Pagoda Canyons in the rain

8-09-2018

Madie, Wouter, Meeee with a cameo from Jen

So with a bunch of other commitments I didn’t get out canyoning at all in August. In fact the last real canyon trip I lead was almost 2 months ago so I was frothing to get out.

I was keen for a couple of the Pagoda canyons on the Plateau before the weather warmed up and when Madie said she had the weekend off I thought why not combine a few of the smaller ones to make it worth her drive.

I also thought she’d might be nutty enough to join me for our first wet canyon of Spring.

Can I bring a friend, asks she.

Yep says I. And so Wouter, would be joining us for his first canyoning experience.

Jen had a morning free opted in for the first canyon too.

After a long dry spell a week of steady drizzle was welcomed by all and certainly made the first two usually dry canyons a bit more special.

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The rain made the ledges a little more slippery
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Wouter and Jen Tip-toeing along the tiny ledges
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The Acoustic chamber could be called the TARDIS chamber. It’s bigger from the inside

The first recorded group through here called it Acoustic Canyon due to a series of these chambers. But as there was another little canyon out in the Nayook system already called Acoustic this one is now normally just called Sunnyside, though the Jameison guide also lists it as Wombat.

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You can normally get through this one without getting your feet wet. Not today
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All the little side waterfalls were amazeballs. Madie doing a “Supermodel” pose, Jen wondering what sort of nutcases she has gotten herself mixed up with
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such soft light and textures in the mist

 

Back to the car we say goodbye to Jen and make our way to the next one.

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After the amount of water in the last “dry” canyon I was expecting a bit more in this one

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I normally don’t bother with a rope here but the walls were extra slippery so we played it safe
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I love this chamber
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And this passageway
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Not sure why we are trying to stay dry at this point
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Maybe it’s just the challenge

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So do you guys want to slip over and check out the tops or make a dash for time and go and get wet in another canyon? Asks me

Why can’t we do both, replies Madie in her best el Paso impersonation.

Right on!

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From the top you wouldn’t imagine that goreous, airy chamber is just down there

Then it’s back up the ridge, into the car for a longish drive around to our next stop. I have to say I was a bit excited for this one. Madie was so excited she wetsuited up while we were driving. I’m not sure Wouter knew what to make of it all.

We made the car park at a bit after 3. Starting a canyon, a wet canyon so late on a cool, wet, early spring  day would normally not be sensible. But this one is super short, we managed to go car to car in just over an hour which is nuts.

But it is nice as a side trip on the way home.

So are we going to abseil down beside a waterfall? Asks Wouter on the way in

Um not exactly, says I

Now I’ve done this one at normal water levels. I’ve done it with Ed when the water was pounding. I’ve been there with Julie when the water was so big we decided to bypass the falls

After a long dry then a week of drizzle I wasn’t sure what to expect but as we short-cutted over the ridge we could here the falls roaring and as they came into veiw it looked just right.

 

 

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To answer Wouter’s question, we wont be going down “beside” the falls. ©Madie
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He was more than up for it. ©Madie

 

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©Madie
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Yep

It’s a cracker of a abseil

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©Madie

 

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All in all another great day in the bush

Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Party Size. 4 for Sunnyside/acoustic. 3 for Zorro and Alcatraz

Timing: I think it was about 2hrs car to car for Sunnyside (with a bit extra walking along the firetrail due to trees down). a fraction under 2hr for Zorro and 1hr for Alcatraz with a bit of time driving between the lot

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Glen Davis Canyoning

02-12-2017

Kent, Tim, Ruth, Doug, Sue, Pete, Toby, Scott and Me

When Kent put out the invite for this one I was pretty keen.

The weather forecast improved slightly as the weekend approached and a final check of the radar and 48hr forecast and it looked like we might be missing the deluge that seemed to be about to strike the rest of the state but rain predicted for around 3pm so I headed off nice and early to meet the others who had camped down there.

The usual meet and greet, sorting of  ropes and then it was off to pick our way up through the cliff lines.

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A Glorious morning looking down the valley from Pearson lookout.

