January has brought a bit of a heat wave to NSW, and, up in the Blue Mountains, the temperatures are sizzling. Rock climbing is OK in the early morning in the shade, but by 10 am, if you haven't sent your proj., you're not sending. On these days, canyoning is a good option.
Mid-afternoon, when even the cicadaswere feeling the heat, we walked down the tourist track to the Grand Canyon. The ground seemed to be radiating heat in waves and pulling on wetsuits at the abseil anchors felt a little silly.
The abseil into the canyon is a little overhung and you instantly drop in a deep, green cool amphitheater. Heading downstream, there is some swimming through deep pools, some scrambling over boulders and logs, and a little slithering down ledges into pools. Near the exit, a blind side canyon is worth a short detour. It's a beautiful place, cool on a hot day, and feels far removed from the regular world even though the tourist track runs along the top of the canyon. Pretty quickly, the canyon ends, and you land on the tourist track with a choice of walking back via Evans Lookout, or back the way you came.
If you go:
- The abseil anchors are about half an hour walk down the track behind a fence with the usual “you may die” verbiage.
- The water is surprisingly cold. Even on a hot day a wetsuit seemed like a good idea.
- Follow the canyon through until you reach a small green island in the middle of the canyon. You can go right or left of the island. Left is dry, right means a swim.
- Ignore the track just downstream of the island and continue to follow the creek for a few minutes and you'll pop out on the tourist track.