

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Unfortunately my GoPro was playing up and freezing. It missed most of the action in twister