04-06/10/2008 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Caoimhin Ardren, Rachel Grindlay
It was raining as we arrived at the car park at Kanangra. Caoimhin joked about camping in 100m Cave, refering to the "Toilets 100m" sign in the shelter. I increased the amount of wet weather gear I was taking as well as throwing in an extra fly.
It continued to piss down on the way out over the plateau. Occasionally we could see something that might have been Thurat Spires emerge from the mist...or perhaps not. The weather started to ease as we headed out over Murrarang Top and we had some good views down over Arabanoo Creek on the way down to Coal Seam Cave. A group from SBW was already having an early lunch around a small fire and we opted for a guaranteed dry spot too. They were heading down Brumby Ridge to the Kowmung. They left the cave just ahead of us but disappeared off right where the track along Bullhead Ridge branches off, and we reached First Top quite some way ahead of them.
We had our own navigational problem when we weren't looking at the map and headed off over one of the smaller knolls between First Top and Second Top. Once rectified, a few more ups and downs brought us to another party who were heading down Fourth Top Spur. The light was beginning to fade by the time we passed Sixth Top and headed down the final spur to the Kowmung. It started raining again but thankfully only briefly. There were plenty of grassy flats so we picked one conveniently close to the river. After setting up camp we had a pleasant evening around the campfire.
I was awakened during the night by a thunderstorm coming through. It rumbled around for a while and then dropped a fair bit of rain which continued on and off until morning. The fly was touching the tent above me and my thermarest was in a small pool of water. The rain stopped a couple of times for us to start packing up, only to begin again when we had all our gear spread nicely out to be soaked. Finally we got away close to 11am, heading up Gingra Creek. Gingra Creek was flowing a bit, making progress difficult without getting wet feet. The banks had some wombat tracks, but were prickly and scrubby, and it was slow going to the foot of our ridge. After a tiring steep section the ridge flattened out allowing for pleasant walking through open forest and some good views, before the mist rolled in and reduced visibility to about 50m. Still, at least it wasn't a scorcher. We stopped for lunch in a flattish spot and then pushed on to the top where we hit the cliffs.
A little way along the cliffs Caoimhin showed us Thousand Man Cave. It was hard to tell just how many men it might fit since the far side couldn't be seen through the mist. However, it looked plenty big enough for the three of us. We were fortunate to find a small pool of water in the creek below, and with some dry wood we were sorted for the night.
The next morning we were about to set off when the rain came in again. On went the jackets and off we waded through the now wet scrub. We scrambled up an easy pass on to the Ti Willa Tops and set off towards Cloudmaker. Someone had been very busy with a saw and building cairns as there was very little scrub on the tops, and numerous bushes and small trees had been chopped to clear the path. We removed most of the cairns but it is hard to replace a tree.
After signing the logbook on Cloudmaker we headed back down the Gangerangs towards Kanangra. The sun emerged and after a short break at Gabes Gap, we had lunch at Crafts Wall. Caoimhin and I scrambled up the back for a nearly complete view of where we had been walking the last three days.
At the far end of Crafts Wall we met a family headed for Dex Creek that night, then Mobbs Swamp ... then back again! They seemed to be leaving it pretty late to get to Dex Creek, but I guess they had daylight saving on their side. However, they wouldn't have been having much fun when the storm rolled in. It hailed on us climbing up Smiths Pass and then the rain came down as we headed back along the Walls, but had cleared again by the time we reached the track junction.
Back near the car park we visited the lookout, and then quickly headed back to the car as we could see the next front rolling in. We finished the walk as we started - huddled under the shelter at the car park getting changed!
We had dinner in Katoomba at the Savoy on the way back. An excellent walk despite the weather.