I went up the mountains yesterday with Bob and Doug for some canyoning. The weather forecast was for rain so we planned to do the short and easy Dalpura Canyon near Bell. As it turned out, the weather was quite good – warm and daily sunny.
Just before the canyon started we came across a small grove of pink flannel flowers (Actinotus forsythii). Conditions have been right for these – a bushfire, and then rain a year or so later. All you need are the dormant seeds in the ground. Other walkers had reported finding some near the Lost City and in the Wollangambe Wilderness – both areas that had been burnt out. So it was good to come across these ones. A lot of native flower afficiardos have never seen them.
The canyon itself was quite nice. Very pretty.
At the end, we climbed out and had lunch on top of one of the pagodas on the ridge. Then up the ridge and back to the car. On the way I stopped to photograph some of the magnificent wildflowers.
We then headed to Bell and along Sandborn road to Dargan. We turned off at pole 384 and drove down to park along a fire trail. From there it was a ten minute walk down to Dargan Arch. None of us had been to this place before and we found it quite interesting. The arch is fairly large and it is easy to walk across it. Under the arch and in nearby caves and on the walls are some sports climbs. A few climbers were grunting there way up a steep climb on the far side of the creek.
Sports climbing involves the placement of ring bolts into the rock and this has caused some controversy. The arch itself is an interesting geomorphic feature – and I think its a shame to see bolts in it. But it is not unique – there are plenty of arches in the sandstone country of the Greater Blue Mountains, nor is it in a remote place. But it is in Blue Mountains National Park – and perhaps the land managers need to consider this issue?
Near the arch are some large caves and there would originally have been one of these where the arch now is. It looks like the roof of the cave collapsed a long time ago leaving the arch. Other large arches like this can be found at Clarence, above the railway line, and close to the South Branch of Bungleboori Creek.
After visiting the arch, the next place we visited was The Catacombs. This is an interesting old quarry in the Upper Blue Mountains.
More photos taken on the trip are on my website here.