Father’s Day Bushwalk – 2016

My Father’s Day weekend (Sept 4th, in Australia) was glorious. It was perfect in many ways. For one thing, I spent the weekend with my best friend (my wife, Teresa) and my two terrific children. Also, the weather was perfect, warm and sunny. But best of all, it was very active.

On the trail again, for Father's Day!

On the trail again, for Father’s Day! Photo by Brian. :)

On Saturday, Teresa, Heather and I rode our bikes while Brian rode his scooter, from home to Lane Cove and back, a journey of 5 Km (3.5 miles) each way. Hats off to Brian (5), for pushing his scooter up all the hills along that way. At Lane Cove we had lunch and caught lots of Pokemon, playing Pokemon Go. We even caught our first Dragonite! If you aren’t up on your Pokemon, trust me, this was very exciting! :)

On Fathers Day, I was served my favorite breakfast, Teresa’s yummy homemade carrot muffins. Imagine moist, delicious carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, in a muffin, for breakfast! Yum!

After our delicious breakfast, we headed out for a nice long bushwalk. Our plan was to drive north for about 40 minutes, park at Cowan train station and catch the train to Wondabyne station, in the heart of Brisbane Waters National Park. My hope was to redo the hike the kids and I had done two months ago, this time with Teresa so she could experience the beautiful bushwalk to Cariong Brook Falls. I’m just realizing that I have yet to post a blog about that amazing hike. Okay, I’ve got some catching up to do. Nothing new, right? ;)

Well, things didn’t turn out quite the way I’d hoped, but not for worse, thankfully. We missed the train to Wondabyne by maybe 5 minutes and the next one wasn’t for another hour. If we waited around for it, I don’t think we would’ve made it to the waterfall before we’d have to turn back. As I’ve often said, “When one door closes, another one opens”. That was the case on Fathers Day, as well, and the new door led us to a wonderful, fulfilling adventure.

Cowan train station just happens to be the starting point for one of my favourite hikes. It’s one we fondly call, “The Epic Bushwalk”, which follows a section of The Great North Walk. The Great North Walk is a 250 Km (160 mile) track, that goes from Sydney, north to Newcastle and crosses the train tracks at Cowan station and dives into the lush and beautiful Kuring Gai National Park. Our hike, goes from Cowan station to the town of Brooklyn and Hawkesbury River station, where we hop on the train back to our car.

I won’t go on about the details of the hike, which I’ve blogged about before here: http://rooneyadventures.com/?p=2477 and here: http://rooneyadventures.com/?p=2268. Instead, let’s dive in to the photos. I hope you enjoy!

The iconic "Stand by the sign photo"

The iconic “Stand by the sign photo”

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Pausing on the way up a mountain

Pausing on the way up a mountain

1/4 of the way along our hike, at the head of Jerusalem Bay

1/4 of the way along our hike, at the head of Jerusalem Bay

Jerusalem Bay

Jerusalem Bay

Heather and a massive old gum tree

Heather and a massive old gum tree

A little waterfall Heather and I found hidden off the trail

A little waterfall Heather and I found hidden off the trail

Bee on wildflower

Bee on wildflower

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

A message I found to me, "Happy Father's Day, Dad" :)

A message I found to me, “Happy Father’s Day, Dad” :)

Wild Grevalia

Wild Grevalia

Native wildflowers.

Native wildflowers.

On the trail

On the trail

Native wildflowers and a buzzing bee

Native wildflowers and a buzzing bee

A hollow rock that Heather climbed up through.

A hollow rock that Heather climbed up through.

Flowers everywhere!

Flowers everywhere!

Native wildflowers.

Native wildflowers.

Another cool bee shot

Another cool bee shot

An interesting bug

An interesting bug

On the trail

On the trail

Up we go!

Up we go!

My beautiful daughter, Heather.

My beautiful daughter, Heather.

My handsome son, Brian

My handsome son, Brian

Brian, with a spray of Boronia behind him

Brian, with a spray of Boronia behind him

Family pic!

Family pic!

My awesome children and me.

My awesome children and me.

3/4's of the way to our destination, near the bridge in the distance.

3/4′s of the way to our destination, near the bridge in the distance.

Lillies

Lillies

Softly falls the light of day

Softly falls the light of day

And, here’s some video from the hike, as well. (Hint: click on the white triangle to start it playing)
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Father's Day Family Bushwalk_2016 from Paul Rooney on Vimeo.

The whole family takes on 'The Epic Bushwalk' for a lovely Father's Day outing. Our hike follows 13 Km of 'The Great North Walk', up and down three mountains as it winds through Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park.

An adventure long postponed, now fulfilled

Okay, so let’s expand on one of my recent adventures, mentioned briefly in my last post.

Canyoning in the Blue Mountains.

Canyoning, for the uninitiated, is adventure at it’s finest. It’s also one adventure I’ve wanted to do since I moved here 11 years ago. In the Blue Mountains, just an hours drive west of Sydney, a number of companies run trips where you follow the course of a canyon while wearing a wetsuit, a rock climbing harness, shoes and a helmet. You hike through the lush, strikingly beautiful canyons, following the course of the river that made the canyon. The canyon walls, alive with rich mosses and plants, tower above you, filtering the sunlight, alternatively casting the track into shadow or bathing it with sun rays that dance along the floor of the canyon and sparkle on the river as it cuts it’s way through the rock and abundant vegetation that lines the canyon floor.

My terrific wife, Teresa, gave me a canyoning trip coupon for Christmas this year and I managed to get on a trip near the end of the season, in the beginning of autumn. So, on the 20th of March I left home early in the morning and headed up to Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains, to meet my guides and the people who’d share the adventure with me. As luck would have it, the weather was perfect. It was sunny and cool to start the day, but it warmed up to be a perfect day to spend splashing through a river and jumping off cliffs into chilly mountain waterfall pools.

The trip I was on was named, North Bowens Canyon. The hike into the canyon started from the top, as most do along the Blue Mountains plateau. A steep hike down led us into very lush, dense rainforest20160320_095507
Once we reached the canyon, we donned our wetsuits, climbing harnesses and helmets, and we sealed our gear into our watertight backpacks. Then the fun really started.

We spent the next few hours abseiling (rappelling) down rock faces, once even into a slim tunnel with a waterfall running through it, plus jumping off cliffs into bracing waterfall pools, hiking along or paddling down the river before reaching our well earned lunch break spot. I had trouble with my supposedly waterproof Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, so I didn’t take nearly as many photos or videos from the day as I’d like. Luckily, I managed to get a few pics before my phone went wacko on me. A few days in a bag of uncooked rice sorted it out, thankfully. :)
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Even better, one of the guys was wearing a GoPro camera and he shared his footage with me so I spliced it with mine. I hope you enjoy the video.

Blue Mountains Canyoning Adventure from Paul Rooney on Vimeo.

A few clips from my canyoning adventure through North Bowens Canyon in the Blue Mountains.

A big thank you to my awesome wife, Teresa for making this adventure happen. Thanks, Honey! I love you!