Monday 8 – Wednesday 10 August 2016
Photos supplied by Ian
The Club last walked this route, a classic NSW pack walk in rugged wilderness, in June 2012 and a report of that venture can be read on the Club’s web page.
On this occasion five Club members (Wendy, Bronwyn, Simon, Doug and myself) planned to enjoy the walk over three days. Two of the party had not yet sampled the ruggedness and grandeur of the Budawangs Wilderness and were keen to see it. And as for the other three – well, they just can’t help themselves but go back, again and again.
On the first day, we departed Wog Wog car park mid morning and cruised along a reasonably trouble free track. We lunched with magnificent views of Pigeon House Mountain southwards in a large arc to the rugged Wirritin and Currockbilly Mountain ridges. After lunch we climbed Corang Peak which, thanks to the large bushfire in the upper Yadboro River catchment of October 2013, now has 360 degree views over the mid Clyde and upper Corang River catchments. Doug celebrated with a handstand and Simon recorded it, making sure Pigeon House Mountain was in the background.
We moved on to the Corang Arch and recorded a traditional “Oh what a feeling!” photograph of the group. Again, the arch ignored us and showed no sign of collapsing to the thud of falling feet.
Under a setting sun we waded through the golden grassy plains of Canowie and Burrumbeet Brooks and got to our camp with enough light to collect firewood for a warm and cosy night. The usual discussions on future walks, equipment, food and other related bushwalking subjects eventually subsided under a cool, clear, starry night.
Our second day started with deteriorated track conditions. It was wet, muddy, uphill, and overcrowding scrub. Not the most pleasant, and tiring on the legs. Nevertheless, we got to our Mount Cole camp site by lunch time and decided to tackle Mount Owen from the western side. The steep gully entrance was straightforward apart from one steep rock scramble because the damp conditions made rock gripping a bit more tenuous than usual. We made a mad dash across the rock pooled and scrubby top of the plateau (it’s big – 100 hectares plus!) but we were cheated of the alleged magnificent views of the Clyde valley by lack of time and thick undergrowth.
Our retreat was a little more exciting. Under a setting sun and diminishing light, we missed our western exit, lazily following the little rock cairns of the eastern route. After a quick check of our coordinates and a more thorough search we found our route to the north, down the rock slabs and into the confines of the gully once more.
Overnight the westerly winds growled above us but we were snug in our camp. The blowy conditions continued the next day but this did not affect our meander through Monolith Valley. From rocky ramparts we paused to gaze down into the headwaters of Holland Gorge, framed by Donjon Mountain to the west and Shrouded Gods Mountain to the east. We continued on, paying our respects to the seven pinnacles, the Green Room, the adjacent Emerald Room, the Natural Arch and the coachwood/pinkwood rainforest downstream.
Emerging from the confines of the rainforest, and before exiting Monolith Valley via the chains, we enjoyed a final leisurely view westwards from our vantage point at Eagles Nest. We soaked up the timeless atmosphere of the surrounding pancaked mountains of Nibelung, Owen, Cole, Shrouded Gods and Mooryan, formidable guardians of the valley. They are the highly eroded remnants of Pangea’s ancient river sediments of 250 million years ago. This view is one of the great enduring images of wilderness NSW.
We lunched at the Castle saddle and dismissed any plan to climb the Castle under the very windy conditions prevailing. After inspecting Cooyoyo camping area we headed down the steep, eroding, convoluted track toward home. By the time we got to the Yadboro River, and our transport home, we were beat, plodding through the water without even considering taking off our boots.
We didn’t see anyone else in the three days. It was very enjoyable.
A big thank you goes to Goldie and Simon for the transport. It saved us a big car shuffle!