DEANES CREEK – DECEMBER 2015
Tiger Snake Carpark > unnamed ridge > unnamed side creek > Deanes Creek > unnamed side creek > Deanes Creek > Tiger Snake exit track
A year or so ago, John L’E and I had done a recce of Deanes Creek as an overnight walk. It was a great walk and we had a lot of fun but it wasn’t the full walk … we had to go back. So, I called John up and said “let’s finish it off John, do the whole thing”. I had ulterior motives, I also wanted to walk up a side creek and check out the upper reaches of one of its tributaries to see if it ended in a 35m waterfall, then I’d know whether that was the elusive Folly (my trip from January when I said I’d have to back and check out another tributary, this would save me a day trip out there and it would only be a short side trip).
Heather R and another BWOC member joined us, Greg G. We all met up at the car park and set out, with me doing the navigation.
I was following a bearing from where I had marked on my map that the Tiger Snake car park was. Now, straight away I was in trouble but I didn’t know it. In year’s gone by I must have just estimated where the car park was (and had never bother to confirm the location with the trusty GPS). So, we blithely wandered off into the bush and instead of going on a bearing of x degrees (to get to our little side creek, we went on a bearing of z degrees and ended up at a different tributary. At the top of the tributary I realised my error and we debated the options of back tracking (not all that far), or just going down this side creek and seeing what was there (the option we chose). As it happened, this was a fortuitous decision.
We made our way down and started walking in the creek, and, much to our surprise the it started to resemble a canyon. The sandstone walls of the creek were undercut and eroded, and there were lots of little drop downs and in one section after a rock fall, there were what looked like two camp caves. John climbed up but Heather couldn’t quite make it, even when she went around the back and tried to get up a slot (John had to do a classic abseil to get down from the cave).
We continued on downstream and suddenly came to a cliff-face that we couldn’t get down, large drops on both sides, after some scouting, Heather found a route down (a bit sketchy in places), but that at least got us down and we were able to take a look at the small waterfalls that we’d missed.
We continued to walk downstream, fairly easy going on the banks and the coachwood forests were lovely. Before too long we passed the side creek that we would have come down if I hadn’t stuffed up. We were all rather happy about the mistake though, we would have missed out on that lovely little creek if I hadn’t and we wouldn’t have known about the cliff and potential abseil!
We were now in “known country” that John and I had walked down before so we continued downstream, now in Deanes Creek. There is one challenge that I was looking forward to, a waterfall/deep pool that we’d sidled around to the side and John had done a classic abseil down from a tree (a drop of about 4 or 5m). I took one look at the overhang at the bottom and decided the classic wasn’t for me so I shimmied down a log. I took everyone down the log this time, we had a handline to steady us, it was an interesting descent.
Once down, we took a look at the pool that we had skirted around, lovely! We continued downstream, passing one lovely campsite (that John had used before), but it was a bit too early, I wanted to at least make a side creek on the left, so we continued on saying that if we didn’t reach our creek by 3pm then we’d start looking around. Well, 3pm came and lo and behold we were at the side creek, so we walked upstream about 50m and there was our campsite for the night (which John and I had used before), with an overhang if we needed it, and water on tap. There weren’t very many spots to pitch a tent but we made do, and found plenty of fire wood, so we soon had a nice fire going.
Next morning we broke camp and headed out, I said watch out for that branch to those behind me but poor Greg either didn’t hear, or was just that much taller than he thought he was. He copped a nasty cut on his nose, Dr Heather to the rescue and we soon had it covered over and the blood was staunched.
The walk down Deanes Creek was much as one would expect although John swears blind that there was more dead and fallen wood than the previous year we were there. The ferns were thick and at one point so thick that I almost disappeared amongst them. The occasional big log to cross was a bonus!
By 10am we were down at the side creek that I wanted to explore, so we downed packs got out our day packs and started upstream. It was a hot day and the going was pretty tough, although if you picked the right route it wasn’t all that bad. Nevertheless, it took about an hour to get up to the bottom of the little tributary that I’d looked up 6 weeks ago and wondered if the Bell’s Folly waterfall was up there. So, we continued upstream, and up and up and up, After about half an hour (and lots of logs and branches to step over), we were quite high up and I determined by looking at the cliff-lines that there was no way looking ahead that there would be a 35m waterfall up there. For one thing, there wasn’t any water, or a watercourse of note, the other was that the cliff lines around us were only 20 or so meters by now. So, once again, I’d not succeeded in finding this canyon, so back to the drawing board! We retraced our steps, a lot easier going downstream than up, and were back at Deanes Creek by lunchtime, found a nice spot in the shade and took a well earned rest.
After that it was pretty straight forward, down Deanes to the Tiger Snake Creek, we turned up it and trudged on. I’d been up this route once before and was fairly sure of where I wanted to go and almost intuitively I headed up the side of the creek and made a bee-line for the cliff-base, and there it was, the footpad out of Tiger Snake Canyon. A bit of a climb up and we were well on our way out. We did take a breather at the Big Pagoda to admire the view and look at where we had been over the last two days.
Well, that’s it, another adventure crossed off the Wish List, it was a lovely walk, and having explored quite a bit of that area now, I have in mind a few other routes, taking in the best of both Deanes and our little entry creek, a lot can be done on day walks, but an overnight affords the opportunity to explore much more. Thanks for coming with me John, Greg and Heather!