HEATON STATE FOREST – 26 November 2020
There was quite a debate between Trish and me, was this a canyon, or not? At the end of the trip we all agreed that it was a great creek walk with stunning canyon sections. As a walk, it was up there with some of the best that we’d done. As far as my search for canyons in the Watagans – I’d have to say that we found one – and it’s definitely worth repeating!
We set up a car at the end of the fire trail we’d use to exit (effectively cutting the walk out in half and avoiding the humid and leech infested tourist track). We then headed up to a fire trail not shown on the map, and as it was going the direction we wanted, we took advantage of it, eventually peeling off to the left to get down to the creek.
The terrain wasn’t at all scrubby (way better than the entry we made a few weeks ago into another creek – on that trip we almost lost Trish in impenetrable scrub).
Then we headed down into a side creek, and again, terrain and vegetation was very friendly.
There were a few small drops in this side creek, but nothing that we couldn’t walk around.
A few small pools too, evidence that there’s been a bit of rain over the last few weeks, ordinarily, you’d expect this side creek to be dry.
And then we entered our creek, very pretty.
I was taking a photo of this strangler fig tree on a rock, but Trish was talking and telling us about her dogs that she took on a bush walk, there were lots of hand motions that I just had to capture. Apparently one of the dogs has AHAD or is that ADHA?
The creek was really nice, and easy walking.
Another pretty creek section and we’re walking around a lot of big pools.
And then an unexpected section of canyon, we had to slide down this rock (using the hand line which this time I’d remembered to bring). Trish stopped at the bottom to make sure I got down ok, the bottom section of rock was very slippery.
Penny making her way down the slippery slope.
In the distance is the rock we’d slid down, this was followed by a compulsory wade.
And then the water plunged into a hole, it looked like a duck under (the hole Trish is in was very deep), so I encouraged Trish to go in and see if it was a duck under? It is but it’s way too deep to do, the hole is down where Trish’s feet are!
More pools and swims, by now we’re giving this creek a 9/10.
And then we got to this section, full-on canyon!
Followed by a very constricted section.
Creek opens out again.
Followed by a mini waterfall, that you could slide down, or walk around. Penny and Trish chose the slide.
Penny on the slide.
Constricted section after the slide.
And the creek opens out again.
And then we’re at the part of the creek that we explored last time … but I didn’t photograph it last time because I’d lost my camera in a pool by then. This part of the creek is lovely, slab rock base and wall of rock on one side.
This swim and slide isn’t compulsory but the pool was so inviting we all decided to give it a go.
Penny after the slide, she’s doing really well for someone who can’t swim, the buoyancy vest helped though.
And the piece de resistance, dropping into the canyon.
You maneuver around the rock, then drop into the water.
Penny about to drop in, you can’t really jump, it’s sort of a controlled shimmy.
Ian about to drop in.
Compulsory swim, the water was cold, but being in the canyon was so cool.
Looking back to where we’d dropped in.
And the last bit. There are two ways to do this. Slide in down the small waterfall, or jump from this committing rock slope. Ian was our crash test dummy, although he had done it the last time (I’d walking around the whole canyon section with Penny the last time – hence my return).
This was Penny’s first big jump into a pool. She wasn’t keen but by the time she got to the edge, there was no backing out! I didn’t feel like jumping today, and there was too much water going over the small waterfall to make it safe, so I took a secret track around the pool that the others didn’t know about (lol).
Trish and Penny swimming through to the end.
We got to the tourist track and then made our way back upstream via a good safe route and walked back up the creek (above the canyon section). The creek bed is flat rock with this lovely cliff at the side.
And this time of the day was the perfect time to take photos (all day I’d struggled with too much light).
Just before our exit route.
We had lunch on the creek and headed up the spur at 1pm. We were soon at the old fire trail and back at the car by 1.30pm – a much quicker route than the exit we took last time.
We had started walking around 9am and I did expect it would be a longer day, but the vegetation and creek were so easy going that we were finished way earlier than anticipated.
So, now that we knew there are canyon-like sections in the Watagans, the maps came out to see where else we could explore, we’re very enthusiastic now!
Thank you so much Trish, Penny and Ian for joining me on this adventure!
There’s nothing glamorous about bushwalking, caving or canyoning, but it sure is fun! If you’re an armchair bushwalker, someone looking for new adventures, or one of my friends who just wants to see what I’ve been up to, this site is for you, sign up to get email alerts now!