OK, I have to admit after the scrub bash to no where my confidence as a navigator was a little down and it was going to be a month and a half until every one was available again so in the mean time I just wanted to do a few shorter easier walks just for a bit of fun, maintain fitness and, brush up on the navigation on some easier routes.
Gooch’s crater and Billabong canyon was an easy on track option for a wet day.
The Grotto at Blackheath’s Centennial glen was another easy on track spot that I hadn’t visited before and was keen for a look.
A pleasant micro canyon right on one of the main tourist walks, it’s worth a visit as part of a longer walk or, as we did, a quick in and out.
It’s a nice spot for a photo but super short. We had plans further down the mountains so combined it with a quick walk down Valley of the Waters to check out Empress, Silvia and, Lodore Falls
I was a little surprised that this late in the season that commercial group were still leading trips through Empress but there was a big group just finishing and another getting ready to abseil.
Next up I needed to go for a bit of a ride to map some trails and potential trails up near Clarence for a project I have been assisting in the background with.
While in the area I thought I’d go for a quick stroll. Clip-in cycle shoes are not the best hiking boots so I didn’t stray too far but wanted to check out some pagodas high up in Bungleborri south branch
I then followed an old trail down into a swamp that feeds into Dambano creek where I came across this neat arrangement of rocks that looked almost as if they were placed by hand but if so the dirt and moss under them suggested they hadn’t been disturbed for centuries
Next up it was time for a couple of easier off track trips.
Another big rain event was forecast but the Sunday dawned with just a bit of drizzle. We kept an eye on the BOM radar and everything looked to be heading coastal. The temperature was fairly mild so we decided to rug up and take a chance.
It was wet underfoot with a lot of water run off and big puddles. It was probably a good chance to check out Gooch’s for a lake again but I was keen to get off track so we settled on a walk down into the head waters of the Dumbano crk.
Navigation was pretty straight forward but a good chance just to brush up the skills.
The rain got a little heavier as we approached the creek.
The soft light and all the little waterfalls cascading into the creek made it all very pretty but belatedly Mandy discovered her jacket was more water resistant than water proof and with the rain getting heavier resistance was futile.
The original plan was to follow the creek down to a small canyon section but the rain intensified while we had a bit of lunch in the cave and with Mandy sopping wet and getting cold we decided to pull the pin
In the short time we stopped for lunch the creek had risen a bit. a short section that was dry when we walked down was now flowing
We took a slightly different way out and as I said the navigation is as straight forward as it gets but for practice I had a specific spot in mind where I wanted to intersect the trail. 3omin of scrub walking later we were bang on the corner of trail I wanted to hit. Confidence back up.
Temperatures plummeted during the week and we got a small dump of snow on the Friday afternoon. We had a walk planned for Sunday but with Saturday’s netball cancelled I convinced Mandy to rug up once again and go for a short walk.
It was another short off track excursion with really basic navigation needed. There was still a bit of snow in south facing gully we decided to head down and the melt dripping off the thick scrub soon had us wet and cold.
The scrub in the gully was very thick but once through the scrub and into the sunshine we dried out and warmed up considerably.
Our target was a sandstone arch that I had a rough grid reference for. Our reference was about 50m off and if you weren’t actually looking for the arch you would walk right past it but tucked up into a little alcove was the Dingo crk/Bungleboori North branch/Howling Arch of many names.
The Arch is one of many stunning sandstone arches in our area but it is one of the trickiest to photograph as it’s tucked up in a small gorge and upstream is steep and thickly vegetated so the view down through the arch is obscured from almost every angle I tried.
Abseiling down off the bridge might give a better perspective but we hadn’t brought the ropes today and while it may have been possible to scramble down the gully through the arch the steep rocks were wet and icy and it was getting late in the day so we decided not to risk it.
Once again we took a different way out, staying out of the scrub in the gully by following some converging ridge lines. A simple compass bearing and walking in a straight line would get us back to the road but for practice I wanted to see how close to the car I could intersect the road.
We popped out of the scrub about 5m behind out parking spot. Not to shabby.
Sunday was a little colder. Cloud cover meant we just didn’t have warm spots of sunshine to thaw us out but we met up with Ed for a trip to look for a little canyon we had heard about.