HUNTER MAIN RANGE – 20 – 22 October 2020
After a “day off” at our Dunn’s Swamp campsite, Lou and I were keen to get back to the creek. Have to admit that Lou bribed me with gourmet food and treats that she would carry in to our camp cave and the expectation that we could drive all the way to the locked gate. So, with a good weather forecast, we headed off.
Apparently, on the Sunday night or the Monday, there had been considerable rain in the Coricudgy area (although we didn’t get any at Dunn’s Swamp), so there was a lot of water on the fire trail, and once we got to the basalt cap (stickier mud), the road was a bit slippery, so we elected to turn around and park the car at the top of a very steep hill on the way to the locked gate, and we walked the rest of the way, not far, maybe 1.5k but would be all up hill when we walked back.
Our pre-walk photo (the “death photo”. (Photo: Lou)
Stunning view – with leaves on the trees it would have looked beautiful (Photo: Lou)
On our way downto our pass in Trib C.
Nice photo of me on the walk in taken by Lou – I’d whipped my hat off and mussed up my hat-hair (photo: Lou)
From the car, it was a 3.5 hour walk in to our campsite for the next few days, an overhang found on the last trip. Wasn’t as big as we remembered, and wasn’t as overhung as we would have liked, Louise seemed to be in a bit of a drop line and got dripped upon each night. I had my tent so could set up out of the drip zone.
We set up camp, collected enough firewood for the next few days and then I settled back with a cup of tea and my Kindle – Louse – bribing me – had carried in my Kindle, glasses, plus a charger for all our electronic gear. My campsite had a backrest (bliss). (Photo: Lou)
Next morning we headed downstream to “John’s Canyon and Exit” shown on his map. Should be a full 8 hour day. Beautiful section of creek.
Nature is amazing, here’s a Coachwood tree, a seed must have germinated on the top of a rock, in a pocket of sand or leaf littler and years later, the Coachwood’s roots have embraced the rock (just like a Fig tree). (photo: Lou)
We then came to one of the highlights of the day, a massive camp-cave, about 50m long, with a few ledges where you could sleep, far enough under the overhang that you wouldn’t get wet in rain. Plus it had some nice spots for those who take a tent and a good area for a fire – only downside (making it a 4 star rather than 5) was the potential scarcity of wood for a good fire – not insurmountable though.
The other end of the camp cave, a big sloping sandy overhang. (Photo: Lou)
Close-up of the sandy camp cave.
Straight after the overhang, we encountered a big boulder field, with some decent drops. Lou went one way but I thought this would be easier for me, Lou took a vid of it, it was very sketchy and probably not should have been done with my wounded upper arm. I survived though but wouldn’t do it again. (Photo: Lou)
And then we’re into the boulder field (Photo: Lou)
Exciting out of another boulder field to avoid a big drop. We also checked out if this was an exit route, and with a taller confident climber it probably would have been, but we’ll leave that exploration for another day. I tidied this tree fall on the way up so we could use it to come down and we didn’t need it in the end. We picked up a nice ramp.
A convenient Coachwood root that enabled us to traverse around this pagoda without dropping down into the creek (photo: Lou)
Downstream, nice cliff-line on one side the creek, but not technically a canyon (too open).
And quicksand, the creek had many pockets of quick sand – if you walked on pebbly sections you were usually ok, but we kept getting caught.
Dunking for sunglasses in one of the pools.
We by-passed John’s creek/canyon and headed over to his exit creek which on his map was described as “tricky”. Tricky for John might be impossible for me! Lou headed off for an hour’s exploration and found four possible exit points, all of which involved a climb, but she’s confident further upstream she’d find one that’s do-able (for me) and for shorter people. We made good time back to our campsite, 1.5 hours.
Back at camp and after diner, Lou made up our Cowboy hot chocolates (alcohol based) complete with marshmallows and two types of chocolate on the side – she does spoil me rotten!
I found a piece of wood in the creek which made a perfect chimney. It’s amazing how quickly wet wood out of a creek will dry off enough to burn.
Next day we packed up and headed to our exit in Trib C to see if we could get up a side creek, I’d spotted a bit of a ramp and Lou checked it out and it’s do-able with some handy roots and a couple of saplings to hold onto. Only a 2 – 3m drop so not scary.
An easy walk up to a beautiful waterfall that stopped us. We figure there’d be another good abseil above this, so with the waterfall at the bottom (that you could walk around) it would be a 3 abseil canyon.
The (potential) third abseil down a waterfall into Trib C (as I said, you could walk around this waterfall, but would be a nice abseil).
We then walked up Trib C to see where it went. not a canyon, but very pretty.
We made our way back to our pack, had a rest and then used our awesome exit out of Trib C.
This tree gives you an idea of how many cicadas are out (they’re deafening).
Despite taking enough food for 3 nights, we walked out on day 3 because the forecast for the next day was rain. We had been walking for a couple of hours when the heavens opened, not a shower but full-on rain, didn’t last long but we were soaked and it put paid to the idea of Lou walking out without a pack and bringing the car down to pick up me and the packs. We stopped at the locked gate where there’s a small overhang and sat out of the rain and ate hot noodles and soup to warm up. We then headed off for the car, I had been dreading this walk up hill … an hour of up hill wasn’t appealing for either of us, but it wasn’t as bad as we’d imagined.
When we got to where we had reception, we checked the weather and the rain had gone back a day, so the next day would be good weather for a day walk (do the adventures ever end!).
Great trip Lou, we pretty much know this section of the creek like the back of our hands now, all that needs to be done are a couple of canyons!
Banner: Flag irises found on the walk in Thumbnail: ingredients for our C*%k Sucking Cowboy Hot Chocolates plus caramel/ginger and black forest chocolate.
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