 

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We work our way up towards the base of the cliffs

A weakness in the towering cliff allows us to zigzag up between scrambles as the valley steadily drops away below us

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Not quite full on rock climbing, not far off it
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And the views keep getting better
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Tim on a very exposed step around

A series of ledges guide our way, some ledges wider than others

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Sue Negotiates one of the narrower and more exposed ledges
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Ruth follows
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Toby gets to more solid footing
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And then it’s another tricky  verticle scramble

And then we come to the most rock climbesque section. a Scramble up a chute that gets steeper the higher you climb.

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It’s easy going except for a couple of moves in the verticle section at the top.

It looks loose so I choose to wait for the others to clear the climb. Tim and Pete get up without issue. However Ruth has a bit of trouble so I scramble up to help her with the foot holds. Tim offers to drop a rope. With a little assistance Ruth gets through the hardest move to where she can sit on a ledge, wedged into a bit of a crack.

ROCK!!!

I look up to see a house brick size rock tumbling toward us. Shit. I tuck in as close to the rockface as I can.

Whack. FUCK! it slams into Ruth’s shoulder and I feel the breese as it tumbles passed.

I’m OK, calls Ruth. My arm’s dead. I need a moment.

ROCK!!!

Fuck I’m on some ballancy footholds. Ruth is wedge into a ledge above. A smaller rock goes whizzing past, thankfully out in space.

No one move up there!!! I call. Just stay still until we are set.

Ruth takes a moment and signals she is fine. Tim drops the rope and she continues up. I scramble up.

Watch your footing, Tim instructs. and if there a loose rocks on the path pick them and put them some where safe.

Thankfully Ruth is OK. Everyone agrees helmets for the walk in are a good idea. The others come up without incident

We continue on. We are at the halfway ledge but from here up the climbing is easier.

Belatedly Toby suggests there is an easier gully just around the corner that bypasses the chute.

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Did I mention the views
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Making our way up the next cliff line
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Toby and Doug admire the View
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Kent does the same for slightly higher
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Kent says he puts a lot of stock into the quality of the lunch spot.

It’s taken us 2hrs to get through the main cliff line. One small line of cliffs to go then we can start to descend into the canyon

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Selfie time.
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Descending a side creek towards the main canyon
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1 little abseil and some creek walking brings us to the main slot
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Now that looks worth the effort

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Some large, dull coloured yabbies
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Tim coming into a very pretty tunnel section
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And still the long abseils keep coming

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Sue
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Tim setting up ropes
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Scott

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With a bit of a hand some people managed to stay reasonably dry here
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And still the drops come thick and fast

 

click to enlarge

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And right on cue the heavens openned

Slight drizzle turns is to proper rain and it pisses down. Within a minute what had been barely trickles turn into proper waterfalls.

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Geckos make for the safety of higher ground.
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Out of the constiction and with just one abseil to to go we enjoy the extra beauty the rain brings
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Tim on the second last abseil

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One more spectactular 30m abseil I didn’t manage photo then we make our way down the ridges.

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Back to the Capertee

 

Capertee pineapple

And after a 4km trudge up the maintenance trail we are back to camp

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Another great day with great people.

Group: All experienced

Timing: 9hrs car to car steady pace.

“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert

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Windows

05-08-17

Tim, Yuri, Scott, Louise, Peter, Sophie, Craig, Autal and me

Ah Windows 95, while Machintosh ensured “1984 wouldn’t be like 1984!”,  Windows 95 took Graphic User Interface and plug and play and made it accessable to the microsoft masses who had thus far been stuck in MS-DOS. It may have been the first and last time people got excited about a Windows release.

Anyhoo.

Windows Canyon is nothing like that.

It’s more of an absiel trip with canyony sections and the access as well as the length and tricky starts of the abseils has probably kept the masses at bay.

We park up and do the meet and greet. This time around Tim is going to be ringmaster it’s his circus and we’re his monkeys and he rallys us up for the pep talk then we are off

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Up we go. Out of the wind it’s a pleasant winters day wind jackets and thermals will soon be shed
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In the spirit of adventure we opt to go a slightly harder route up that contains a little shimey up a rock climb
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After climbing up through the cliffline the cliff edge is a great spot to have a drink and a bite ot eat
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Yuri on a brittle shelf way above the Wolgan

Don’t worry it is a bit of an illusion as there is another wide ledge just below and the pedistal is way more solid than it looks.

