I invited Ben and Ed along for extra company. All was going to plan when on Wednesday I realised that going to Kanangra would be a bad idea due to the search and rescue operation to find a missing bushwalker in the region - so we then came up with Plan B - to do some remote canyons in the Boori.
By this stage Greg's ManFlu had developed into a severe case of Mangina, so he had to drop out.
We decided to head up on Friday night so that we could get a reasonably early start the next morning so after a quick bite at the Kurrajong Pub we made our way to the Hole in Wall car Park. As usual, I got misplaced. At least this time I had a good excuse - The Forestry Corp had decided to cut down all the Pine trees leading to the car park and had changed the roads so after 10 mins or so of backtracking we arrived at our destination and decided to camp out under the awning of The Plado, light a fire and drink some Red. A most pleasant evening indeed.
Day 1: Scatters, Luna Park and Hailstorm Retreat Canyons
After a slow start in the morning, we finally started walking at around 8:15am. By this stage two other parties had already arrived and departed - one party bound for Hole in the Wall and the other bound for Fortitude.
We arrived at our camp site, just a bit past the Hole in Wall walking track junction around 9:00 and after sorting out gear set off for Scatters Canyon. Earlier in the week we'd decided that rather than walk down the exit track of Scatters Canyon to get to Luna Park as described in the guide, that we may as well do Scatters Canyon itself. After all, it was only a grade 1, the bush bash from our camp site to canyon didn't seem that far so how long could it possibly take?
The bash into Scatters was quick and easy - probably as a result of no vegetation due to last October's fires.
Scatters has some pretty nice features - about an hour from our start we came across this little pool which seriously looked as though it was Man Made - the wall was exactly a brick wide and dead level at the top and almost perfectly vertical - there are a couple more shots of this in the gallery.
This first little hand-over-hand section is off a rusty fixed peg!
The Ben Power Twins walking through the shallow section of the pool. Ed and I had almost convinced Ben that he needed to swim across. So Close!
Ed heads down the really Cool tunnel swim.
The other end of the tunnel where there were a gazillion micro-moths, midges, flying insecty things. I really should find out the correct name for these things.
Maaaatttteee - that wasn't cold at all!
As I wanted to keep my bag dry as long as possible I managed to avoid all the swims and only got wet up to my waist. The swims look really nice though especially the tunnel, so don't be a Big Girl's Blouse like me and do the swims! The general concensus was that Scatters is bit more difficult than a 1, more like a 2 or 3.
At the junction of the Bungelboori we crossed over and had a quick bit of lunch at a nice leafy flat spot before heading upstream 50m or so to the gully that leads to the Luna Park ridge.
Looking across at Scatters and Hailstorm Retreat. Scatters on the very left and Hailstorm Retreat is the very lush vertical green band just left of centre. Our campsite is at the highest point just left of the middle.
Later that night a Helicopter flew over the top of us towards Luna Park - our immediate thoughts were that there was in fact a party behind us and they gotten in to trouble.
Day 2: Bjelke's Mind Canyon
If you don't know anything about Joh Bjekle Petersen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joh_Bjelke-Petersen) you should have a quick read to get an insight into his straight and narrow views.
Reading the guide may make you wonder why you need a 50m rope for 5 fairly short abseils? No? Well, we certainly wondered about this contradictory statement.
The walk out to Bjelke's Mind does require a bit of navigation and it is easy to head down the wrong ridge even with GPS and compass. There is a vague track at times but it is mostly bush bashing.
We dropped down into the canyon a little bit higher than the suggested Grid Ref of 546029 figuring that if it wasn't right it would be easier to head downhill rather than the other way. So we struck the cliffline at around 546030 and then headed down to a tree that seemed to be close the edge and also near a shortish drop - which as it happened was pretty close to where the guide recommended! Most of the cliffline around here is much higher than 25m, hence the need for the 50m rope.
We stopped for lunch on the Boori, where I decided it was time to test out a gift that I was given at the 2013 ORIC confernce - a single serve of Back Country Cusine Berry Smoothy. It sounded pretty good me:
"The Back Country Cuisine Freeze Dried Fruit Smoothies are nutritious as well as delicious. A combination of 100% freeze dried real fruit mixed with ice-cream powder. Just Add Water - and you have a delicious gourmet smoothie on the go. Perfect for kids, or a quick and easy snack for your next adventure."
And it did in fact taste pretty damn fine. The only problem being that for the next three hours my every second footstep was accompanied by the trumpetting of a Berry Flavoured Fart.
If you're headed here it makes sense to make a weekend out of it and camp out either near the Hole in the Wall junction or at the end of the Bubble Bath Fire Trail which will turn those very long days into something a bit more reasonable.
We stopped by at Kurrajong pub on the way home and bumped into Tom Brennan and Richard Pattison whose YouTube video provided the inspiration to do Bjelke's Mind.
And I'm reading the OzCanyons Facebook page. Two canyoners missing in the Wollangambe area near Du Faurs creek. How weird is that. Our trip has been punctuated by people going missing. Thankfully they found the two missing canyoners around lunchtime. No news of the missing bushwalker however.