Tag Archives: Canyoning Blue Mountains

What Young People Crave

54 and 55

What Young People Crave

22 – 23/2/16

Blue Mountains



Bowens Creek

Down through the rainforest.

A twisted ankle slows us up.

Waiting for abseils beside waterfalls we get a little cold.

Shafts of sunlight.

Students lead and take responsibility – navigation, belaying.

We see no other people all day which adds to the remote wilderness atmosphere.

Talk of other college trips. “The Reef was the best thing in my whole life. Arapiles. Snowboarding in Japan”.

The students were marvellous – sociable and friendly, they pushed themselves on the long walk up and out, supportive of each other, volunteered to help out.  The culture was wonderful.  Facilitated by the staff they had fun, enthused, were willing to give things a go. It was healthy exercise for a whole day. No social media.

Empress next day

The valley was full of cloud.

Fast and furious action was interspersed with slow walking downstream.

Abseil down in the waterfall. Excitement and a little fear.

Sparkling light rainbowed by the tumbling water and glistening the rock.Leap

Amazing surrounds – noise, rushing water, trembling, cold, adrenaline.

I think that this is what many teenagers crave – excitement, action, extreme environments, surrounded by caring and skilled adults and supportive buddies.

What a privilege it is to be able to accompany them as they live these experiences.

I can imagine them all singing out on the bus on the way home, “Summer of 69” or some other new classic as Dan get goose bumps while driving thinking about all the good he’s just brought about for these lucky “go get” students.

An American president from the distant past said that young people have a void inside them that is aching to be filled with adventure and excitement and if we don’t help them fill it with something meaningful and wholesome they will find other ways to fill it.


Canyon Family Legend


Canyon Family Legend


Blue Mountains



This was a response to a request from my niece, Elouise, to go canyoning for her birthday. As part of family legend her Mum and my brother and his wife had taken our 65 year old mother canyoning. One of my other brothers, William, had explored pretty much all known canyons in the Blue Mountains in the 70s and published a book of photographs. From that time Mum had harboured a desire to go canyoning and had an adventurous spirit. The length and difficulty of the Bell Creek Canyon had been underestimated. One thing led to another and two of them stayed overnight with her on a sandy beach, keeping her awake and warm, while the other one went out to call the rescue. William and a friend arrived with the SES in the morning to find Mum walking up the exit track wondering what the fuss was about. My nephew, Tom, then a little tacker proudly told everyone that his Gran was stuck down a canyon.

The legend lived on for decades in family lore and is oft recalled.

So seven of us headed into Rocky Creek.Light 2

Jump in from the ledge to start.

Scramble down the chute.

Balance along slippery walls.

Cold water.

We all stayed warm in long wetsuits – William for first time wore a wetsuit and surprised himself how warm a canyon could be.

Stunningly beautiful canyon scenery at every turn. Sunlight shafted between green walls and vapour rose in steamy clouds from breathing and evaporation off wetsuits.

David, “Just back there I felt in the right scale – very small in such a grand place.”

The new dark grey executive volleys were the fashion item of appropriate footwear.


A birthday cake after the canyon proper on a sunny beach.


Long hot 38 degrees walk out. Climb up with a rope belay.

Matt, “This is turning out be a long expedition.”

Perhaps this was a small new addition to the family story.