10 January, 2007


I mentioned I was going to be going canyoning, so now I might give a bit of a Trip Report. It was the Bluies in December and there was no where else I would rather be, so i got a (small) group together. Snail, The Brother In-law (T-bil) and myself and we set off for Bowen's Creek North Branch. (For Snail's post about our canyoning adventure, go to OZ Canyons).
Last time I did this canyon it took forever in part because of a navigation error early in the piece. this time however I knew where I had gone wrong and as such I wasn't going to make that mistake again.
It turned out I didn't need to make that mistake again, because the correct direction was just as difficult to travel on as the wrong way I went last time.
As such we ended up doing an 11 hour bushwalk in wetsuits and carrying 50 mtrs of rope. Not that I'm complaining, but damn I was buggered by the end of the trip.

But as we set out we were thinking 9 hours at most was what it would take us (or I was thinking that and snail and t-bil believed me).
We parked one car at the exit gate and drove back to our start point. t-bil hadn't canyoned much so he was putting his kit together on the side of the road with advice from snail and myself. We then hoofed off following the compass bearing of downhill. It was only a short while before my new white volleys became an old pair of stained volleys, but that meant we had hit the start off the creek.
We followed it down (ever down) chatting idly about something (I don't remember what). It was slow going because there was not much in the way of defined track (just how I like it, it make you feel like an adventurer). Every so often the creek would drop away from us and we'd scramble down to it (no need for ropes [or wetsuits] yet). The first section of the trip (often called the upper section) is a quite pleasant walk along a creek bed with cliffs rising above you on your left and a few (shortish) sections of actual canyon.
But then we got to the lower section and it started to get interesting. It would have been nice to show you some pictures, but my camera dry bag sprang a small leak and my camera stopped working about thirty seconds after we put our wetsuits on. Still Snail might have a few up on his flicker page soon (and they'll be better than the ones I took because they'll have me in them).
This section is a very nice day's travel all by itself (and we'd met a group in the car park who were only doing the lower section - smart people). There are a couple of abseils into deep water and a few long swims, although not as many or as long as there once were. There is something fantastic about being shivering cold in the middlee of an Aussie Summer. that said, last time I did this I was in a spring suit, so I was happy in my full suit this time. Snail had a nice new thick canyoning wetsuit and said he didn't feel cold at all, while poor t-bol was wearing snail's cast off suit with the 'special' ventilation to prevent your man parts overheating. As such you always knew when the water had reached groin hight because of the (high pitched) squeal of surprise.
We reached the end point of the canyon about an hour after we had planned to be back at the cars and were wondering how much light we had left for the climb out, but we were back at the car just as the sun sank quietly behind the mountains, bloody tired, damn sore but giggling like husky schoolgirls and muttering incomprehensible expressions of both delight and some other emotion which I can't name but it involved the feeling of wanting to scream, lay down, run around, sit quietly and eat a lot of very fatty food.
All in all a fantastic day

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