20/11/2004 - report - photos

Participants: Tom Brennan, James Yorston, Hindrik Buining, Dee

The pitter-patter of rain on our tents at the end of the Waratah Ridge Fire Trail during the night didn't bode well for the day's canyoning activities. The plan was to do Banks and Fortitude but the weather was wet and cold, and three of us were without wetsuits. James and I hatched an alternative plan that involved Dead Tree Canyon (in the guide as Dead Log) and possibly Scatters Canyon if we had time later on.

After Hindrik changed the tyres on his bike, we all rode off in the drizzle along the Hole-in-the-Wall track and threw them in the bushes near the end of the fire trail. The ridge in was a shocker - a wide, overgrown and scrubby ridge that fought all of our efforts to master it. Eventually we left it and bashed down the hill, using the rope once to hand-over-hand a small cliff.

Once in the creek, the going was quite pleasant, with few signs of visitation and consequently slippery rocks. We walked along trying to fit the words to any song to the tune of Working Class Man. I managed Advance Australia Fair, the Ren and Stimpy Log Song and a bit of Staying Alive. The canyon formed slowly and we were soon sliding down log after log. After a walk across a deep pool on yet another log, we finally reached an abseil - with, believe it or not, a log for an anchor. Shortly after this (and another log) we dropped into a delightful main cavern (off another log), where some of us ended up going for a dip. Hindrik made the lunge and gained the necessary handhold to keep himself dry.

Some nice creek and another couple of drops brought us to the mighty Bungleboori, which James and I agreed wasn't looking that mighty. However, the 'Boori shortly lived up to its mighty billing as it narrowed to a deep pool that we couldn't traverse. Dee had a wetsuit, while James, Hindrik and I stripped down for a swim, which was surprisingly less chilly than expected, once we got going. We reached our supposed exit gully just as the 'Boori started to get messy with dead trees to slow progress.

After a quick lunch, we were up the gully and back to a much more pleasant ridge, on which we headed back to the bikes. Being fairly late we went straight for the cars where we completed the obligatory hacky sack challenge. Hindrik got a great fire going and we settled down for beers, wine, cheese, chips, muscat and eventually dinner. A nice day's canyoning despite the weather.