PARTY: Jacqui Knox, Anna Yeadon, Ashley Burke

A thunderstorm over the Kanangra region on Thursday influenced the decision to do a Kanangra trip on the weekend, as there was the prospect that the storms may have recharged parched waterways, filled pools and made waterfalls flow again. So a trip to the upper reaches of a well known creek in this area was in order.

So we drove up on Friday night and on an overcast Saturday morning, we set off for the headwaters of this creek. Soon after entering the headwaters, water was indeed to be found, and in fact, the creek was flowing even in its uppermost reaches almost at pre-drought levels.

And in fairly short order we came to a 30m drop. Since we were carrying rope we decided to abseil this drop rather than do the steep descent around the side. The abseil was great fun, even though we had to abseil through an awkwardly situated patch of scrub on the way down. There was one more short abseil which Jacqui walked around, but because we still had the rope out, Anna and I decided to do this abseil anyway.

Then we joined the main branch of the creek which was flowing freely and the rest of the day was spent following it along its course.

The creek included many features reminiscent of times past when there was always this much water around – deep clear pools rippling beneath splashing waterfalls ….. lots of slippery rocks and lots of leeches. Yes, these little creatures wasted no time in fattening themselves up in these times of plenty, latching onto Anna to start with, then finding Jacqui and I a little later on, so that by the end of the day we had all been well and truly leeched.

The creek was beautiful, and included a granite section where the water funnelled down a 10m drop of pink rock that we had to take great care to downclimb. There were several small waterfalls with some deep and inviting pools at the bottom, and all these waterfalls could be climbed around easily.

It was very slippery though, and later in the afternoon it began to rain as we started searching the banks of the creek for a camp site. Finally we reached a familiar spot with a good area of grass to camp on, but it was raining steadily as we set up our flies and gathered firewood.

Once the fire was going and the billy boiling all was well and we began to dry things out and get rid of any remaining leeches. After a cup of tea the rain eased off and then stopped so we were able to cook dinner on the open fire and stay dry. The rain stayed away all evening, allowing us to relax with wine and port around the camp fire.

Anna and I got through the night leech free but Jacqui had to fight of a minor leech invasion.

Early the next morning the rain came down hard and we lay under our flys avoiding the drips and dozing off to sleep until the rain eased. So we got up very late and built up a decent fire and made a billy or two of piping hot tea to get us going. By the time we had packed up the rain had stopped.

We then climbed a ridge and headed back to Kanangra. We stopped at Pages Pinnacle to admire the 360 degree views of forest and cloud. The mountains had the appearance of tropical rainforest in the humid and damp conditions. What a contrast it was to the semi arid conditions that we have become so used to in recent years. We enjoyed lunch on Kilpatrick Causeway admiring views into the immense chasm of Danae and Cloudmaker was for once living up to its name. Then we walked back along Kanangra Tops to the car and there were pools of fresh rainwater everywhere.

It was a great weekend in beautiful scenery and exciting to have been witness to a very rare event – rain in the catchment area! Thanks to Jacqui and Anna for the company.

Here are a couple of photos of the waterfalls in the creek:

Ashley Burke