CANYONING – NEWNES VALLEY – Log Slide – 19 February 2017
After our Big Day in Looking Glass, we were hoping for a much easier day. John was being very mysterious about the canyon for the day. Apparently, years ago, around the date of his birthday John would put on a mystery canyon where you knew nothing about the day (not even the name or whether or not to bring a wetsuit). So, we didn’t have a clue what to expect.
Beth and Andre decided that (in the interests of looking after Beth’s dodgy ankle that she’d jarred in Looking Glass), they’d take the day off and catch a bacon & egg McMuffin on the way home. The rest of us set off up the pass behind the camp ground, leaving Cat’s husband Garth in charge of packing up their camp.
Over the course of the next hour or two, John gave us the low-down. Apparently, this canyon is listed in the Michael Keats encyclopaedia of bushwalks and place names, so, whilst it’s not well known, it has been “published” so to speak.
Although I’ve been told that Newcastle Bushwalking Club visited the creek circa 1970, and there was another visit by someone else in the 1990s, I’m sure there have been heaps of visitors over the years since this infrastructure was placed (possibly in the early 1900s), but those that have visited since then, didn’t think that the creek itself (or the canyon) was worthy of naming.
So, what’s behind the name Log Slide? According to Michael Keats, he named the “canyon” because of the hand chiselled square holes that are positioned at 1m intervals (I think some were way more apart than 1m), forming a constant slope down the canyon. He says that in places you could see several examples of cross beams wired to each other forming support trusses for the deck of the slide. I didn’t see any of these trusses in the canyon.
We’ve all surmised that in the 1900s, upstream of the lower section of the canyon, there must have been a good stand of Coachwood trees. They’re not there now, there are some, but certainly not as many as would have been there in the 1900s. They would have logged as far up as the waterfall abseil, dragged the logs down to the start of the canyon where John is standing in the photo below, and then slid them down over the horizontal logs.
We were able to stay on the bullock track for a while, then lost it and it was just a slippery slope down to the junction of the creek where we picked up a very old fire trail which led back to the Wolgan River.
We were back at the cars by 2pm (or thereabouts) a nice 5.5hr trip, we then had custard cake (courtesy of Garth & Cat), Tim Tams (thanks Jo) and more Ice Creams (courtesy of John), it doesn’t get much better than that does it!
John’s Mystery Canyon weekends are usually around his Birthday in February and with the enthusiasm that this one generated, I think he’s putting his thinking cap on even as I write to come up with a good one for next year!