2015 Blue Mountains - Coxs River to Narrow Neck

summary: Much bigger challenge that expected, this trip meanders along the Coxs River before hitting the challenge of Carlon Head to get to Narrow Neck.
date: 6-8 June 2015
distance: 57kms
plan: BLUE MOUNTAINS - COXS RIVER and DUNPHYS CAMPSITE
tags: HIKE - REPORT - BLUEM - COXS - DUNPHYS - SIXFOOT - 2015
views: 1213

CHALLENGE

With our upcoming trip to Nepal approaching fast, Edwin and I decided this long weekend would be a good opportunity to get out and start some serious training. So after so debate, we agreed on this trip which on paper looked like it should be pretty easy to complete in the time we had. How wrong could we have been!

DAY ONE - SIX FOOT TRACK

I drove up to the Blue Mountains after work on Friday and found a nice cosy motel to stay at for the night. This gave me the opportunity to drop my car off in the morning down Narrow Neck and walk up to the Exlorers Tree to meet up with Edwin and Kelly. It was a cool morning, and clear, so it was great walking weather. I arrived at the Explorers Tree just after 8:30am and Edwin and Kelly were already there waiting for me. We quickly got things sorted out and we were off to the head of the Six Foot Track.

By the number of cars parked around the trail head, we knew we were going to bump into a few people along the walk today, and we did just that only a few minutes into the walk.

The first part of the track is a gentle down slope for a while before you hit the steps leading down to Nellies Glen. This is a beautiful section of the track as you follow the creek line down into the valley there are waterfalls and cascades most of the way down to the bottom. With our leg burning from the descent, we pushed on until stopping for morning tea next to a padock with horses, and a single Kangaroo.

After morning tea, the trail opened up a little for a while through some farm contry and leading us past a winery which we debated on visiting. We could see lots of people ahead of us walking in single file up the hill, with the occasional person running - not sure what thats about!

We were distracted a little when we hit the main road and then started looking for the Megalong Cemetery which we found later on the main trail. This is another trail head, so there were even more people preparing for a days walk. But we continued on down the hill, as we are now heading towards the Coxs river valley.

Lunch was had on a grassy bank just above a creek. The weather was still great, as we spent a little time going through my pack looking at electronic gadgets! After lunch, we made it all the way down to the Coxs River and the infamous Bowtells Swing Bridge. From the ground, this bridge didnt look too scary, but once we eventually got our turn to cross - its no wonder that thing is called a "swing" bridge! You get to the middle section and suddenly feel as though you have no control over what is happening.

Anyway, we didnt lose anyone here and continued on the trail for another kilometer or so until we reached our overnight camp at the Coxs River. Not surprisingly, there was quite a number of people here already, including a four wheel drive group! We pitched tents in the corner of the camping area, and were soon approached by some other campers that we agreed to join forces in preparing a fire for the night. With this done, we relaxed into a friendly evening of discussion around the fire before heading to bed nice and early.

DAY TWO - OFF TRACK

Getting up in the morning was pretty tough, with a heavy frost which only seemed to have formed in our corner of the camp site, and long shadows from the trees to the North, it was cold. Fortunately there was a little heat left in our fire from the night before which was able to give us a breath of life.

We slowly packed up, and headed off back to the swing bridge to get to the other side of the Coxs. We had all decided that crossing the river at the campsite was going to be too painful at this early hour, so the detour was our first challenge for the day. Once that was complete, and we spotted the campsite from the other side of the river, we started to head up stream into rough and overgrown territory. It wasnt long before we hit our first obstacle, signs indicating private property and no camping, but what looked like a huge group of campers hidden in the trees. We approached cautiously. A group of people were hovering over a huge fire, some eating, some cooking. We started speaking to one of the men there, he turned out to be the land owner and they were all friends having a weekend of camping. He was very nice, gave us some encouragement about our day ahead and wished us on our way.

From here though the going was quite tough, for the first few hundred metres, lots of rock hopping and debate on track selection. Eventually though, the track did open up a bit, but we had to push pretty hard to make it to a relaxing morning tea stop along the track at a bridge across the Coxs where it intersects with Little River - described by Edwin as a little disappointing! After morning tea we had some track walking yay!! For about 100m before we dropped back down to the river :( But now we had rested, the going was definitely a little easier. We travelled along past some homes built pretty close to the river, with the most amazing back yards ever. Mostly sticking to the old cattle trails which took us pretty much in the shortest direction we needed to go. We had decided to push on as long as we could before stopping for lunch, because we had realised we were already well behind on time.

It wasnt long before we stumbled across a couple of fishermen trying their luck at catching trout. So we stopped and had a chat and found they were camped down at the Breakfast Creek campsite, so we knew we would be able to get there eventually! They gave us a few suggestions, and tips and so we finally realised it was 'boots off' time! Even knowing we were going to get wet, we still spent some time trying to work out the best spot to cross. In the end, it probably didnt matter. The crossing was pretty simple and the water wasnt even that painfull temperature that I am used to from hiking in Kosciuszko for so long! Once across the river, we continued along the western bank until another crossing was required that brought us to the Breakfast Creek junction!!

It was already getting late, so we had a quick lunch and then started up Breakfast Creek. After seeing virtually no water in the creek, we decided to go back to the Coxs river and fill up on water, as we still had quite a hike up to Dunphys.

