It’s been a couple of months since my last Wollemi exploratory walk with Yuri, so despite the rather damp weather I’m looking forward a bushwalk which Yuri describes as “North of Little Tootie”.
Shortly after leaving the Bowen Hill Trail, we spot a set of axe grinding grooves. Or, to be more accurate, Yidan spots the grooves after the rest of us have traipsed right past them…
We continue descending gently from the ridge, soon reaching an unnamed creek, which has a series of potholes along the long sandstone bed.
There’s an impressive set of grinding grooves along the creek, and what seems to be a very long grooved channel that ensures water in this ephemeral stream is directed into the larger potholes.
We continue to descend the small gully along our unnamed creek, passing a large sandstone overhang.
After a very brief respite from the drizzle under the rock shelter, we resume our descent, staying close to the creek but crossing it a few times to find the easiest route.
It starts to get a bit steeper as we reach a tributary of Bowens Creek, finding a few slots and scrambling down rock ledges to provide a safe passage down.
Yuri had planned a longer loop, around one of the tall cliffs above Bowens Creek, but the persistent rain means the rock surfaces are slippery and harder to negotiate. The terrain is is also getting much steeper as we descend, so we make the decision to shorten the loop…
…Something I’ve discovered over the last couple of years, as I’ve done more off-track bushwalking, is how inaccurate – or perhaps imprecise is a better term – the standard topographic maps are. Looking at the 1:25K topo with 10m contour lines, the entire area we’re traversing today is a walk in the park… but compare this to the same map with high-resolution (LIDAR) elevation data, and you get a much better idea of the terrain. It’s not all gentle slopes, but steep cliffs and narrow slots that need to be navigated (red means steep and black is effectively a cliff line).
We head up one gully as we look for a route back to Bowens Hill Trail, but it ends with a vertical rock face, forcing us to backtrack a little.
We find an easier way back up towards the main ridge, past a few more interesting rock formations and an oddly contorted tree.
We stop for lunch at a large overhang along a low cliff-line, which has some Aboriginal rock art.
From here, it’s a relatively short walk back up a fairly open ridge to the Bowen Hill Trail and our cars.
It’s been a fairly short, exploratory bushwalk by Yuri’s standards… but a few minutes after we reach the cars, the rain resumes with a much a greater intensity than the morning’s drizzle, so we’re all happy to re-group at Pie in the Sky for a coffee!
Getting to North of Little Tootie
The walk starts near the locked gate on the Bowen Hill Trail, which is accessed from Bilpin via the Bells Line of Road. It’s one of many exploratory walks conducted by Yuri Bolotin which descend the many gullies and ridges of the main Bownen Hills ridgeline.