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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Grand Canyon at Night

25-01-2018

Ethan and me

*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

I mentioned to the gang I wanted to do Grand at night this year. At some stage me and Ed discussed doing it the Australia day weekend but as he is a new dad I doubted he’d get the leave pass and so I promptly forgot about it.

Then I get a text, Are you doing the Grand Canyon trip tomorrow night? Ethan is keen

I had completely blanked it from my mind. Had no intention of doing it. I thought Ed must have known someone else doing it….

Now I’m keen thou.

A quick text to Mandy and Tal. Tal was a nope. Mandy was keen with a slightly earlier start. We’re in. Then Mandy had to pull out last minute.

Me and Ethan it is.

With dry lightning strikes causing havoc and starting bushfires in a lot of the canyoning belt I was keeping a close eye on both the weather and the Rural Fire Service updates, as well as NP closures but unlike the rest of the canyoning areas Blackheath got a bit of rain out of Thursday’s storm (10mm) and so it was damp and misty in the valley.

 

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The soft afteroon/post-storm light was awesome

We dropped into the canyon around 6:30pm. Thinking by the time we phaff about with photos things would get dark about halfway through

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The light was eerie and atmoshperic and awesome

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Normally when I try this sort of canyon shot the sky and center is a blaze of washed out over exposure. The light today was something special, very little post editing done here
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The wider bits were still fairly light

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The small cascade near the start

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Ethan negotiating one of the log jams

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Ethan making his way down and the light continues to drop
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It really is a stunning slot
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Again this shot on a point and click camera would be horibly contrasty in normal light conditions. I could have lightened up the sides a bit but thought why bother, that’s how it looks when you are in there

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Ethan contemplating stuff like if snake don’t have eyelids how do they sleep….

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In this light it was hard to see with the lights off but even harder with them on as the mist got reflected back in your eyes like driving in fog with high beams

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and the moody atmosphere kept getting better. I mean sun beams ar great and all but moonbeams are so chill

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Giving the Gand Canyon a Claustral like feel

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Um, we are at the last swim…. Depsite the photo phaffing we seem to have come through super quick. We breifly contemplated following the track back to the start and doing it all again but chose the better idea staying in the canyon, reversing it back to the start and coming down again in darkness. Excellent idea Smithers

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Side creek near the end
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back up we go

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Darker it gets

 

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It’s like 3 different canyons in the different light traveling different directions
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The glowworms came out to play. they are hard to photo well but the little TG4 does OK
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A selfie with some glowworms
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Looking up through a gap in the canyon walls. What are stars and what are glowworms?

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Serveral times we just turned every thing off and sat in silence under the glowworms. It’s a special experience
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Leaf tailed gecko spoted by another group who were heading in as we headed out

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. Lao Tzu

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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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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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Zorro

28-09-2017

Garry, Jodie, James and me

As David Bowie once sang, the only thing I ever got from you was Zorro… or something like that, I was never a fan so could be wrong….

 

Anyhoo it was back up to the plateau for more canyonng fun. Shoes and harness was still damp from yesterday and a bit of drizzle had set in but that wasn’t going to curb my enthusiasm.

This time we took a left and headed out along the Sunnyside ridge trail looking for a couple of short but spectacular canyons.

Our first goal was Zorro and we had no dramas on the way in.

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The entrance was lined with wild flowers
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the canyon gets narrow and deep very quickly.
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Gaz squeezing pass this tenatious tree
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Gaz dropping into the depths
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Jodie in the amazingly straight and narrow canyon
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Jodie watching James and Garry descend the canyon

There follows a tight shimmy down to a cold pool. There is an anchor above so I guess people rope up for it but it looks like tha would be awkward. It is a fairly straight forward down climb.

I have no idea how deep the water is but there are narrow ledges just below the water level so only you feet get wet.

