When you don’t know what you don’t know

NEWNES PLATEAU – 14 June 2020
I’ve been to Ethereal Canyon twice over the last three years, and I thought I’d pretty much nailed it, mind you, I didn’t have any track notes at the time, but I found sections of canyon, so I assumed I’d seen everything that this little creek system had to offer.  Just goes to show, you shouldn’t assume anything.

John G put the trip on the MSS calendar because I told him that I’d taken a route down (past the rock-fall constriction) to the efflux of the boulder choke (John hadn’t found this route) and that there were canyon sections downstream. When he showed me the route he was intending to go in by, and where he said canyon sections were, it was totally different to the way I went in, a different side creek entirely!  Now I was super keen to see more.

The group as we set off (l-r Trish, Diana, Anna, Felix, John, me and Rod – Kathy took the photo), socially distancing as we should. It had rained a lot during the night so we were expecting to be rained upon this morning, but as it turned out the weather was perfect.

This is the headwaters of the creek we’d be walking down as you can see, severely burned. In some areas it was definitely hammered, but further downstream, there was no evidence of the fires.

The convenient ramp that we walked down.

This small waterfall was about 50m upstream, apparently known by Keates & Co as “Thorpe’s Folly”. I’m guessing Ian Thorpe (who was on the walk with Keates) fell into the pool.

Heading downstream, the creek soon constricted, and this was a pool we needed to get around (trying to stay dry).  Diana checking it out.

Some, including me, crawled through on the ledge, John definitely made it look easier.

We soon came to some excellent canyon sections (photo:  John G).  If I’d just explored up this side creek I would have found it, mind you, I visited the main creek in drought conditions, so I didn’t see how much water was coming in on this side creek.

John in a particularly spectacular part of the canyon (Photo: Felix)

It was a short walk after the canyon section down the creek to the junction (which is where I had walked).

It’s a lovely creek regardless of the canyon sections.

Another nice section.

And more.

Very green.

You can avoid this section by walking up on the bank, but then you miss how pretty it is.

The floor of a cave, about 1m above the creek bed level, shows you how high the creek came up during the February rain even, and how long it took to go down, all the water would have banked up all the way up the creek due to the block-up further downstream.

Before long we arrived at the boulder section, where there’d been a significant rock fall many years ago.  Felix going down a hole to check if there is now a route through to the other side of the block up.  This hole is much larger after the rain event, but it only went in a few metres.  Rod went down another hole but it didn’t go very far either.

Everyone at the block-up, waiting for Felix to come back out of the hole.

At this point we split up.  John took a group to see if they could get down to the efflux, without having to swim the pool.  I took Kathy and Diana down the traditional route to get down into the stream.  John had not found this route on his previous trip, so, the next section of the creek would be new to him.

John using the rope to get down a hole to the efflux. (Photo:  Felix)

Felix at the efflux of the creek, Felix went in quite a way, but eventually was stopped by a wall of rock. (Photo: John G)

Lots of Glow Worms in the cave (photo: John Gray)

This is the efflux where the water comes out after going underground for about 20m. This is a deep pool, the first time we visited this, it was almost dry, only got wet up to our knees and we were able to walk right up to a small waterfall at the end.

Diana still had dry feet and shoes at this time, but this pool challenged her, just no way around it easily.

Walking downstream towards the exit (Photo: John Gray)

We retraced our steps back up the creek to the efflux and decided to take a high route, to avoid a fallen tree and to also avoid a large pool that I’d come across on my first trip and didn’t think we’d get past, without getting very, very wet, so up we went.

When we were high enough, we started traversing around.

And then scrambled across this exposed section.

This is the route we took to get down, a traverse high above the creek, it was a bit sketchy up the top, but we all made it down safely (photo: Felix)

Scrambling down this steep section after the traverse above.

I’m sure John was saying to Kathy “you just come through the hole, it’s easy”, and “you’re kidding right?” from Kathy. (Photo: John Gray)

Looking downstream.

We came across a cave, with a deep pool and waterfall, it even had a fish in it, both Felix and I took photos, this is Felix’s shot, it’s obvious that he’s much better at using the Olympus than I am!

Walking upstream, looking for a gully to our right which would get us out of the creek.

Eventually we came to a section of the creek where it went over a rock shelf, I’m partial to walking in creeks like this, much easier than bouldering (photo: Felix)

At the gully, and now the slog uphill.

We eventually got to this contour and decided that we didn’t have to go any higher, then it was just a matter of walking until we came to the fire trail, and then follow that back to the vehicles and camp site.

I’ve written this report up after being back 10 days, shouldn’t do that again, it’s hard to remember what we did (lol).  In any event, this was a great trip, am so glad that John put it on the calendar because the section of the creek that I hadn’t seen before was definitely worth it.

Thanks everyone for your support, Kathy, for your first trip after not having been out with us for many years, you did really well, can’t wait to get you on the next trip, and Diana, we pretty much threw everything we could at you and you handled everything without looking even a little phased!  Well done!

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2 Responses to When you don’t know what you don’t know

  1. Jenny Hughes says:

    Wow looks beautiful. The photos were amazing!

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