Australia Day Long weekend Canyons
Jan (23)-24-25-26 2004
Tania, Monika, Roger, Ned, Billy, Dave, Johno, Gabriel, Larel, Dug.
The Australia day long weekend was great. We base camped at Mt Wilson and had groups from Canberra (Monika, Roger, and kids; Dave, Johno, Gabriel), Berrima (Jim and Dan), Springwood (Tania), I was the only one from Newcastle and trained to Sydney with all the gear and went up with Tania from Strathfield. Weather was thundery in the afternoons with a few showers but mostly sunny on Saturday and Monday. The train trip home for me Monday night was heavy with all the wet gear, but :-).
Dave, Johno, Gabriel, Monika and 2 kids did Wollangambe 1. They all really enjoyed it (Roger had picked up a virus and spent the day in bed). Tania, Jim and I did Serendipity, then Whungee Wheengee both were great although this is the second time in two years that I have done Whungee Wheengee in a thunderstorm. Fortunately not as dark nor as much rain this year. Still dark enough in the three underground swims though. The water level was down a bit and we didn't need to duck underwater to get under the chock stones. Still it is dark mysterious and scary in the half light of the half light. You wouldn't believe it but it poured rain just as we got to the road to cross to the camping area, so our dry clothes were soaked to finish the day. Luckily the others were back and the rain-proof fire was lit. It only rained for a few minutes. A pleasant evening round the fire drying out eating home made hummus and olives appertisers, followed by more splendid food, of course.
Overcast all day, Tania, Monika, Dave, Johno, Jim, Dan and I did the whole length Ranon. Great canyon but I would have preferred some of the ancient Egyptian Sun God Ra the canyon is named after to have been showing feeling a bit cold at the time. I used to believe it was "rain on" because in one longish section you get rained on from above, by water dripping from a great height, but then today Ra none is correct. As we did the car shuffle, we met a party of 12 doing Ranon, exiting Mistake Ravine. We ended up finding and following their fresh track through the scrub to ease our way through the first scrubby part of the creek. We caught up again at the first abseil, as the last three were to go. Hardly any hold up from then on as we only saw them briefly twice, so they were very efficient. Thunder over head as we were halfway through the first abseil, bit thought provoking, luckily only slight rain. First time any of us had done this top part of Ranon, there are a number of abseils and a couple of possible jumps (on a nicer day). Really an excellent way to get to Claustral. Everyone found the final abseil into Claustral “interesting” (including me because the ropes were as tangled as I have ever had them and I had to sort it all out hanging around 1/4 way down (I did make use of a small ledge to give some stability :-)). The creek junction really is nice very deep narrow cliffy gorge the walls green with moss and ferns and tree ferns and a big cascade water fall beside us (not much water this trip unfortunately, then perhaps just as well). We caught up with a party of five at the exit and a party of two caught up with us. Both these canyons have tall narrow walk through sections, tall hanging gardens of canyon vegetation, ferns, tree ferns, couch wood, moss, etc. It is no wonder most people consider Claustral as the definitive canyon (it has a shorter walk in than Ranon or Mistake Ravine). One advantage of a weather induced "off" day, fewer people.
Gabriel with Roger and the two boys did a local walk and Zigzag Railway, they had a ball. I never tire of walking this area and sampling its delights
Dave and party had to get back to Canberra to "do things" and left early. Roger was sill not well enough to canyon so, he Monika and boys planed to do Mt Irvine and then Glow-worm Tunnel.
Tania, Dan, Jim and I did Yileen Canyon for a short easy day. (A couple of our newer canyoners are feeling a bit stiff by now). A lazy start for the day, so we start walking in bright sunshine about 9:30. Tania doesn't take a wet suit because the swims aren't long, I do because in the last few weeks I have spent too long in cold water and need the comfort and will carry the weight. We all enjoy Yileen, the jumps, the wades, the swims and the two abseils. The second into the Gross is a beauty 55m high (if you have enough rope, we don't and land on a ledge 10m from the base). From the clip on point at the top you cannot see the landing, you can only see further on down into the Gross Valley 100-150m below. Lots of calls and yells as people descend and stop to take in the views (I manage to get a clean toss of the ropes and no problems this time). Back to the car by 2pm for a wonderful day. Thank you everyone for your great company. Well done Dan on his first canyon and Jim and Johno on their second outing. © Copyright 2004 Dug Floyd