James tries to bridge above the water but is unable to. Wanting to keep his shoes dry he wedges himself above the water level slips off a shoe and hurles it over the rock he thinks marks the end of the water. It makes a big splash in the small pool just beyond the rock…. No dry feet for you.

 

Then the canyon suddenly opens out in to the gorgeous Z chamber which links the parallel fault lines the entrance and exit passages follow

Then it’s more bridging over what is usually a long pool but in this dry spell it’s starting to dry up

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Then all that is left is a final abseil to exit, but before we do Gaz shimmies around the ledge to check out the views

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A quick scramble around the base of the cliff brings us to the exit slot, which is a nice, short canyon in it own right looking like something out of Jarassic park

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Once ontop we slip out the ridge inbetween the two slots with the idea of having lunch in the sun with a view

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Wind and drizzle interupt our plans and we abandond that idea and head back to the car

It’s not even noon so we do a quick car shuffle and go head in to check out some other features near by.

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James heads into the Crack of Doom!!!

 

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The Crack of Doom!!! with appropriate skull shaddow

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gaz in Crack Of Doom!!! 2
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Jodie in Crack of Doom!!!2 with gaz on rope above
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Gaz in Crack of Doom!!!2
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Cathedral Canyon
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Cathedral canyon

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James taking in the grandour of Cathedral canyon
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Gaz and Jodie soaking in the ambience
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The Cathedral

Then it was back up the Crack of Doom!!! 2 for an easy exit

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This poor goanna never made it out

And back tot he car for a much earned beerio.

Party size:4 all experienced

Time: about 5 hours total for both canyons

 

 

 

 

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…
― John Muir

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What a Nightmare!!!

Nightmare canyon

19/08/17

Tim, Kent, Sheila, Marchelle, Ev, John, Doug, Craig, Pete and me

 

Nightmare canyon, it sounds, um, nightmarish but it’s a pleasant, if somewhat short, canyon in the Wolgan valley with some interesting abseils.

I’ve been enjoying heading out with Tim, Kent and their band of canyon addicts, they run great, well organised trips.

Anyhoo, it was back to the Wolgan and up everyones favourite little hill, the Pipeline trail

click to enbiggen

You can’t walk up the pipeline without a side trip to the lookout. It’s the law.

Click to enlarge

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Hazard reduction burn late last year has left the ridge denuded of the usual nightmareish scrub
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And it wasn’t long until we drop into our creek
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Tim leads down the second drop which looks delightfully…. I mean nightmarishly tight
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And it just gets worse
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Horrible Canyon formation
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They look terrified don’t they
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The kind of absiel that wakes you at night in a cold sweat
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Ev hugging the log for comfort
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What terror awaits us around this corner? Probably a demented clown or something, We’ll let the girls go first

Marchelle disappearing into the abysys

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Everyone knows lime green is Disney’s colour for evil

 

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I have no words
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Tim battleing a evil split rope
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Oh the horror
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One step closer to the edge

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Total nightmare
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My go next
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Actually this aint so bad
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More like a sweet dream really…

Well except when you plunge into the nut deep pool. My outie became and innie again.

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Oh sure they pull Kent across so he doesn’t get wet… Favouritism
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Ok The halfway ledge has it’s moments
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Like the fossilised remains of this dragon

But it also has it’s grandour.

Click to make huge

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Then all too soon we are back in the valley at the ruins.

 

Party Size: big but all experienced and a rope for every drop

Time: 6.5hrs car to car

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing views…” Edward Abby

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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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A Glen Davis Adventure

29/07/2017

Kent, Tim and their band of merry adventurers.

Glen Davis is a bit of a canyoners paradise. A quick scan of the clifflines shows slots carving through the sandstone pretty much everywhere you look. Yet being a bit further from Sydney the canyons are less frequented than those in the Blue Mountains or over the hill in the Wolgan. Publicised track notes are also scarce and getting up through the cliff lines takes a good bit of route finding, navigation and rock scrambling (if not outright climbing) skills.

