Boorai Ridge to Crawfords Lookdown
BWRS Induction Walk September 20th 21st
Geoff, Mark, John, Derek, Hazel, Sue, Keith, Thais, Peter, Rick, Lesley, Keith, Dug.
I drove from Newcastle via the New England Highway and the Putty Road, arriving at Culoul Ridge Road turn off about 21:30. I slept in the Honda to save time in the morning. A clear starry night cool but not cold, pleasant.
A convoy lead by the troopie arrived about 7:20, as expected. I tucked in behind for the 12km track drive to the Crawfords parking area. No real problems, one fallen tree (small) to clear. Two cars arrived at our parking spot, the two occupants doing a similar walk to us.
We did the usual in a circle introduction thing. 14 of us for this trip, split into two teams by Geoff. One team including all the new inductees lead by Geoff and Mark to do the trip Crawfords Lookdown, Colo River, Boorai Ridge. The other team lead by the two Keith's doing the reverse trip. We walked to “Hollow Rock” a feature shown on the map 150m away, along the ridge. An interesting rock formation, I guess the name says it all.Back at the cars we rationalised our packs to reduce individual pack weight. 7 of us so we took 3 flies, (two members preferred to take there own tents), one stove, two hand lines, between us. I was trying out my lightweight gear for the first time “Golite?” brand pack, “Snugpack” synthetic sleeping bag, “indent?” sinylon fly, Exped sleeping mat, total weight less than 10kg with food and water and everything.
We headed off on a bearing of 155° magnetic to locate the broad ridge with a disused road going our way. Matthew suggests this road was put in during the 70s as part of the assessment for the development of a Colo dam for an additional Sydney’s water supply. The project didn’t go ahead on environmental grounds, but I doubt it would have been value for money any way. We eventually left the road and soon arrive at a lookdown with splendiferous views, of much of our walk in the Colo, upstream from the Boorai Creek, Colo River junction below and then beyond to the forested wilderness plateaus around us. We met the other two walkers here they intend much the same walk as us and they leave first to get ahead.
The landscape here is generally a flat plateau through which the steams have cut deep, cliff sided valleys as the sandstone plateau was up-lifted millions of years ago, very spectacular. Usually streams flow down the sides of mountain ranges, but here the Colo flows right through the Great Dividing Range, from the low land way over to the west through the mountains to join up with the Hawkesbury River flowing into the Pacific Ocean to our east. Geologically interesting and very beautiful and strange.
The foot pad from here is steep enough in places, as it leads us the creek junction below. A lovely sunny day, very pleasant to be out and about. Tall forest of Blue Gum and Tallowwood, only light scrub. At the Colo about 11:30. We stay on bank left to walk upstream, the vegetation is quite reasonable, nowhere near as thick as other places in the Colo.
Delightful walking with the tall brown bluffs of sandstone either side of a gently flowing river of clear cold water. The river bed is, pools (too deep to comfortably cross), separated by rocky rapids or long golden sandy beds. A gorgeous sunny day, we can see the effects of the forecast fierce winds way up in the cliff top trees, but only an occasional breeze down here. We are making reasonable time probably better than 1km/h, good for creek walking. One of our party has a much to heavy pack and need to stop frequently, because they are carrying a tent and enough bottled water for the whole trip (doesn’t trust natural water – all of the rest of us drink from the Colo with no ill effects). Lunch in a pleasant sunny spot with chirpy chit chat to complement the delightful day and place. We walk past the exit passes No 5 and No 6 from the Colo sketch map, (No 5 would seem to provide a challenge to start down low but that may have been deceptive from this the wrong side of the river).
About 15:30 we pass our other party coming down stream and mention a reasonable camping spot a little down stream from out meeting place. They tell of many glorious flat smooth camping spots from about 30 minutes upstream. We keep walking and cross the river at a shallow sandy part, (the others indicated that this side becomes bluffed out further on). Around 16:20 we find a series of flat sand ledges that will provide a big enough sleeping space. There is even a rock overhang so no real need to erect the flies. We soon settle down with, sleeping spots selected and a good cooking fire, ready for cuppas and later dinner.
A most pleasant night, not too cold and no dew here. Three of us sleep under the stars at the lower level above the river while the others sleep on the upper level in tents, fly or under the overhang.
A most pleasant night gives way to a gradual lightening of the sky, with the as always magnificent dawn bird chorus. What a way to come awake. We take our time packing up and preparing and eating breakfast, to be away about 07:30.
The Colo river is a wonderful rugged scenic place to be, as we wend our way upstream to the junction with Wollemi Creek. At the junction there is a deep pool in the Wollemi so we elect to cross the shallow sandy bottomed Colo and stay on bank right. At the Munee Creek junction, where the long spur causes the bend in the Wollemi we cross and eat lunch while enjoying the magnificent views on a wonderfully sunny day.
We find our way onto the spine of the spur but soon conclude this is not the way to go. After some tooing and frowing we eventually find a footpad further up stream. This proves to go with a scramble here and there. My ankle is still not fully functional yet and I chose to get a helping hand in a couple of places, which I found too difficult. As we ascend the views open out, what a great place to be.
Crawfords Lookdown has magnificent views down the Colo, from where we walked and upstream in the Wollemi.
Now it is only a matter of following the ridge till we pick up a track that takes us back to the cars, where we find Geoff’s team is waiting for us.
A great walk with great company, thank you every one. Till next time. © Dug Floyd, September 2008