ETTREMA WILDERNESS – 18 – 20 July 2020
When the Legendary Louise first mentioned her dream of doing Monkey Ropes Creek and the abseils, I said “not sure I’d be up for this” after all it was a 15k walk in and out, hence the In Your Dreams M grading. But then I thought, “maybe we can charter a helicopter to get me and the ropes in and maybe an esky of beer!”.
Heather (who’ll go anywhere with me) even sourced a helicopter and pilot for us. As it turned out, we didn’t need a chopper … Murray N and his push-bike transported the 2 x 60m ropes along the 15k of fire trail to get to the start of Monkey Ropes. Sorry you missed the trip Heather (but you’ll love your new knee).
First a little of the back story. Louise got the idea of this trip seven years ago. She’s been researching it ever since. Apparently a few trips occurred in the 70s, when it was possible to drive all the way to the top of the creek. One trip report was very succinct “did Monkey Ropes, five abseils”. So, this trip would be fulfilling her dream and we’d potentially be the first group down Monkey Ropes in over 50 years!
The trip had an inauspicious start … Tim O and Mickey D both had to be tested for Covid-19, fortunately Mickey D was tested on the Thursday and she was confident her results would be made available by Saturday afternoon, unfortunately Tim didn’t do the test until Friday, so it was less likely he’d get the results before the trip.
Nevertheless, Murray and I met up on Saturday morning and walked to the designated campsite (which we thought would potentially shelter us from bad weather). We got to the campsite around 2pm and after setting up, Murray went off exploring Pass Point, the pass we’d use to get out of Bundundah Creek. In the meantime, I collected fire wood and started the fire. Murray returned, and we had dinner sitting around the fire until 7.30pm. By this time Louise and Mickey D still hadn’t arrived, so either they were doing a night hike in, or something unexpected had happened. No sooner were we in bed than Murray first heard them and then their torches lit up our tents, I was so relieved that they’d arrived! Mickey D’s test was negative, unfortunately Tim’s results weren’t in yet.
And then the wind came up overnight, gale-force winds, didn’t matter where you were, the wind gusts were so strong that I was fearful that if I got out of my tent, it would blow away, regardless of the rocks I’d placed on the tent pegs. Eventually, at 4am I got up and took the tent down so I could go to the toilet! Couldn’t even light the fire the wind was so gusty.
Finally, we were on the top and Louise unerringly led us in the dark to the fire trail (she is a Legend), approximately 2k away, took a while to get there, maybe 1.5 hours, and then we had another 30 minutes down the fire trail to our camp site. The wind by now had picked up and was gale force again. We got to camp at around 7pm, packed up and decided to move to the camp cave on Cinch Creek that we’d found last trip.
Murray decided to ride his bike out and go home (he only lives 1.5 hours away). He told us he was followed for the last k on the fire trail by a dingo! From now on I will always be sleeping in a tent – don’t want a dingo sniffing around me!
The rest of us got to the camp cave at around 8 or 9pm, and it wasn’t at all sheltered, in fact one gust blew my tent away, the only thing for it was for a couple of big boulders (thank you Mickey D) to hold it down until I got into it. Louise made us cocktails before dinner (hot Blazers I think), I went straight to bed without dinner Lou and Mik sat up by the fire for a while. The wind blew all night, but by about 6am when I woke up (hardly slept!) it had calmed down a bit.
Lou and Mik were going back to where we broke through the Pass as Mik had accidentally left her mobile phone at one of the stops we made, luckily she remembered exactly where. I decided to walk out by myself to make an early start home so set off at 10.15am.
On the walk out I came across a couple who were walking out to Cinch Creek, we chatted a while and then the woman asked me if I had a blog as she recognised me from one of the posts, she’d have shaken my hand if it wasn’t for Covid! I felt like a rock star! Whoever you are, thank you so much for making me feel special, and I hope you had a great trip up Cinch, would love to hear about it.
So, Lou finally got to achieve her dream, but now we have a new trip … Monkey Ropes in summer to enjoy those lovely pools, and camp in the camp cave, and check out Bundundah Falls on the way out … possibly another IYDM trip!
Thank you so much Lou for organising it, and Murray for carrying the ropes most of the time and Mik for being the “back up” girl and being so supportive. Love going out with you guys and missed you Tim!