13/01/2006 - report - photos - Grand Canyon track notes - Jugglers Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Tania King, Jonno Holmes, Toby Holmes, Tim Lavis, Nikki Shires, Owen Shepherd, Bart

It was gloomy and overcast as Tania, Nikki, Owen, Bart and I drove out of Sydney, and it only got worse as we headed up the Great Western Highway. However, once past Katoomba it eased off a bit and it was barely drizzling by the time we stopped at the bakery at Blackheath. We soon found Jonno, Tim and Toby. They had been at the "other" bakery.

We convoyed out to the start of the Pilcher Track, and were soon heading down the creek to Jugglers Canyon. After avoiding it initially, I managed to get the job of brushing the water off trees and spider webs out of the way for the people behind (ie leading). At the first little drop I rigged up a handlne as the rock was very wet and somewhat slippery. There was a bit more walking and scrambling until we reached the abseils. We had a few novice canyoners in the party, but everyone handled the abseils well, including the last one with quite an overhung start from the lower anchor (who uses the top anchor?!).

At the bottom, we found a convenient overhang to settle down for a dry lunch. Despite the rain, everyone was dry and warm as there were plenty of ledges to shelter under during the canyon.

After lunch we set off for the Grand Canyon, passing a party of what looked like overseas backpackers heading down to the Blue Gum Forest to camp in the rain. As I had been warned, the chains were gone, with just the bare bolts left. We rigged off two of them and everyone dropped safely into the canyon. It was certainly worth doing despite the weather. The water levels weren't up much at all, and the mist in the air added a new dimension not visible on a sunny day. Most people kept pretty dry, although Owen demonstrated what not to do with a slippery log! A final cool swim and we were at the end of the canyon. Bart pointed out a small Eastern Brown Snake that slithered into a hole.

A couple of lost British tourists needed directing back to the main track. They had wandered up the canyon and were just about to need to do the chilly swim. We pointed them in the right direction. Then it was a quick climb out the excellent Pilcher Track and back to the cars for the long drive back to Sydney. An excellent rainy day in the bush