IYDM Trip #10 – Twilight

NEWNES VALLEY – 2 – 4 April 2022
Another canyon that, only in my wildest dreams would have I imagined that I would be able to do it, Twilight Canyon.  It’s a long, long walk just to the start of the canyon, well, probably not that long, but when you try to do the canyon in one day, you start really early, at the crack of dawn and get back to your car in the dark.  John G came up with a plan that meant I could do the canyon and not be trashed at the end of the day.

I was wavering on going, after all, my arm had hardly recovered from the Heart Attack Mishap (I probably should have stayed home but the lump had gone down significantly), and I wasn’t looking forward to carrying in all my camping gear AND the abseiling gear.  Then, the Legendary Louise sweetened the pot by offering to make Tacos for dinner and also volunteered the Lovely Onni to carry some of my heaviest gear.  Who could refuse going on a trip with someone else carrying your gear!  Jim C also offered to carry in a tent that I could share with him.

So, John’s plan was to park our vehicle(s) at the locked gate to the fire trail, carry our abseil gear and overnight packs to the exit creek for the canyon, drop the gear, walk up to the start of the canyon and then at the end of the canyon, camp for the night, saving the tedious walk out for the next morning.  Unfortunately, the day before we were due to depart, two of our party, Kathy and Anna both came down with COVID.  Big disappointment for us all – particularly Kathy who’d bought some very tasty food to try out.  John drove us all (masked-up) across the Wolgan which was too high for our other vehicles which we left at the crossing.

The walk on the fire trail was uneventful (except for the couple of big hills). We were on the look-out for a good campsite, came to a couple that were “ok”, but eventually came to a spot that both John and I had remembered from past walks down this fire trail. It was perfect, big grassy area, plenty of dead wood around and a short walk to creek water. We set up our tents and then headed off to the canyon. You can see the Twilight Canyon (creek) in the distance, the “v” of a valley in the cliffs, that’s Twilight (photo:  John G – having lunch before we set out)

Walking back a few hundred metres on the fire trail, Louise very excited about doing the canyon (she’s always so positive!). I on the other hand wasn’t looking forward to the walk up hill.

The walk up to the cliff-line was tedious – I for one was questioning my appetite for the hill walk, half way up and I could easily have turned back! I was very slow, we all had a good rest at the base of the cliff-line.

Then we set off around the base towards the gully that we’d use to get up to the saddle we needed to cross over.

Looking back at the others. Impressive cliff-line.

Louise at a rock that had broken off, one wonders why it didn’t topple over and roll down to the bottom. In the distance is the valley of the Wolgan River. (Photo: John G)

Louise taking one route up an obstacle, she said it was maybe too high for me at the top.

Onni, Jim and I went up this fallen tree and then up the pagoda to Onni’s right.

Just when I thought we were towards the top, there was more climbing ahead.

We came to a spot that we couldn’t get around, so we backtracked 50m or so and went up this convenient ramp.

Finally we’re at the top and on the saddle, we had a rest and then headed down in a side creek of the Twilight Creek.

Here we are at the junction of our side creek and the canyon, we suited up, John was the only one that didn’t take a wetsuit, he said that “next time he would”, so I figure he must have been a bit cold.

Looking back upstream at the junction, there’s apparently a waterfall upstream, John and the rest of the group will come back another day and do the upper section.

Right away we’re in water, albeit only knee deep.

Unlike Heart Attack two weeks ago, the base of this creek, instead of being sand (where I had to keep emptying my Volleys), was mostly small rocks and pebbles. Much easier to walk on.

There were a series of small waterfalls for most of the creek.

And the water was much deeper than we thought it would be (probably because of the rain back in March).

A slippery log to negotiate, the canyon overall gave the impression of green, AND, because it’s not often done (because it’s such a big day), the moss hasn’t been worn away by overuse.

Looking down the canyon, John about to get his SLR camera out for a shot downstream.

A deep wade followed by some lovely canyon formation.

And another deep wade, (or a swim for me), John in the distance (sans wetsuit), wondering the wisdom of not bringing one.

Stunningly green foliage with the pebbles in the creek – really lovely.

Louise ecstatic with the canyon!

A down climb using a handy log.

Onni was first down this challenge and stayed in place to stop us from sliding into a pool.

John and I had approached the slide from a tunnel, the others skirted around this, but it was cool going underneath this massive rock.

Louise about to go down the slide.

