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Mt Banks, David Crevasse, Grose Valley, Bluegum Forest, Little Bluegum, Victoria Falls.

August 8-9-10 2003

Party:-

  Amie, Steve, Rob, Dug.

The CRV carries us smoothly and quietly down the rough gravel track to Mt Banks car park.  We can see a bright welcoming campfire between the trees, then we see the purpley-blue Hilux dual cab, Amie is here before us as expected.  She had the day off and came early.  Pleasant, cool, refreshing air.  Clear, moonlit, starry night, we have it all, stellar, astral, lunar, Milky Way.  Mt Banks shows just over there, the vast cliffs of the Grose visible there, there and there, the rolling plateau, other mountains, the lights of Sydney way over in the distance muted by the moon light.  Nowhere near as cold as Goulbourn NP last week or the noted Garden of Frosts a couple of weeks earlier.  In fact very pleasant, a perfect start for an adventure.  We chat and catch-up around the fire, after all we haven't seen each other since the canyon trip in January.

Map of Gross Valley

A pleasant night to sleep out under the stars, even if the forecast southerly did arrive before midnight.  A bit blowy during the night but we are relatively sheltered.  We ease awake with the dawn but take our time emerging permanently from the sleeping bags.  Breakfast over we pack and did the car shuffle to Victoria Falls, early.  Rob has arrived when we get back so we heave on packs and away.  I say heave deliberately because with ropes and harnesses and extra water we’re well loaded, Rob has his daughters travelling scales, Amie with 23.5kg is heaviest, mine at 18.5kg is the lightest (still to much).  Damn, why did he use those scales?

Very Scenic whichever way you look Were away by 8:30 bright in sunshine but a cold wind, air so clear that you think you can see forever.  We walk over a good park service road, very scenic, whichever way you look.  Tall cliffs of brown and red and yellow mark the valley of the Grose and Govetts' Gorge, deep chasms cut by streams over the millennia.  There are rolling forest, strange rock formations and way, way, over there on the horizon, the faint silhouette skyline of Sydney. 

We dive off into the scrub at a saddle between Edgeworth David Head and Frank Hurly Head, trend left into the head of the creek and then down into the delightful rainforest gully of David Crevasse.  Steep going but easy enough for this crew, a scramble down here, climb over a vine there, dodge the lawyer vine wherever.  Were all enjoying the way down.  The first abseil is only small (more a climb down with hand line) but Amie and Rob are not sure about this abseiling with heavy weekend packs so we use it as a practice.  No problems.  The next abseil also requires the short rope a bit longer, still no problems.  Next the first of the longer rope abseils, again no difficulty. 

We carry on getting deeper and deeper in the slot another 3 abseils everything seeming greener and greener and more earthy.  Green moss on the rocks, green ferns, green vegetation, rotting black and brown leaf litter greener and Greenerunderfoot, the narrowness of the slot and the tree foliage high above limiting the sunlight.  The next abseil is down with a chock stone just behind us,  for interest and then the last, proves to be interesting.  Quite narrow and slippery with several chock stones forming overhangs necessitating good technique to not jamb the descender on the rock.   Amie manages to get tipped back due to the weight of the pack and the slipperiness, nearly hitting here head but recovers in time.  Every one finds it hard work forcing there pack down through the narrow bits but were all down safely.  Then were out onto the scree slope above the Grose for lunch in the sun. 

Very imposing cliffs just beside us, in fact all around us, they continue over the other side of the valley too.  Great place for lunch, sitting on a rock in the sun, beside the tree ferns, out of the wind, bird calls filling the air.  A goodly selection of gourmet foods consumed, we waddle on across the scree to an easy spur that leads to Bluegum Forest (about 2 km).  Passage made easier due to the fires last summer, but you do tend to get a bit black each time you touch a tree or plant. 

Bluegum Forest is one of those places people are meant to be.  Tall straight trees, some big girth, others more slender, only light scrub, flat ground, but it is the colours that amaze you, blue-grey yellow and green and clear air, this time of the year.  It will be that delightful pail blue a little later with the faint blue haze of the mountains in summer.  We find the strangely marked spiral tree but it isn't at its best at the moment.  It has a series of holes in a straight line, up high, with a brown stain vertically down from each them.  Other trees exhibit the same markings.  There is some debate wether it is a high-powered rifle or insects.  (Just to add to the mystery, in the depths of the night we hear a series of what sound like shots from a high-powered weapon, ring out).

We join the track that takes us towards Pierces Pass and Victoria Falls, about 30 mins on we stop to camp on a flat area elevated above the river near Little Bluegum Forest.  Three of us plan to sleep out (tents left at the car to reduce weight) but I do put up a fly as a rune against the forecast showers.   A pleasant place to spend the night, amongst the trees, in a valley with high cliffs reflecting the moonlight and the tinkle of the brook nearby.  We all eat well and then share the Tim Tams before lapsing into spasmodic conversation preferring to lap up the atmosphere.

In the morning we take out time getting ready to leave, after all it wont be a big day.  Walking in the Grose Gorge is always great, yesterday was ideal today is perfect, sunny very light breeze, clear air, clear sky.  When you live in paradise why not take advantage of the facilities.  We stroll along admiring the Bluegum Forset views, hearing the birds, the brook, the rustling trees, admiring the subtle bush scents, in harmony with the world.  The rocks in the stream display the story of their making, some have circular holes drilled in them by past river action, others are oval or round from the grinding action that created the circular holes, some are angular and sharp as they just broke, others are rounded and smooth with time. 

We all enjoy the walk to Victoria Falls where we stop for lunch sitting in the sun on the rocks above the river.  Well, Rob did find his way up to sit high in the over hang behind the thin veil of falling water.  Victoria Falls has a higher fall onto a flat rock platform, which extends out into space for the water to flow over into a gossamer veil swirled by the light breeze on its way to the pool below.

We have only seen two other parties up to now probably due to Govetts Leap and Grand Canyon tracks being closed.  Here we meet several parties doing the falls.  Rob is worried about the number of contours up to the car park but he needn't have because he is only 5 mins behind Steve and Amie and not even out of breath.

A great trip with great company, I enjoy this way into the Grose.  Thank you folks for your companionship and support, till next time.  © Copyright 2003 Dug Floyd.

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