Participants: Monica, Chee, Jonno, Lisa, Felicia
Whilst the previous few days of the Easter weekend had been sunny and mild, Sunday morning dawned gloomy and cold and I forced myself to get out of my warm bed and pack my bag for a few canyons. I picked up Felicia in the inner west and we headed off to Clarence.
Arriving at the turn off for Dargans Creek on Bells Line of Rd, we saw Chee, Jonno and Lisa patiently waiting for us. For some reason, I always think the turn off is just after the bridge and I had to rapidly turn around as the others saw me drive a little bit too far past them.
We consolidated into 2 cars and endured the bumpy drive to the end of the dirt road. The weather was no better on our arrival at Clarence and it was a chilly 14 degrees. We donned wetsuits and thermals and headed to the trail, abandoning any thoughts of dam swimming and water jumps.
Although Dargans Creek can be completed by just walking, scrambling and climb downs, a previous trip had been able to abseil in. So we weren’t taking the usual route down to the dam, and luckily Chee had remembered some distinguishing features being on the trail to the abseil. After a quick check of a few trails from the car park area, we headed along one and swiftly arrived at the abseil anchors. It was actually a rock climb with bolts all the way up the wall.
The cliff face was almost straight up and down and about 35-40m high as promised. A fun and mostly unchallenging abseil, it’s quite higher than most. Chee flew down first, then Lisa, followed by Felicia and Jonno. With one last admiring look from above, of the view around me, I descended last.
We followed the creek and experienced some awesome classic canyon-y constrictions, with fun climb downs in gushing mini-waterfalls. It didn’t take long to reach the waterfall with a rope by its side drawing us out, and then a fun climb up the spiky tree. We arrived back at the cars after just 2 hours.
After a brief discussion, Chee, Jonno and I decided to go to Dalpura Canyon. Lisa and Felicia drove to the canyon parking spot with us and we shared lunch. In a familiar pattern, I once again drove past the turn off for the canyon and had to turn around again at the Mt Wilson turn off.
After lunch, Lisa and Felicia headed home. The remaining adventurers started looking for the trail down to the canyon. Despite there being an obvious trail downwards, the track notes I had, indicated the trail should be a little further along. But no, Jonno was right and the most obvious path was the correct path.
We headed down to the canyon and got our feet wet after about 15 minutes of walking. At the first deep pool, we had a choice of scrambling up and over it, or jumping in for a chest height swim. Chee the cat, walked over it, while Jonno and I took the plunge. The water was amazingly clear with a beautiful aqua marine glow. You could see everything at the bottom with perfect clarity. There was some great yabbie watching along the way in this canyon.
We came along to the first abseil into another beautiful pool. The view from underneath was surreal, with a dark cavelike atmosphere, but with softly glowing aqua water. If there are fairies in the Blue Mountains, this grotto must be one of their favourite spots. The rest of the canyon contained some pretty sandstone features, lots of yabbies and little side water trickles. We came to the end and despite not needing to, abseiled down the waterfall and then scrambled out.
The trail followed the base of a cliff and knowing that there were pagodas above us, we scrambled up at one point and rock hopped along them at the top for a while. By this stage, the sun made a late appearance and it was now a lovely bright afternoon. We were treated to some wonderful views of the Grose. At the end of the rocks, we had a choice of bush bashing our way back to the trail through a saddle or just dropping off the side, back to the trail we could see at the base of the cliff. It was 4:30 pm and there was a delicious Bilpin Hillbilly Cider calling my name. So we just abseiled back onto the trail and quickly made our way back to the cars.