MOUNT WILSON – 18 February 2022
Three days canyoning will have to be split into three different posts – binge readers be warned! I headed up to Mount Wilson, the plan being to knock over three trips, all of which were on the wish list, and were “unfinished business” from previous trips. It was going to be a big weekend! And lots of photos were taken, too many for just one post!
I met up with John and Anna – a very civilised start of 9.30am which meant I didn’t have to leave home until 6.30am. I had done the top section of Bowens Creek a few years ago, it was pretty good, and as we exited at Wynnes Rocks, there was the section from Wynnes Rocks down to the North Bowen Creek canyon entry point that was unknown. John had done it before but years ago, so we thought it was about time to close the loop!
The trip had a very inauspicious start, lots of fire re-grown, lawyer vine, and weeds. Both Anna and I knew we’d come up from the Creek via this route, but for a while couldn’t find the climb that we’d used. Eventually we stumbled upon it, nasty down-climb – almost as bad as going up it, but not quite!
After a significant amount of nasty scrub and re-growth we came to some easier walking.
And after about 15 – 20 minutes came to the big slab of rock that I remembered from the first trip.
We found a number of grinding groves in the rock, you can just make them out mid photograph. What I’d like to know is how the aboriginals got to this spot, there must be an easier way than the route we took – lol.
Anna looking for more groves on the rock.
Back to the business at hand, finding a way down through the cliff line to the creek. I’d used a nice spur to get out of the creek last time, but this time we took a side creek which took us down to a small overhang.
In the creek now and it’s looking pretty good!
Easy walking so far in the creek itself. It’s quite open and wide, not a canyon at the moment … would it be like this all the way down?
A large overhang that we came across. This extended for about 70m.
Back through the scrub to get into the creek again – too scrubby on the banks.
Anna on a small downclimb.
Relatively easy creek walking now.
We came to a small waterfall, only a couple of metres, but not a good one to downclimb, we decided to set up a rope, John hand-over-handed it but Anna and I both abseiled it – much safer for us.
Anna on the abseil.
Anna pulling down the rope, you can see that it would probably be easy to downclimb, albeit quite slippery.
The waterfall (and swim) that we avoided.
Back in the creek and it’s starting to close in quite a bit and become more “canyon-like”.
The weather was fabulous, lovely blue sky, and sunny – not good photography weather.
Now! this is more like it, beautiful green mossy creek and constricted canyon – too bad about the swim!
Anna braving it, we usually walk as far as we can get before committing to swim, this was armpit deep fur us, belly button deep for John, that became the joke of the day – and every pool was measured by a body part.
Looking back – just stunning!
I was really amazed at the colour variations on the rock at the first swim, the re and green of the moss really stood out. For the first swim or two, John took his shirt off, eventually he gave up trying to keep it dry. I had on only a thermal top and wasn’t freezing, it was cold, but not unbearable.
More lovely canyon section. You can just see Anna in the middle of the pic.
I wondered for a while where all the flood debris was, and then we found it, you have to be careful when climbing over logs, there are “false floors” everywhere and the logs can be very slippery.
I’m not sure whether the green of the moss is in all canyons at the moment, or just the ones we seem to be going in, but, the green is breathtaking (a lot of people adjust their photos in photoshop to get this colour – but not me lol).
Another swim, by this time Anna is regretting not wearing her wetsuit (left it in the car) and she’s getting very cold.
This is seriously high-quality canyon, but it’s rarely done – very underrated in my opinion.
A bit of a rock jumble.
And the canyon opens up a bit and becomes more untidy.
In the middle of the photo, hanging off a diagonal stick, yo can see a bunch of leaves, reeds, this is flood debris from a recent rain event, can you imagine how high the water was, and how dangerous it would be at that time!
There were lots of yabbies (freshwater crayfish), all different sizes and all red (in the canyon the next day, we’d see blue ones).
We’ve come to the end of the constricted canyon now and the creek opens out. There was a couple of hundred metres of the construction/canyon, so well worth the trip – and very high quality. We were looking now for our exit route, up the North Bowen Entry track.
We took a small side trip up one of the side creeks to this “cave” that was marked on John’s map (he’s been down this part of the creek before – probably 25 years ago).
Was pretty cool, had a waterfall in it.
Back in the creek and we’re almost at our exit point.
Yet another swim for Anna!
And another one! Was belly button deep for John.
And Anna knows it will be arm pit deep for her, she’s reluctant to get in (lol).
Another small waterfall to avoid – and a swim.
The waterfall we avoided (and the deep pool).
The final climb down and wade.
And then we were at our “exit”. It didn’t look like much at first, then we found a large clearing (well about 4sqm) so we assumed we were at the right place. I’d heard that National Parks had put in a new entry track to avoid muddy areas. Well, I have to say that they weren’t all that successful, the track up the side creek is very, very muddy. We came to a point that looked dodgy (a climb up slippery boulders) so Anna and I took a different route to John (very scrubby, and also slippery). Eventually we caught up with John who was back “on the track”. Closer to the road, the track looked familiar, and in fact the entry point is mere metres from the traditional Ant Hill entry point that I did 20 years ago. The track back then was very slippery, and I can’t see that it’s been improved all that much!
Big thanks to John and Anna for coming along with me, was it worth it – hell yes, really good sections of canyon, not sure why others don’t do it, very little wear on it that we could see! So, what’s next in the North Bowen saga … we’ve decided that we’ll enter at the “exit track”, and walk all the way down to Waterfall Creek, John says it’s a good trip, so it’s now on the wish list!
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!
I’ll be in for that next trip, next season
Hi Trish, yep it was a good one.
Lucky you picked last w/e for this – it would probably be in serious flood at present! Thanks for bringing back memories. Years ago, I led a trip down here; except we started from the big sign at the bottom of the Mt Wilson hill, missed the exit up to Wynnes Rocks & ultimately figured out where we were when we got down to the main abseil in North Bowens proper. We then backtracked a bit, exiting back up the track to the termite mound. I do remember some tricky climb-downs; but not much else! BTW, this was BEFORE I actually did the main canyon section of North Bowens Creek (which was a ‘fallback’ option after having had to pull out of Danae Brook the day before). Oh – to have my youth back!
Well done – and some great photos as well.
Yes, can’t imagine what the water levels would be after all this rain. Loved your story about the first time you did this canyon, I seriously doubt it was done much back then. It is a popular trip for UBMBC these days, but having said that, they probably only do it once a year (lol). Don’t we all wish to have our youth back!
it brought back memories, I did it with Lindsay, always enjoyed the Bells Creek canyons.
Sorry, Bowens Creek.
Yes, Lindsay wrote about that trip, must have been way before my time! My next foray down will be from the North Bowen exit, all the way down to Waterfall Creek and then up Waterfall Creek, should be a good day trip!
It was a nice experience in Henrys Canyon. Thanks again for a great adventure. Always looking forward to the next one.
Great having you on the trip Randa!