26-27/05/2001 - report
Participants: Tom Brennan, Fiona Macrae, Mike Baldwin
We managed to geographically embarass ourselves on this walk. It all seemed fairly simple - Fiona and I were orienteering in the morning so it was going to be a bit of a late start. We had already decided that we were going to do it as an easy overnighter. After meeting Mike we left Sydney at 1:30pm heading for Windsor. By the time we got to the trailhead at the end of the Grassy Hill Fire Trail it was 3:30pm and the light was already beginning to fade.
The various track notes referred to a turnoff down "a 4WD track" or "old bulldozer trail" around 800m to 1km down the fire trail, but by the time we had walked about 2km we were pretty confident we hadn't seen anything. Given the fading light, we thought it was better to press on, and shortly reached the turnoff to the exit track in the book. After a steep descent we soon reached the creek, and headed downstream.
At a track junction a bit further on we had the choice of going up or down. Down looked a bit hairy so we headed up, and soon reached the lookout about 50m above the Colo River. We briefly took in the view, but seeing no obvious path down, backtracked to the junction. After a few dodgy scrambles on a narrow track, we passed a steep gully on our right - presumably a much easier way up to or down from the lookout! Keep that in mind for the trip out!
A few more minutes saw us reach the banks of the Colo as dusk was falling. Someone had left a ring of stones in a fireplace, so it was just up to us to collect a bit of wood for the fire. Once we had a healthy flame going we settled down to our brie, crackers and a nice bottle of red. No-one ever said that camping was supposed to be hard!
I was up before the others the next morning, and went for a bit of a wander upstream. I was lucky enough to find a couple of camp caves, including a good sized one about 600m away from Canoe Creek. Possibly this is what is noted on Bob Buck's Sketch Map?
Fiona and Mike got up as I came back and we sat down for breakfast. The sun was just rising over the walls of the gorge as I put my watch on and looked at it. It was quarter to one! We were pretty shocked. Sure, we had slept in a bit, but we'd got to bed early enough. There wasn't much for it but to start packing up. We spent a bit of tme exploring across the river - we failed to find the pass up Savage Ridge, although we didn't try too hard.
We had already agreed that we would try walking out up Canoe Creek, although the difficulty of finding the exit track from there was always going to be a bit of a problem. Our late start, and a poor bit of navigation from me didn't help - we headed up towards the fire trail too early and ran into a cliff line. It wouldn't have been so bad, but for the brambles - native raspberry as far as I can tell - which left us bleeding from numerous tiny cuts. Following the cliff line along was not really an option as the undergrowth was so dense, and so we were forced to scramble back down to the creek to continue.
We never found the exit track in the failing light. Instead we reached a point where we were confident that we could bush bash up to the fire trail relatively easily, and simply took a bearing. There were still plenty of brambles, but not as dense as before, and we soon reached the track. A short walk further and we were back at the car. Certainly a far cry from the easy walk we were imagining, but it only took us a couple of days before we had forgotten all the painful stuff and were keen to go back again!