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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lockley Pylon to Victoria Falls

Needing to introduce a group of overseas visitors to the bush, and having only a day and a night to do so, I took them for an overnight in the Grose Valley, starting at Lockley Pylon with it's magnificent views, and ending with the climb up past Victoria Falls. We had amazing weather for May and as we arrived on the Pylon there was a Wedge-tailed Eagle circling above it. On top of the Pylon we had views of the waterfall at Fortress Creek.

"OK, just down there, along a bit and up the other side."


It took about two hours to do the near-600m descent via the Du Faur Buttress. Here we are at the top of the steep bit:

Arriving at the Bluegum Forest, we had the usual wonderful views of Mt Banks, enhanced by the perfect blue sky. The convenient log across Govetts Creek is still there.

Christophe on the log:

After lunch we had three hours to get to Burra Korain Flats before dark on this short winter day, so we set off at a good pace up the valley. After four wet years the undergrowth is notably thicker than it used to be.

As it turned out, we needed about 40 minutes more to get to Burra Korain Flats, so rather than set up camp in the dark, we stopped at an established campsite between Hat Hill Creek and Crayfish Creek, which turned out in the morning to be the last established campsite before the flats. With a cloudless sky the temperature fell quickly, but we soon had a good fire going.

There was a huge and perfect full moon this night, which we discovered when we got back was the astronomical phenomenon of a 'Giant Moon', when it approaches the earth most closely. We didn't get any photos, but this is a snap of it coming up that evening back in Sydney. I had a spectacular night, sleeping out by the fire with the whole forest looking like silver.

The others were curled up in their tents, as warm as a wombat in a burrow. Why a Salewa sleeping bag purchased in Germany should have a wombat on it remains a mystery.

We were up at dawn next morning, joined by a pair of Glossy Black Cockatoos, who watched us have breakfast while they had their first Casuarina seeds of the day. After negotiating a really major tree fall right on the ford across Victoria Falls Creek, we were soon at the falls themselves. On the way up the hill afterwards we met an NPWS crew going down to clear the track.

Tradition demands that someone pose as the mermaid of Copenhagen on the rock in the plunge pool, and this time we were lucky enough to have a Dane to fill the role. With her is another fairytale character, the Big Bad Wolf.

The 400m ascent to Victoria Falls carpark took longer than we expected - nearly two hours, and the last bit does seem to go on - too many steps!

Some of us found it easier than others.

But even the young and fit were glad to be on top, looking back down the creek to Burra Korain Flats:
 The Grose Valley remains a great introduction to the mountains for a visitor, and in winter it's not too busy. Here Ingo reflects on eternity:

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