A Wet Day in the Upper Mountains – 27 January 2015

This was a wet day! I had travelled up the mountains with Bob. We had originally thought of doing a canyon – but with a bad weather forecast we thought a waterfall walk may be a more sensible option. I had suggested the walk from Leura Cascades to Leura Forest and then along Federal Pass to the base of the Scenic Railway and then returning via Furber Stairs and the Price Henry Walk. This is what we ended up doing. It did indeed rain for most of the day – which made photography very taxing! But wet weather and waterfalls make for spectacular and beautiful conditions and we had a very nice day.

Hericium coralloides - spine fungus

Hericium coralloides – spine fungus

We set off down the track from the Leura Cascades carpark. This is along a good track – but water seems to pool along it after any art of rain. The Cascades were very nice with a reasonable amount of water flowing. Lower down, under the shelter of trees and a cave I was able to get some photos.






We then continued around to the Amphitheatre and towards the Ferny Bower. Then we took the steep steps down past Lila Falls and the Marguerite Cascades. At the cascades I noticed a nice specimen of Hericium coralloides, an amazing spine fungus growing on a log. I had only seen this species in photos before and was very pleased to see it in real life. I was keen to photograph it despite the rain. Then Bob spotted more fungi higher up on another log. I climbed up and determined that it was the same spine fungi. And the ones growing here were much larger and more impressive! I was now determined to take a few photos. I had to change lenses on my camera and was grateful for Bob holding an umbrella over my gear while I did this. Then, with camera and tripod, I scrambled back up to the log and snapped a few quick photos before my camera got too wet. This fungi when viewed close up looks more like some sort of limestone formation rather than a living organism – it really is quite stunning.


From there it was not far to Leura Forest and we sat for a while in the old pavilion while we admired the tall trees nearby. In the rain and mist the forest looked very beautiful indeed. After a short break we set off along the Dardenelles Pass Track towards the Giant Stairway. This is the higher of two tracks – the lower one is the Federal Pass which i think is a little longer before they merge on the far side of the Three Sisters. One more pause to take some photos of some jelly fungi.


It did not take too long to reach the base of Katoomba Falls. I would have like to take a few photos – but the rain was now heavier. With plenty of time up our sleeves we decided to continue past the Furber Stairs to the Scenic Railway and then do a circuit of the Scenic World Boardwalk. The is a huge structure but I think it is actually quite impressive. At least quite a few people were walking around it – in contrast to the rest of our walk where we had seen virtually no one.

Katoomba Falls

Katoomba Falls

Then back to Furber Stairs and the steep climb back to the top of the escarpment. On the way we sheltered in a nice dry cave, complete with seat, for lunch and we also did the side track to the middle level of Katoomba Falls where I attempted a few more photos. Near the top of Furber Stairs, the Witches Peal waterfall was particularly spectacular. This usually only has a trickle of water flowing over it. Now there was a mighty torrent.

Witches Leap

Witches Leap

The last part of the walk was along the Prince Henry Walk back to Leura Cascades. Only views of mist. Even the tourists at Echo Point had to resort to photos of themselves taken with their selfie sticks.

Despite the rain and mist we had had a very good day in the mountains. More photos can be viewed on my website here.

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