All of this means the canyons here retain a bit more of a wild, explorationy feel. It is an epic location.

When Kent sent out an invitation to do the Coin Slot lets just say I was keen as mustard.

it was going be a large group but the plan was to split into smaller groups and take different routes up. Just about every one was carrying ropes and the first group to get to the canyon would set the ropes and the last group would retrieve them before we all met at the base of the last abseil.

I pick up Peter and Ben and we meet the others at Capertee. I’m so use to pulling into the car park, grabbing packs and heading off. This standing around socialising is a all a bit of a novelty.

We roll down into Glen Davis and regroup. More socialising. This is going to be a relaxing day. or is it?

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The narrow slot in the shadow centre of shot is our goal. First though we somehow need to get up through those cliff lines.

Big groups are often hard to get organised but Kent is the consummate ring master and he gathers everyone together, gives the spiel on how the  day is to go and splits us into our group. Climbers here, scramblers there. and we’re off.

The groups soon spread out on the haul up the steep fall zone to the base of the cliffs

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It’s a steep scramble from the river up to the base of the cliff

We gain a lot of elevation quickly but the clifflines still tower above us and the route is not overly obvious.

We harness up. The first pitch is pretty simple. 1 balancey move as you step across a gap and you’re basically up. Autal makes short work of it and I follow him and set ropes. the rest of the group will be roped up. Ruth joins me to haul packs while I belay the others as they climb up one by one.

With everyone up it’s a traverse along a narrow ledge with stunning views before we wind our way up and onto a sucession of ledges.

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I think I spent most of my day capturing this view from different vantage points

The zig zagging route takes us through some stunning erosion caves with sands of  different colours and textures.

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Working our way up through zig zagging ledges beneath erosion caves.

 

I’m caught up in the experience and am snapping photos of the views.

Craig and James we need you guys up this bit next to set ropes on the last pitch. Calls Kent. Apparently we are the “climbers” in the group.

The next pitch is fairly simple as far as technicality goes. Someone has already managed to get up  and so the rope is set by the time I get there. Again one or two moves that are difficult more from the exposure than the moves themselves. We are now along way up. Maybe 50 meters above the base of the cliff, which itself is a hundred meters or so above the river so it becomes a head game.

One step out then up and around. Foot holds are solid and plentyiful but at one stage the hand holds are slopers. I get up and replace Kent who has been on top belay. He goed ahead and direct people through the next section.

I take over rope duties to belay others us to a small ledge below the final climbing pitch. Trust your feet, says I more then once.

Over the radios we hear the first group has already made it to the canyon. With a small group of experienced climbers this route would be quick and easy. The size of our group has definitely slowed things down but we are not in a hurry and it’s all part of the experience and the views were breath taking on a stunning winters day.

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Kent doing a tip top job at keeping the large group under control and moving

A bit of a bottle neck is forming on the small ledge between these two pitches. James has managed to free solo the next pitch and drop a rope down and so he starts belaying others up the last pitch as I bring the last of the group up mine.

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the view for the ledge below the 3rd pitch. That little clearing left of centre is just up stream of where we left our cars. Check out that big nose of rock hanging out of the cliff on the right.

The last pitch is the longest we’ll do, maybe 6 or 7 meters, it’s only about grade 9 or 10 but again you are a long way up and it seems like there is nothing but air between your feet and the river several hundred meters below. It’s an awe inspiring place to be.

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The nose always goes: Sometimes.
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Trust your feet. Nichole on the second of the roped pitches

The last pitch starts on small holds and foot placements are smeers more than anything. But with a bit of assistance on the first meter or two everyone gets over it and from there the climb is pretty simple. As people top out they head off towards the canyon. By the time I’m up and James coils the rope it’s just the two of us.

Sue and Sonya wait for us at one of the turns and Kent waits to lead us through the final bit of scrub. The first group have left ropes set up so all we need to do is head on in and retrieve ropes as we go. So despite the big group we were spread out and you were only ever in groups of two or three with little to no waiting at the abseils. The groups chopped and changed a bit as people waited to help cart ropes out and others went ahead.

