07/03/2009 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Caoimhin Ardren
Warning: (M rated): contains coarse language.
Caoimhin and I did a bike shuffle to the Bowens North exit and then drove back down to the electricity line fire trail off the Mt Wilson Road. We set off at 9:45am and were rather surprised to see several vehicles and tents set up a short distance down the fire trail ... past the locked gate. Obviously there is another road giving access, without the locked gate. At the end of the fire trail we set off into the thick scrub, trying to find the ramp into the side creek. We hand-over-handed a drop and scrambled down a gully, finding ourselves within a few metres of being able to get into the creek. Being unsure of whether we were above or below the waterfall in the side creek, we wanted to find a way in that we could reverse. So we backed out and tried a couple more gullies, eventually finding one that "went". Turned out we were at least a couple of hundred metres below the waterfall, so we managed to waste a fair bit of time scrambling around. Bowens Creek was reached at 11:20am.
Heading downstream we quickly reached the first swim, or at least a deep wade, and donned wetsuits. Coming upstream from Marihuana Canyon a month or so before we had traversed this section and we were able to move quickly to reach the junction with that canyon. Not far below was a nice section of canyon, though fairly short, but after that the creek opened out. It was fairly slow going with plenty of scrubby and bouldery bits, and only limited deeper canyon. There were some swims, but what canyon there was was pretty open and short. The water was much chillier than it had been on the recent trip. My hands felt numb after a few swims.
There were plenty of massive yabbies in the creek. Bowens Creek certainly wins hands down on having the biggest yabbies I've seen - consistently.
At about 1:50pm we stopped for lunch as the creek looked like it might be dropping into some more canyon. By 2:30pm the sun started to leave us, so we set off again. Unfortunately the canyon was fairly short lived and we were again wandering down scrubby, bouldery creek. The word of the day became "fuck". "Fuck!" as we kicked an underwater log. "Fuck!" as we stumbled over a rock. "Fuck!" as we walked into another spider web. By 5pm I was getting bored with this and despite a few more interesting bits, was looking forward to reaching the end. Predictably at this point the creek dropped into some decent canyon. Caoimhin tried to climb down but the slippery drop meant setting up a short hand line. A log slide followed and then we were in the best bit of canyon we had had all day. With the sun almost gone I didn't have much time or light to take photos, but I tried all the same.
A few more climb downs followed, before we reached the final drop, a 4m jump into a large pool. However, Caoimhin showed the way around to the left as neither of us were interested in a cold swim at this time of the day. At the junction Caoimhin managed to go for a swim anyway by slipping off a rock, causing much laughter.
It was 6:00pm at the junction, and 6:20pm by the time we had stripped off our wetsuits and started the climb out. By 7:23pm we were back at the bike, and the sun was setting. I set off on my recently serviced bike, which was jumping gears, without any lights. Caoimhin was being eaten by mosquitoes so set off with our bags on foot. He had reached the bottom of the big hill by the time I had picked up the car and driven back.
The trip back was slow since we were stuck behind a car that seemed intent on doing 60km/h in the 80 zones. The moment of amusement came when it sped up to 63km/h on the way down Bellbird Hill and got caught by the speed camera there! Classic!
Dinner at the all night pizza place in Richmond followed by us forgetting to aget Caoimhin's gear out of my car before leaving.