Unlike Louise and me, Jim and John didn’t need help with the slide.

Another wade.

Onni on our first abseil.

Jim on the abseil (which was followed by a long swim.

The final abseil.

After the last abseil, we negotiated our way downstream, mainly staying out of the creek, then skirted around at the base of the cliff-line to look for a good spur down to the fire trail.

The exit was very easy and we were soon back on the fire trail and heading for camp, just on dusk (or twilight).

We were all keen for a big fire so whilst Louise and Onni went to collect water, the rest of us scouted around for wood for the fire.

Louise had brought dinner for me and Onni, Tacos – she’s done this before for me, and they are so delicious out in the bush, but much better these days now that she’s found TVP – dehydrated textured vegetable protein, she doesn’t have to carry in frozen taco mix any more.  We sat around the campfire, still on a high from the great day out we’d had but eventually crawled off to bed, it had been a big day.

We leisurely packed up next morning and headed back to the cars, stopping at the Firefly Creek for morning tea.  But the adventure wasn’t finished there.

On the way back, Onni and Louise had gotten ahead of the three of us, John, Jim and myself.  When Jim and I caught up with John, just after the Firefly entry creek, John said he thought he’d have a small adventure and go back to the cars via an old track through the Newnes Ruins.  Possibly a little longer, but would be interesting to see how the track was these days.  I liked the idea, but thought that I should continue on along the road to let Onni and Louise know that John and Jim had gone a different way, but for some unfathomable reason, I just followed on with John and Jim.  Big mistake on my part.

We headed off and the scrub was horrific, we took a lot longer than expected.  Finally getting back to the car to discover no sign of Onni and Louise other than their backpacks and Louise’s iPhone on the top of her pack.  John went down to the river to see if they’d gone down for a swim, and then he walked back to where he’d last seen them – but no sight.  So, we sat and waited.

Louise, bless her heart, after waiting for us for 1/2 an hour (or more), had decided that something bad had happened, so took off at warp speed back up the track – worried that either I’d had a heart attack (at my age a possibility) or one of us had been bitten by a snake (we’d seen 3 on the track over the weekend).  She didn’t even stop to take any water with her.  Onni, eventually caught up with her and at least he had the presence of mind to take some water.  By this time, they’d walked some distance and Louise was more and more anxious, not seeing any sign of us.  They walked all the way back to the morning tea spot (a good 45 minute walk), and then, at least assured that I wasn’t lying on the track dying, turned around and headed back to the car, mystified by not finding us.

It was a very relieved, teary Louise that eventually arrived at the car/locked gate – I felt really, really bad that I hadn’t followed my gut instinct and continued on the track after them – AND our adventure was a dismal failure as the track was almost non-existent!

But one thing that did come out of that exercise is that my children, David & James should be really pleased though that I am going out into the wilderness with someone who is so focused on my welfare – the Legendary Louise lives up to her name! And I now know that if I am walking at the back and don’t arrive in a reasonable time, Louise will come looking for me!

The final “interesting” thing was the 5′ Diamond Python laying in the sun on the fire trail as we drove out – not the prettiest one I’ve seen, but it was cool to get out of the car and have a look at him/her.

A big thanks to John for putting this trip on the MSS calendar, and a big thanks to Onni, Louise and Jim who all carried some of my heavier gear at some time during the weekend!  We’ve all decided that doing a canyon over 2 days is a great idea, so relaxed and leisurely – made the whole canyon experience something to remember.

This entry was posted in Abseiling, Canyoning, MSS. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to IYDM Trip #10 – Twilight

  1. Kathy Leslie says:

    Lovely that you go with such a good group of people!!!
    Beautiful scenery!
    Thx for sharing!

  2. Jim Crockett says:

    Marilyn, you must have forgotten about Louise being clobbered by a branch on the walk out of Twilight. Lucky she had her helmet secured because it looked pretty bad from where I was 4 metres behind her. She was certainly stunned by it as she said she momentarily went blank for a second or so, minor concussion ? But she she seemed OK after 30 secs so not serious.
    Just a good reminder to wear a helmet on approach, in canyon and on exit route you just never know ?

    • marilyn says:

      Oh yes! I forgot that, it was really bad but Louise got over it so quickly it didn’t stick out as a memory, yes, I’m constantly reminding myself to put the helmet on both on the route in and the route out of the canyon – sometimes that’s the most dangerous part!

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