BLUE MOUNTAINS NP – 29 January 2021
I had a great weekend planned, an off track adventure for Friday, then 2 days of canyoning with Rod S. And then it started raining AGAIN. By Thursday I was starting to be less enthusiastic, gone was the plan to drive up on Thursday night, and I started thinking about alternatives to 5 – 6 hours of walking down a creek. The forecast was for “showers” all weekend.
Anna was the only one deterred by the rain Ian K, Jim C, Alan C and John G met up with me and we talked about our options, they were still keen to go out, even though it was drizzling, but we decided a shorter trip was in order, 6 hours of being wet rather than 8! We decided to do Marijuana Canyon and clean up some of the plantation rubbish, there’d be a couple of abseils, lots of water – should be a good trip. Sadly, I said that I didn’t think there were any swims so we didn’t take wetsuits!
Jim on the walk down to the creek, through bush-fire ravaged terrain.
We had entered by a side creek, and after we came to the junction of the side creek and the main creek, we started seeing evidence of the plantation, lots of stone walls forming terraces for the garden. There are two terraces here although you can’t see them for the weeds.
One of the stone walls, the plantation according to John was still a going concern during the late 1990s.
Above the terraces, under a small overhang, they had created a “dam” for irrigation, the dam was lined with orange plastic overlaid with heavy duty black plastic, all around the edge, the plastic had melted during the bush fire.
The valve to control the water. There was heavy duty hose (like fireman’s hose) all over the place, burned, but not completely.
We picked up as much garbage as we could, then headed off. I didn’t see the overhang that I went past last time (that was used as the “drying room”), there were loads of plastic bottles there and it was my intention to get them, but will have to leave that for the next trip (lol).
Me on the first abseil (photo: John Gray)
We headed downstream and came to our first abseil, the water was pumping, great abseil with a swim. I was worried about the rope pull-down but it came down easily.
Jim swimming over to the shallow end of the pool.
Alan on the abseil (photo: John Gray)
We were soon at the next abseil, and this was interesting, it was 2 waterfalls – one a corkscrew of rock and the other the “overflow), John on the abseil.
Me on the 2nd abseil getting hammered by the water (Photo: John Gray)
Ian at the end of the abseil, you couldn’t help but get wet. So much for not needing a wetsuit. However, surprisingly the water wasn’t all that cold.
It was a nice walk down through good canyon formation to the junction with South Bowen Creek. We then had a little over 1k walk to our exit. It hadn’t rained that much but it was very misty.
A fair bit of rock scrambling.
And three swims that I’d forgotten about, and the South Bowen water was way colder than Marijuana.
This was very cute, the water was high enough that it flowed into this hollow log and there was a spout, really cool.
Big log jam, probably from the floods back in February 2020.
And another swim!
By this time we’re all pretty cold. I thought that we were close to the exit that I’d used in the past (we weren’t), and there looked like a ramp up to a spur, so we decided to take our chances. Turns out it was a much shorter exit than I’d used in the past, so we effectively cut out 400m of creek walk and 300m of spur, we were back on the fire trail before we knew it.
Once back at the cars, John and Ian left for their respective nice warm, dry beds … Jim, Alan and I headed over to Cathedral Camp Ground to set up camp (in the rain), it was pretty miserable despite the red wine and we were all in bed by 7.30pm, wondering what the weather had in store for us the next day – we were pretty well over being wet.
So, the planned trip down Bowens Creek (the good part) is back on the calendar again, let’s hope next time it’s not raining. Plus, come autumn, we’ll be back in to clean up more of the mess left behind by the pot growers. Big thanks to you guys for heading out into the wet bush, was a great day, the waterfalls were loads of fun and it was the first time that most of us had visited the plantation.
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!