[Short Notice] Clean-Up the Gross Grose! 
Leader:Felix Ossig-Bonanno

Last weekend we noticed a lot of rubbish in the Grose. So… the plan is to run a very flexible (beginner friendly) trip that will pass this site so we can do a clean-up (maybe a loop incorporating the cliff-top track?).
I’ll be buying stuff in Katoomba in the morning, so can give people lifts from there.

Expect some wet/muddy tracks I think.

Attendees: Me, David, Ruby, Gesine, and Wanlu

I woke David and we began packing in what seemed like quite a hurry. I thought we where running late so rang Ruby on the way to let her know we would be late… however when we pulled up at Blackheath station there was no one waiting. I checked my mobile and it turned out that Ruby was still 40mins away… It turns out I got the time out by an hour! (David thought I was heading to Katoomba to buy a compass…)

It was definitely cold. We kept ourselves busy, checking oil, refilling wiper water, putting my left indicator back in (it must have fallen out the day before). Before I knew it the train had arrived, and after fetching Wanlu (who didn’t seem to understand me when I asked if she was with SUBW) and Gesine from the survice station (toilet) we where on our way. (We where also supposed to Charlie, but he had missed the train – hopefully we would meet at Govetts Leap. Leah had pulled out the night before due to car issues).

We parked down Evans Lookout Rd amazed at the snow-like piles of hail that carpeted sections on the side of the road. After a brief visit to the Valley View lookout, we started out along the Cliff Top Track. The track was quite slushy and I think most people got their feet a bit wet by the time we crossed over Govetts Leap.
With a final stop at the public toilets, we began our descent to the bottom of the falls that we had just crossed at the top of the cliffline. The way down wasn’t quite as steep as my younger self seemed to recall, but it was great walking and the temperature was quite nice once you got moving.

(left) Horseshoe Falls, (right) Govetts Leap Falls.


We followed the gulley down and after several creek crossings soon gave up keeping dry feet. Given the recent rainfall the waterfalls where pumping and there where lots of pretty feeder streams you wouldn’t normally see.

Trinity Falls


Mini mountain range!


Group shot in a hollow tree.


Some coral-like fungi.

Every was ready for lunch when we reached Junction Rock; we climbed up onto it (avoiding the crossings) and shared some food (including half a watermelon and rockmelon!). I think it was some threatening drops that resolved us to get moving after not so long a break.

It wasn’t far to the rubbish site that had led me to organise this trip.  It was still all there, strewn about a small structure. We got out our garbage bags and began picking stuff up. Someone brought up concerns about the morality of taking some pots and a fly… however it looked like they had been there quite a while so I took them anyway, but the the positive feeling of cleaning up was now tainted by this darker thought (we did leave a stash that was concealed in some rocks).

On a side note, the structure is also something that is frowned upon as you aren’t supposed to build structures in National Parks – in fact some one has told me that this particular one has been reported at least twice. I also heard about a stone building that was dismantled on the Wild Dogs; it is interesting that a two(?) week eviction notice had to be served first.

The act of cleaning up more permanent sites is an interesting discussion. I’m not entirely sure where I stand.
(Whilst we where cleaning a guy with a dog. His response to this being a national park was that he had a permit – I hadn’t heard of that before. Does anyone know anything about this??)

Gesine collecting rubbish strewn around a small structure.

With packs significantly heavier we continued up Rodriguez Pass, having to find an alternate crossing over Greaves Creek before taking a rest at the base of Beauchamp Falls.

(right) an alternate crossing as the normal one was too dangerous.


Wanlu at the base of Beauchamp Falls

We continued up deciding not to visit the Grand Canyon. On the way up I noticed that one of the two ‘sentinel trees’ trees that you walk through had fallen. I thought it ironic that just last weekend Martin had commented that theses where his two favourite trees on the walk!

Strange sea urchin-like fungi


 The stepping stones weren’t much use!

We squished back in the car and headed back to Sydney, most of us talking the train.

PDF version – slightly modified.