04/11/2007 - report - photos - Upper Bowens Creek South Canyon track notes
Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Caoimhin Ardren
The plan was to do Ranon. The weather seemed to be having other ideas, as it had bucketed down for most of the night, and was still raining when Caoimhin rang in the morning. However, there was brighter news from the Bureau. Rapidly clearing from the west. I said we should still go and do something, and the blue skies that were appearing by the time Caoimhin arrived helped. However, it wasn't enough to convince Steve, still scarred from a cold experience in Claustral a couple of weeks before.
By the time we reached Richmond and a quick bakery and shopping stop it was sunny, and almost uncomfortably warm.
We bailed out of the Ranon idea, opting instead for a loop in Bowens Creek South that would take us down a new tributary and give us a few options in the event of too much water. We parked our car at a locked gate on the Mt Wilson road and set off along a fire trail. I remembered the turnoff was a little tricky to find, and despite close attention, we went well past where it should have been and were forced to turn around. It was there, but heavily overgrown, and not that much better than a bush bash. And then it joined up with another well used but unmarked fire trail that we could have taken, going directly down under the power lines! Oh well.
The ridge out was fairly scrubby, but luckily it was only a few hundred metres until we dropped off down a spur, which lead down to the creek. A short walk brought us to some promising canyon, but it ended pretty much as soon as it started, though only after I fell in. A little further on we bridged around a pool to find another canyon section. There were no good anchors, so we scrambled out the side and tried to go over the top. From the cliffs above the creek appeared to keep dropping into a nice slot, so we set up a rope and abseiled in. There was a good but short section of canyon with a few little climb downs and one more drop which we opted to abseil. Then it was a walk downstream to the Bowens Creek junction, with some lovely sections of creek interspersed with some fallen trees and head high ferns and sword grass.
We had lunch in the coachwood forest and then headed off downstream. As we reached the canyon proper there was a fair bit of water pouring over the falls, and the usual descent through the hole was a very wet, unpleasant looking option. I found another hole which conveniently went, removing the need for an abseil. This was lucky as Caoimhin - and the rope - had disappeared along a ledge above the canyon! He had found another (dodgy) entry point further downstream.
The water level was up quite a bit - anything up to half a metre in the calmer sections - which made things interesting. We had wetsuits in our bags but couldn't quite be bothered putting them on. There were a few deep wades to keep us guessing which way to go. Rachel did one swim, which Caoimhin and I bypassed by a dodgy jump into shallow water - and then both fell backwards into the water! The lower section was quite stunning, and I stopped a few times for photos. Finally the canyon opened out and we reached the exit creek. This was an excellent gully, a quick ascent through open coachwood forest. I had in my mind a dodgy scramble to get out, but it was quite straightforward, and we were soon on the ridge. A bit more scrub and we were back at the powerlines, and on the trail to the car.
An excellent day in the bush.