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

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

25-01-16

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