Saturday 5th January 2019: Iron Pot Creek , Toonumbar NP NSW
Participants: Alan G, Rosemary N, Steve M, Yuliana H, Cathy H, Gail B, Michelle M, Simon C-C, Cherie P, Hilde G, Lisa F, John C-C, Andrew C-C and Leader Shane M
Afternoon of Friday 4th we all started arriving at the Iron Pot Camping Ground. We had come from far and wide, Northern Rivers, Gold Coast and Brisbane. There was already quite a few people at the camp so with the addition of our group there was not too many spots left. The late afternoon was spent individually exploring the creek around the camp. At dusk we mustered at the shelter for the briefing of how, what and where. Maps were issued and all were made aware of the frog fungus pathogen issue, boots and gaiters got a good going over and spray, then the sign on and evening meals prepared and consumed. A cold ale and wine was enjoyed before an early night ready for the next day's adventure.
Saturday 5th. Alarms went off at 5am (still pretty dark) and much activity as lunches were packed etc. The 7am start time was reached and we piled into 4 vehicles. One vehicle was to be left at the Murray Scrub Loop Trail for our return and the other 3 vehicles to carry the 14 of us up to the start of the walk at Cox Road. I had come in from the Cox Road end the previous evening to check for trees down and also to mark the start as it can be difficult to find. The drive to the start was uneventful except for the two stops for views. Firstly at the Murray Scrub Lookout where we could look down to where we were about to go. Then to Sherwood Lookout to see the view of the mountains in a row. Unfortunately they were clouded out, oh well next time. We finally had cars parked and started descending the track at 8:20am. The parking area and track down had not been used in a long time I would say at least six months or longer. Reaching the creek we descend to the water level and began our wading on the rock slabs. I was pleased to see my caution flag was still in place next to the site of two previous mishaps. A hole in the slabs about 400mm across but at least 2m deep all set to snare the next unwarey walker.
This top section of the creek flows over what appears to be igneous slabs with many hanging vines and with little sky visible. This terrain continued for 3.5km until we reached the waterfall. The drop off is around 30m and quite exposed. Care and caution emphasized as all peered down to the valley below. I left the group and climbed the right bank and lay the 15m tape rope down the first gully. Summoning the group who took it in turns down to the valley below. A bit of bouldering and we were at the creek level again and looking back at the waterfall. The cliff face is a conglomerate of old smooth river rocks set in what appears to be volcanic ash. Very little water flowing over the falls. Not as much water as evident in the creek so must be underground, another deep hole in the slabs perhap. I had gps marked the confluences of the creeks and labelled them 1 to 11 on the left and only 1 to 4 on the right so that we would know exactly where we were irrespective of our GPS as they have a habit of dropping out at an inopportune time. Proceeding down the stream the creek walls came closer and closer until we were looking vertically up 30m of exposed sandstone/mudstone. It now became most wonderful with the odd waterfall coming in on the left From about the 4th on the left until about the 8th we were in the gorge with sometimes very narrow ( 2m~3m ) and steep sometimes overhanging sides. Walking on gravel and rock hopping followed by wading waist deep, balancing on submerged logs or side walling muddy sections. At 10.45am we stopped next to creek left 7 for morning tea having covered only 3.5km but well on our way towards creek left 11 our exit point. We enjoyed the break as the going requires intense concentration rather than intense exertion. After the break we headed off into more of the same until reaching creek left 9 by which time the walls had moved back from the creek and opened up considerably. Just past left 9 we visited our previous overnight camp spot complete with its giant stinging trees. We had been foolish on that trip as there were ample flat spots well away from the stingy leaf litter. On three occasions up to this time we had seen and photographed frogs that we thought were the Richmondensis, but I now think that is not the case. The crayfish we saw was red and white and a good size. One only lazy python and one fish apart from the squawking Sulphur Crest not much other wildlife. At 4:30 pm we reached the left 11 creek our exit point having travelled 10.4kms. The next bit was the climbout of the creek to the Murray Scrub Loop Track above. This was easily accomplished after an ascent of 55m and a distance of 750m. The idea was then that the drivers would take the short way around the loop while the others would take the long way. Unfortunately the map in the GPS was inaccurate so the situation was reversed. No harm done. The drivers were soon in my car and we were off on our 15km and 30 minute drive back to Cox Road and the cars. We arrived back at the turnoff and picked up the stragglers and carried them back to camp. A lot of happy weary walkers enjoyed reminiscing over dinner that night. What a wonderful walk with great company. My fears about the group size were unfounded and the timing was perfect. Apart from a few bruises and aching bodies all good. Thanks to all the competent crew. Shane
Sunday 6th January 2019: Eden Creek Falls , Toonumbar NP NSW
Participants: Alan G, Rosemary N, Yuliana H, Simon C-C, Cherie P, Hilde G, John C-C, Andrew C-C and Leader Shane M
A late start with most packing up camp so as to avoid backtracking. We left the camp at 9:00am and proceeded up Forest Range Road to the Poor Bullock Road parking Area. It was immediately obvious that the locked gate had been driven around recently with the new grass growth flattened and that flattened grass still green and barely dried. Walking down the track the large tree falls that I remember from earlier visits had been chain sawed and moved and it would now be possible to use a push bike. We arrived at the old picnic area at 10:30am and had a breather before setting off down the old track to the bottom falls. It was apparent that the track had been marked by recent blazing of trees along it. Careless and unnecessary vandalism. We arrived at the top of the bottom falls at 11:10am and I deployed a safety line so that we could have a good look over the edge of the 50m drop. We then sat down for morning tea. The geocache was located and note was left expressing our displeasure at the tree vandalism. We then rock hopped up to the base of the top falls where the desire to cool off overcame us and in we went. These falls guesstimated in the 65m ~ 90m range. After a short while we dressed and headed up the right face of the falls. An easy scramble with many vines and roots as support, arriving at about 50m from the top of the falls. By this time it was 12:45pm and time for lunch and another cooling off in the infinity pool at the top of the falls. At 1:30pm we decided to head back taking the shortest route to Poor Bullock. This was accomplished in 30 minutes then all we had to do was walk back along the track to the cars. 3:00pm saw us bidding farewell and parting company after a pleasant easy day. All had enjoyed this easier day and I thank them for their company. Shane