The Kowmung River is one of New South Wales most wild rivers. It is quite remote and relatively untouched by man. The iconic Australian bushwalker Myles Dunphy produced a sketch map of the area in the 1950's which was to be used on this trip. It was drawn by hand and names features which the government issued topos leave out. The first recorded white man to visit the area was Francis Barrallier http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Barrallier
When in 1802 he turned his expidition around. We were going to retrace some of his spectualed route as the exact route is not known.
Wentworth, myself and another companion arrived at the Kanagra walls Carpark and with a quick repack of the bag the rain coats on we set off in pouring rain.
The mist and rain blocked the spectacular view of the kanangra gorge as we crossed the high plateau and then began out descent towards the Kowmung River. The rain continued and we took shelter briefly in a coal seam cave
The rain began to ease and we continued on. We began descending along the access ridge as marked on the sketch map. The mist lifted and some of the views came into sight
after a short and easy scramble we were down at the Rivers edge. With all the rain its was flowing very high and very fast.( This really deep section in the pic)
We then left what little track we had been following and pressed further. We were now in the exact footstep of Barrallier almost 208 years to the day that his expeditions was turning around after exploring one of the rough side creeks.
We found a suitable place for the hammocks and camp. It was a tarps up first kinda day!
The rain continued all night. It was soothing to hear it falling on the tarp and we all slept very soundly.
The next morning we crossed the river to get that out of the way early. Unfortunately the other side of the river was no easier to move through. Some of the vines had thorns 3 cm long. I also ripped 3 holes in my canvas hat!
As we continued through the scrub with the river flowing past us we saw the first sign of humans. in the late 1800 gold in small but payable qamounts was discovered and prospectors moved in. There is no record of the amount of gold coming out, but with the Klondike occuring at the same time in the Yukon and other rushes and new strikes occurring in Australia the Kowmung rush did not last long. Its because of this that the damage was kept to a minimum and has since almost completely recovered.
This is some promising looking quartz from a digging
By the early after noon we reached the junction of the creek that Barrallier is said to have traveled down and then retreated. It is a beautiful valley with some open meadows and some neat rock formations.
There is supposedly some caves in the rock as there is a limestone belt so we spent some time looking for them. It was great rock to scramble on and towards the top there was some great views looking back towards the Kowmung.
Just when we were ready to give up and continue heading on we found a entrance. Inside there was some tight passage but with some squeezing it opened up into a good sized cavern.
The beauty was amazing!
After attaching our helmets to our pack we shouldered them. Picked our exit ridge and took a bearing. After gaining all the elevation we lost the day prior we made camp. But again the views were incredible.
The rain was off and on all night in heavy gusts as we were on the ridge top but again we slept very sound.
After a breakfast of champions (wheat bix and powdered milk and brown sugar) we took a new bearing and began descending back to the Kowmung. We now were off the route that Barrallier followed. Breaking our own trail we followed a great ridge that took us back to the river but far further down stream from our first crossing. This meant a higher volume of water.
We checked the our pack liners and made sure all the vitals wouldn't get wet and then made the swim. The water is unexpectedly cold for being the shoulder season of summer at the moment.
After wringing our cloths out and having a quick bit to eat we began our final ridge climb. Which was also to be the biggest. As we began climbing the sun came out. the day became stunning. When we arrived at the top we were rewarded with what some argue is the best view in all Australia. The Kanangra Wall.