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James dropping into the creek

 

 

 

 

 

Click images to enlarge

The unique heart shaped chock stone is the iconic image of this trip. it’s a nice drop and you don’t notice the shape until you look back up from just down stream.

And then the creek drops down into an stunning dark slot.

 

 

 

 

click to enlarge

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Kent descending the first big abseil into the dark slot

It was here we struck the only glitch in the smooth running of the day. The rope refused to pull.

Kent scrambled up the bottom drop, throwing himself backward over the lip, legs akimbo. I’ve heard of looking up old friends but that was a bit much. Nichole averted her eyes…

Trying different angles the rope still wouldn’t budge. I climb up to Kent and between our combined weight of mumblemumble kilos and a bit of backwards and forwards on the different rope ends we manage to free it with out needing to resort setting up Z lines or the like.

The biggest hold up of the descent, 15min freeing a jammed rope. Not too shabby.

Just around the corner it looks as though the slot is finished but it wasn’t done with yet and the best was yet to come.

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Nichole on rope with the stunning view of the valley in the back ground.

The “Coin slot” abseil it breath taking. A scramblie start then down through a hole and the bottom of the world seems to fall out from under you. It looks and feels far higher than it is. I lock off to try and get a photo looking down but as I take my top hand off the rope I start to swing back…. Um normally on a big drop my pack is pretty much empty. As rope mule this time around I have 2 60m ropes in there. Lesson learnt. I quickly grab the rope as a guide and continue down. Photos can wait.

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Sue coiling ropes at the bottom of the fourth abseil. This is my favourite shot of the trip. What an awe inspiring place

Oh did you notice the faces in the rock?

faces

And still we weren’t done.

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Sue bridging out to get to the final anchor

 

 

 

 

Click images to enbiggen

With the group back together for the first time since we left the cars we dolled out ropes and head off back down the hill.

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Hi Ho

All in all an enjoyable day with a great bunch of people.

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Group size: Large but spread out with lots of ropes and capable leaders

Time: About 6.5hr car to car with bottle necks on the climbs

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of
changing himself.”
Leo Tolstoy

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A wander around some Wollangambe wilderness

08-07-2017

Ed, Etham, Ciaus, Jake and me.

Another trip to this short but pretty dryish canyon out the back of Clarence, and a stop at Goochs Crater on the way back

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This is an awesome sheltered cave. The creek, when it’s running flows through the back of it.
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Venturing up the stuning side canyon. First recorded exploration of this slot by a bushwalking club was a group from Sydney Uni Bush Walking club in 1962, though I suspect Col Oloman would have visited previously either on one of his solo trips or with friends as they explored the areas through here across to the Bungleboori and beyond. Neither bothered to name it.
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I keep forgetting how short this slot is. You get caught up in the light and ambience and time ceases to have meaning
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the large cave in a 180 bend in the canyon.It’s like another world. Ciaus and Ed desided when society falls apart this might be a good place to live
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Ed in one of the more open twists and turns in the very narrow upper section of canyon
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tight and twisting canyon formation
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Ed on the peak, the canyon carves around either side of him. The cave at the bend can be seen in the cliff line, though the scale of it is hiddne by the trees
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We seem to be climbing out to look down on the top of canyons a lot lately
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Ciaus and Jake as the canyon opens out slightly near the cave
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Ed in the canyon
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On our way back out

Then it was over the ridge and out to Goochs Crater

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Ed looking down on the cliff lined swamp known as Gooches crater
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Looking down on Ed and Ethan through the Sky light in Goochs arch
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It’s an interesting feature
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Jake heading over to join Ethan and Ed under the arch
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It really is impressive
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Jake in the well used camp/party cave looking back towards the arch

All in all a pleasant winters day in the bush

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“Life must be lived as play.” – Plato.