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The seasons first Canyons.

Coachwood, Breakfast Creek, Galah.

Sat 30th Nov, Sun 1st December 2003.

Party:-

  Dave D, Monika B, Theo N, Anita H, Tania K, Steve R, Dug F.

There was one tent at the long paddock when we arrived and we shone the lights on them to make sure it wasn’t the Canberra or other Newcastle contingent.  They would have cursed us even more when we set up camp at my usual spot (I realised too late it was only 200m from them).  I lay listening to the radio quietly until Monika and Dave arrived about 20 mins later.  I did hear Anita and Theo arrive round midnight - from the sleeping bag.  A number of others had pulled out during the week due to the wet and a rotten forecast for the coast again, I looked more closely at the forecasts and decided here would be ok..  A pleasant night and a delightful dawn chorus of local birds to make waking a pleasure. 

We were away by 8 am and started for Coachwood canyon by 8.30.  We stayed up higher this time which meant a bit of a creek bash to the first abseil, a 20m waterfall just before a creek junction.  You land on a narrow scrubby ledge to rig up for another 10m abseil (I knew we should have brought  the two 50m ropes to do it in one go – oh well).  On the ridge tops a fire last autumn has cleared the underbrush but no sign of fire down here, thank goodness.  The first section is a typical open coachwood forest canyon a delight to visit.  The creek winds around a bit and we come to a place I remember you duck under a chock stone on the left and crawl and slide along the watercourse to a sling jammed in the stone.  The others were setting up a rope above but “they just had to” do this one.  Everyone got splashed a little by the waterfall but enjoyed the novelty of the takeoff.  A couple more small abseils and out to Rocky creek, as beautiful as ever always worth a trip.  Funnily, Steve, Tania and I remember doing this canyon from the Breakfast creek side without any abseils, so not sure where we got down to Rocky creek possibly by skirting round a boulder jamb about half way along the canyon  where it turns a corner, not all that clearly.

We wander down stream in Rock Creek to the exit gully on the left-hand side on a sharp bend.  Up, out, then along the ridge to Breakfast creek. We find a tree with some slings singed by last years fire.  We cut these out and replace with a nice new sling, then down the short waterfall into the main gully.  This is very pretty rain forest vegetation and we're soon to the big sloping rock slab with a water slide – very slippery – but not much water.  On down to the next abseil from a tree above a short drop to a 10m long grove ending in a real waterfall down into the mysterious dark chamber.  This is a delightful place once you arrive and your eyes accustom to the subdued green light – a green room.  Tall, long, vaulted chamber, shiny damp black rock walls, cushioned with green moss.  We’re all to soon back to Rocky Creek but this is delightful too.  This time we head upstream.  Dave’s map shows a pass on a bend halfway back to the exit.  I see something that might go and Steve proves it does.  We all get up and then wander over the easy walking ridge system back to the road. On the way, the tall spear wands of the blackboy flowers, creamy white flowers, oozing with nectar, we all could smell the delicate sweet honey/nectar aroma.  If you run your hand up the spear it is coated in nectar to lick off, delicious.  Notice the S shaped stem in the picture.  Of course many other flowers to please the eye on our way.  Back to camp at a reasonable time for a leisurely dinner, enjoying the natural setting, good food and each others company.

Next morning we drive to the locked gate on the side track beside Galah Mountain.  We wander on down the road then down the ridge.  Eventually we need to abseil into the canyon, I haven’t been this way before and can’t find the dead tree that makes a bridge down.  We came in 50 m too soon as it turns out.  This is a delightful wide coachwood section of the canyon for morning tea.    We wander on enjoying the ambience to arrive at the 40m abseil.  Dave goes first then Steve with the next rope, as I’m watching Steve’s decent one strand of the thumb knot roles over the other strand. and I quickly tie another thumb knot in each rope (there is a long tail), that’s it, nothing else occurs to cause me alarm.  When Steve is down I check the knot thoroughly it is secure and safe and we continue abseiling with no problem.  We continue on down the canyon enjoying the experience this is a very pretty, and very varied, well worth the trip again and again.  Down to Rocky creek for lunch perched up high enjoying the sun.  Then on home along just under the cliff line for couple 100 m to the place where we need to use the set rope to get up.  Our climbers all say they are glad the rope is there.  We're soon up and wandering back along Galah Creek well above the canyon which is evident only as a narrow slit seen every now and again way down there.  Dave's map shows a pass a few 100m along again we see a way that Steve proves goes.  May have thought longer if the bush up top wasn’t so forgiving after the recent burn.  Again the blackboy spear flowers and other native flowers add to the enjoyment of the way back to the car.  Back to the cars to pack up camp and head home via kebabs at Richmond.  

Thank you everyone an excellent trip, good company, good food, delightful bush and exciting canyons.  Till next time you join me.  © Copyright 2002 Dug Floyd

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