23/06/2018 - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Stanley Wong, Tom MacDonald, Caroline Houghton, Ian Houghton, Srinivas Gowda
In his book The Upper Grose Valley: Bushwalkers Business, Michael Keats writes of Browne's Path:
"Named by Kevin Browne who was a National Parks Ranger during the years 1965-1980. Kevin mentioned this chocolate coloured ledge of rock was an access to the Grose and located between Bald Head and Bennett Lookout. Anyone walking down to the Grose from this area will soon find that it is not for the faint hearted, and it is not recommended."
Having seen a couple of walk reports for Browne's Path online, I felt sufficiently stout of heart to put it on the short notice program, and got another 6 stout-hearted walkers to join me.
It was a fine but cool and breezy morning when we met at the Hat Hill car park. After a short stop enjoying the panoramic views from Hat Hill, we continued along the scenic ridge and across a steep saddle to the open heath on top of Bald Hill. The lookout at Bald Hill drops precipitously into the Grose, with views across to Hanging Rock and Baltzer Lookout across the Crayfish Creek gorge.
Returning across the saddle, we navigated down a promising looking gully to the cliff edge where I hoped the pass might be. While the views were excellent for morning tea, some consultation with aerial photos made me conclude that we were not in the right place. We had ended up somewhere between old Bennett Lookout and new Bennett Lookout, though our lookout seemed like it might be better than either! We had to sidle along the cliff edge for a couple of hundred metres to near the nose, and a steep green ramp.
Scrambling down the ramp, there were a few decision points, but we soon located the "chocolate coloured ledge" - a ledge of Mount York Claystone, similar to that of the National Pass or many of the Narrow Neck passes.
The ledge section of Browne's Path was fairly short, and apart from one small sloping section with loose shale, not particularly exposed. Then it was on to the talus slopes below the cliffline, with steep sidling and sliding across loose terrain to an obvious ridge, and an intially steep descent to where the gradient eased off. Rachel and I flushed a pair of Tawny Frogmouths which flapped off through the trees. The ridge was open and mostly scrub free, and we soon hit the well-worn track above the Grose.
On familiar ground, we looked for a lunch spot in the sun, which wasn't forthcoming. Little Blue Gum was occupied, so we stopped on the riverbank just beyond. A short walk to the Blue Gum Forest, a blast up a Perrys, and a bash along the road in the late afternoon sunshine to finish an excellent day in the bush.