Autal thought he’d replicate Yuris photo and handed me his brand new TG5 camera. Now over night it was windy. All morning it has been windy. But we really didn’t get too much wind all trip, except as Autal approached the pedistal where a gust of wind plucked the beanie right off his head and made it soar.

Like wow, I’ve seen some pretty impressive paper planes in my day but nothing that caught on the wind like that beanie. Go little beanie. Go!

It went and went and went and went before finally dropping down into the tree line and snagged in a tree in the distance.

Bye bye beanie

Oh well a bit of scrub bashing later and we were in our gully

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One of the impressive side slots
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Sophie in the tunnel
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Scott leading one of the tricky to start abseils
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Craig 1’s new rope gets a test out. Flynny’s rope law. New ropes always tangle
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Over the chock stone or under the chock stone?
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About as canyony as it gets
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Can you keep your feet dry?
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OK it does get a bit canyony
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View from the lunch ledge
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Louise absieling through the arch “Window”
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A window on the world. Louise setting up ropes
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A fine Window it is
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Autal through a window
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Autal under the arch with a window
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Scott leading the last absiel
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Tim about halfway down the last pitch
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Homeward bound

Another great day in the bush with great people

Time: a tad under 5hrs car to car

Thanks to Tim for organising and making it run so effortlessly.

 

 

 

“Get out there now and make sure you become part of the glorious past in somebody else’s future!” Andrew Penny

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Acoustic

04/05/2017

Mandy Tal And I

Acoustic/SunnySide/Wombat(WTF?) is a great little canyon to visit in Winter as it has a nice constriction, some awesome erision caves and with a little bit of care it’s possible to get through it in normal conditions without getting you feet wet.

 

It’s fairly short so it’s usually conbined with other trips out that way but we had some other stuff to do and living close it’s an easy half day.

Pulling into the car park I handed the map and compass to Tal. Navigation is as straight forward as it gets in trackless terrain so it’s not a bad one to practice on. I gave him a bearing and he lead off following the path of least resistance through the scrub while staying on course. A decent effort delivered us to the dry water course about 100m upstream of where the pogodas sprout out the the ground and the creek canyons up.

Just before the jaws of the canyon Mandy decided to have a lie down when she stepped in a hole and twisted her ankle. After a bit of drama queen stuff she got up and said she’d be fine to keep going.

We left her to walk out the sprain a little as I lead Tallis up an easy scramble to check out the Acoustic chambers from above. The ridge above the western wall is easy to negotiate and gives a great perspective on the canyon.

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One of the “smaller” chambers near the start of the canyon
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Looking down the canyon towards 2 of the larger chambers
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Looking down into the canyon
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Tal checking the views from pogoda tops
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The large chamber from the western ridge
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Looking back up along the canyon

After quickly checking it out from above we make our way back to Mandy and head on in.

The canyon starts with a little twist and then a nice little tunnel scramble

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Mandy following tal into the gateway

There’s a few spots where it looks like you are sure to get your socks (and more) wet but with a bit of route finding and care you don’t even get the soles of your shoes wet

 

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Tal balancing of thin ledges to avoid getting wet. It might look like a mirror of liquid mercury in the harsh noon sun in the photo but its crystal clear

 

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Mandy reflecting on how we got past here with out getting wet. There are ways… We may or may not have shared our secret

and after a little bit of fun the eastern wall opens in to the large chamber…..

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Mandy an Tal eating lunch by the ferns while I check out the TARDIS effect, it’s bigger on the inside

You soon have to tranverse across the base of another chamber. In any other canyon this one would blow you away but it is eclipsed a bit by the previous one.

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Mandy traversing the balcony while Tal heads downinto the next section
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Once again it’s bigger from the inside
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Canyon formation

It’s advisable to traverse the right hand ledge above the last 100m of canyon. this avoids a little scrub as well as some delicate vegetation in the final slot which ends in a boulder choke. It also gives better views out into the Wolgan as the canyon opens up.

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The view down into the final slot is also pretty cool

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There are a few ways to exit. On my first visit we climbed an easy spot on the west wall and went back along the tops. It is also possible to scrmble out the exit portal and scramble around into Bushranger creek or to simply reverse the canyon but most parties now seem to use a hidden slot in the east wall. There a bit of a step up to access it so those short of leg may need a boost but once on the ledge it’s an easy ramp all the way to the top of the cliffs.