Once filled with water, we started up Breakfast Creek again. The first part of the walk was pretty much just straight up the river bed, as it was dry here there was not problem. The going was pretty slow though as the river bed was very rocky. Eventually water did appear though - we still dont know where it was going because there was nothing at the Coxs river end! So at this point we had to walk along the river bank. Unfortunately this was quite over grown in a lot of places, so there was a river crossing every five minutes so that we could keep up the progress. We were starting to lose light now as it was getting on for 4:00pm. I made the call that we needed to start looking for a camp so that we are not walking in the dark, which would have been very difficult. After about four or five "just another five minutes" calls from Edwin, we finally selected a spot which was pretty flat, and adequate size for a nights camp. We knew we had been walking today, starting at 8:30 and finishing at 4:30 with only a couple of short stops, this had been a really long day. And without a fire (all the timber around here was wet) tonight was going to be a really early one!

DAY THREE - MOUNTAINEERING

We rose nice and early in the morning, to a cool but clear looking day. We didnt hang around camp too long as we knew we had a lot to catch up on today if we were going to get back to the cars before dark. Not surprisingly, five minutes down the track we found a large camping area, complete with fire pit and all the trimmings!! Oh well, we all slept well which was the main thing.

The criss crossing of the river continued today, until eventually we reached the intersection with Carlons Creek. This was well marked with a national parks sign. The trail turns a little steeper uphill at this stage, and we were also warned that there would be plenty of nettles around here - which we found very quickly! They were not really that bad though, quite easy to avoid and I think we only got stung a couple of times each :) We continued to push hard, with only a short stop along the steep trail to the top of the hill where the trail eventually opens out into cleared pasture. At this point, we knew we were getting close to Dunphy's, and before long we hit the fence line and another national parks sign which lead us up to Dunphys campsite.

There was a number of people still camped here, or in the process of packing up. I had an opportunity to chat to one of the guys who said it had been very windy last night - so lucky we didnt make it all the way here :) He also appeared to be a little worried when we said we were climbing up Carlons Head today. He questioned if we had all the right climbing gear, harnesses, ropes etc. as they had done the climb yesterday and it was not for the feint hearted! Despite the warnings, we decided to push on as we really didnt have any alternative exit strategies at this point. There had been some road works in the area recently, and a new fire trail made the takes you up to the Bellbird Ridge and then on to the main trail under the powerlines. We crossed that track, and eventually found the intimidating warning signs about the climb up Carlons Head.

At this point, the track turns very steep. It zig zags up the mountain for some time, which we approach with a slow and steady pace. We were carrying decent packs too which made balance a little tricky at times. We eventually reached the cliff face of carlon head, which was a welcome relief for our legs. While Kelly and Edwin rested, I ducked around the corner of the cliff face looking for the first of the chain climbs - I quickly located and was less than intimidated at this one, but how much harder were they going to get?

After a break, and some pack stuffing we set off up the first chain climb. As expected, it was not too difficult and we were on to the next one. Unfortunately, this one WAS more difficult, with large distances between the pegs and chain, it was going to be a serious challenge. We decided to drops packs and haul them up on the chain which made things much safer, and with that done, the climb was actually not too difficult. We continued on this way as we gained the 100 meters of altitude required to get to the summit of Carlons head. It turns out that the second chain climb was the hardest, but next time a few meters of rope would definitely make the job easier.

Once at the top though, the views were amazing! The day was clear, but very windy, so we could see for miles in all directions. We stopped here for a late lunch, before getting geared up and heading off along the lightly marked track towards Bushwalkers Hill. his was actually a lovely walk through some not so dense bush land, before popping out on the main Narrow Neck trail. We hadnt actually anticipated how long we would need to walk along this trail before getting to the car - but at least at this point we were on the homeward strech :)

Overall, a very challenging, but enjoyable weekend away with amazing views and great company.


LIVE HIKING LOG

2015-06-08 13:16:25 Top of carlon head what a view !

2015-06-08 11:55:52 Carlons head

2015-06-07 17:00:16 Finally stopped for the night. Lots of work left for tomorrow.

2015-06-07 15:06:40 Hard work today so unlikely to make it to dunphys today. Will camp along breakfast creek instead.

2015-06-07 08:14:39 Cold night. Had fire with other campers. Just about ready to get going.

2015-06-06 16:09:12 Great day at camp with all the people


Google Maps

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  • 2015-06-07 
  • 2015-06-08 
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  • waypoints 
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Routes

LEG-1
BMSIXFTSTRT
[56H 248705 6267391]
MEGARD
[56H 243768 6263726]
BOWTELLS
[56H 239314 6263354]
COXSCAMP
[56H 238638 6262791]

LEG-2
COXSCAMP
[56H 238638 6262791]
GALONGCRK
[56H 239790 6259416]
BRKFSTCRK
[56H 238826 6255501]
CARLONCRK
[56H 242568 6255796]
DUNPHYS
[56H 243524 6257714]

LEG-3
DUNPHYS
[56H 243524 6257714]
MEDLOWGAPTR
[56H 244764 6257577]
LOWCARLON
[56H 244744 6257708]
CARLONPASS
[56H 245090 6257831]
BMBWHILL
[56H 246412 6257996]
BMNRNECK
[56H 248722 6264471]

Waypoints

 
BMNRNECK
[56H 248722 6264471]
BMBWHILL
[56H 246412 6257996]
BMTARROS
[56H 246755 6254979]
BMSIXFTSTRT
[56H 248705 6267391]
MEGARD
[56H 243768 6263726]
COXSHILLTOP
[56H 240599 6262753]
COXSCAMP
[56H 238638 6262791]
GALONGCRK
[56H 239790 6259416]
BRKFSTCRK
[56H 238826 6255501]
CARLONCRK
[56H 242568 6255796]
DUNPHYS
[56H 243524 6257714]
MEDLOWGAPTR
[56H 244764 6257577]
LOWCARLON
[56H 244744 6257708]
CARLONPASS
[56H 245090 6257831]
BOWTELLS
[56H 239314 6263354]