24/01/2009 - report - photos - Upper Bowens Creek South Canyon track notes
Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Caoimhin Ardren
Running late for our 8am meeting with Caoimhin, Rachel sent him a text message and got a phone call in response.
Rachel: "Hello. How are you?".
"Why, are you sick?"
"No, my alarm didn't go off. Your text message woke me up."
He was still at home. He had forgotten to set his alarm from previously. We said we would wait at North Richmond, hanging out from the oppressive heat in the air conditioned comfort of Gloria Jeans. Our original plan was to do one of the lower sections of Bowens Creek South, but with afternoon storms forecast, we came up with an alternative that gave us a few more options for getting out.
We abandoned Caoimhin's van at the Claustral turnoff and drove our car out to Range Hill. Down near the bottom of the fire trail we bashed over the ridge and steeply down to what was supposedly Marihuana Canyon on the right hand side. We came in above cliff lines and rather than finding a pass, did two scrubby abseils to the creek. I had lost my glove a couple of weeks earlier, and with the heat the rope was very dry and hot. Even pulling it right around my back didn't help much on the abseil, and it gave me a nasty burn on my hip.
Down in the creek, we had come down just below a waterfall. The creek was quite easy walking, fairly free from scunge. We weren't expecting much so it was a pleasant surprise when there was an interesting log scramble into a pool. Caoimhin opted for a dry route over the top while Rachel and I figured we should "do" the canyon. Lurking in the bottom of the log was the largest yabby I have ever seen - fully lobster sized. I've said that before, but always in relation to a small lobster! There was some more lower quality canyon before we hit the junction with South Bowens. After lunch in the sun we headed upstream through some nice creek with canyon sections. The water had carved channels into some of the bedrock with interesting effect. Caoimhin and I went for a scramble up a side gully that led up on to the tops. In the meantime, Rachel had found a way up a tricky waterfall that took Caoimhin and I quite a while (and a bit of swimming) to work out.
Soon we were in familiar territory, passing the usual exit, and then we headed up to the Range Creek junction. It had been a while since I visited Range Creek, and while it started out quite open, it turned into quite an impressive canyon in its own right. We climbed our way up through a couple of squeezes and a couple of challenging scrambles to the second main side creek, where we climbed out.
Then we had a bit of a scrub bash to get back to the fire trail a little way up from the normal exit. The temperature had thankfully cooled down a bit by then. All up about a five hour trip. We dropped Caoimhin back at his van and headed for Blackheath for dinner (total fire ban). Touching base with Lisa, we arranged to meet at Mt Wilson the next morning and do something around there. The campground was absolutely packed - I counted over 80 cars - so it was probably lucky for our sleep that it was a TFB day!