 

 

Once up there are vista’s applenty and it’s worth having a good look around.

Then Tal was back on map and compass to lead up up the ridge to the old fire trail and hence back to the car

 

Party size: 3 all experienced

Time. 1.5hr car to car even with the photo phaffing

Video to come if I can work out why my external drive with the go pro file and editted video on it decided to go RAW…

“many believe that the nature of the universe is to hide itself from mortal eyes. That we must search and meditate upon all around us to see and grasp the simple truth that
is enlightenment. However, perhaps the answers are being told to us all the time and we have just forgotten how to hear them.”

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Wandering around the plateau

20-05-2017

Julie, Leaf and me

So if you listened to the weather forecasters you’d expect to see a guy building a baot and collecting animals two by two or something.

Still I was keen to get out and was origanlly thinking one of the drier canyons out around Sunnyside might be nice with some rain.

Julie was keen and expressed an interest in doing Alcatraz instead.

Leaf posted on the Ozcanyons facebook group looking for trip she could join inon and we invited her along.

After a bit of discussion we settled on Alcatraz and a small double(or is it triple) canyon system out near the glowworm tunnel that I wanted to check out.

The forecaste went from gloomy to dire. There was some discussion on canceling the trip but thankfully we decided to roll with it.

Friday was ment to be the worse day. It was fine but the rain rolled in Friday night and belted down.

Saturday dawned sunny. A prefect day for a bit of exploring.

We met up and navigated the maze of roads into Alcatraz. The view down into the canyon from the cliff above showed the waterlevel well up but we suited up and carefully made our way into the anchor point.

Looking down into the slot, had me a bit concerned. I’d done it in high water with Ed and others a while ago and it was fine but this was up even more and without being able to see the exit I wasn’t comfortable dropping in.

We opted to descend the cliff beside it and make up way up from below. In hindsight it was likely doable but te canyons are always there for next time and I’m happy to play it safe.

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Looking across into the spout
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Julie setting the camera up while LEaf makes her way into the chamber
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The chamber and exit were fine
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Julie and Leaf in the chamber
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Inside the chamber
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Inside the chamber
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The exit slot

So a bit disappoint we didn’t abseil in but as I said there is always next time.

We made our way back to the cars and then continued out toward the glowworm tunnels for our next points off interest.

I had done the first little slot  with Mandy from below and after checking the satelite imagry realised there was another system close by. This time we headed down the dry canyon (not so dry today) and then explored as far up the other system as we could get before retracingour steps.

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Not far off the Glowworm tunnel road a sleep little creekbed begins to canyon up
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Dark sandstone gives way to walls the clour of honeycombe
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Leaf poses next to a temporary waterfall
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The canyon is only short and opens up into the hidden valley, hanging between clifflines.
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Julie and Leaf make their way through a cave like section into the North branch of a Twin canyon system
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This one is straight and narrow
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Without loosing a lot of weight this is as far as I can go
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Can’t believe the girls didn’t follow me through is cold stagnant swim. ©Julie Burton
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And then it was back out the way we came in.

Group Size: 3, all experienced

Time: Better part of a day phaffing about

 

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Petries Gully

Access: A nice walk up an old logging track beside a bubbling brook.

Navigation: Navigation is fairly straight forward if you stay on the trail

Map: Mt Morgan

Time: Give yourself a few hours to enjoy it.

Date walked: 04-09-16 Mandy and myself

Petries gully is a pleasant stroll up an old logging track in the Wolgan Valley, just down stream of Newnes. We were lucky enough to catch it after a wet spell so the  cascades were in full display.

Getting there: From the main camp ground at the end of the road follow the trail down stream staying on the left (North) side of the Wolgan river.

You’ll pass the ruins of the old managers residence, which is worth a look around.

After about a kilometer you will come to a Y intersection at the bottom of a hill. The righthand trail is signposted “Pipeline Trail” go left instead and this will take you up Petries gully.

It’s fairly easy going and straight forward to begin. As you get higher the trail crosses the stream a few times and can be hard to follow as it’s overgrown and washed out the higher you go..

Return: Return the way you came.

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Steps to the managers residence for the Commonwealth Oil Companies shale works
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it’s all a matter of balance
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This one is normally dry

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http://www.mapmyhike.com/routes/view/1407750250

 

 

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