HUNTER MAIN RANGE – Trip 1, Part 2 – 17 October 2020
On day two of our exploration into some of the upper reaches of Wollemi Creek, we came across the “inside out” caves (or as Lou christened them The Deathly Hallows). Whilst I’ve seen the odd small “stal” in overhangs in sandstone cliffs, what we stumbled upon was way beyond “the odd stal”, and I suspect that we were the first people to see them.
Pretty big boast to say we were the first, but can’t imaging canyoners entering the Creek this far up, the area wouldn’t be viewed as having the potential for high quality canyons (and first nations people wouldn’t have been able to get down into this part of the creek – inaccessible). But, I could be wrong.
So, how did we find The Deathly Hallows? We headed up what we temporarily called tributary C, and I was sitting around waiting for Lou and Mik to come back from their exploration looking for an exit for us to use.
I looked over to a small rocky outcrop with water dribbling over it and saw that there was some calcite formation. “Interesting” I think.
We exited Trib C and continued downstream and within a few meters found this overhang with a few stals on the roof, they were about the size of a soccer ball, and were obviously active (ie there was water seeping over the stals and were “growing”. Mind you, we’re still not blown away by this.
The small overhang that we found the above formation in. (photo: Lou)
Then within 50m or so, we came across this overhang, high up on the side of the creek (about 5 – 7m up a sandy slope), and the whole of the roof is covered in stals. The overhang was about 30 – 40m long and about 4m deep.
And there was even a shawl, now, I’ve never seen a shawl in a sandstone overhang before. The shawl was a little over a meter long and about 30 – 40cm deep, the bottom of it had been cleanly cut off, indicating to me that a log in a flood had banged against it and broken it.
The shawl, gives you an idea of it’s size. (photo: Lou)
Pools on the floor of the overhang with calcite formation in them.
The start of a column (photo: Mik)
The forming column, about a meter high and about 40cm diameter at the base.
Me and the stals, shows you size of it! (Photo: Lou)
A rim pool.
A stal that had fallen off the ceiling of another cave (about 40cm long and the diameter of a football.
There were multiple overhangs with formations in them, but none as good as the Deathly Hallows, but surprisingly they were only in a 100-200m section of the creek, further upstream and downstream the overhangs were just the normal sandstone ones.
The “inside out caves” were one of the highlights of the trip, something that you just don’t see every day. Thanks to Lou for suggesting this trip into the wilderness!
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