I was determined to spend one full day on my own. The trouble is, I am slightly crazy and like to push the limits somewhat..
So I chose to spend one full day discovering the Starlight Canyon in the Newnes NP! This is meant to be a dry canyon in the Newnes area where you are able to abseil into a walk-able cave and see the glowworms glittering around you.. it then is supposed to be an easy walk out to the Wolgan river and return to the carpark.
So I set off at 7:00am in the morning, I felt a little strange as I had never done something this crazy before on my own. I walked from the campground (where I stayed the night before) and joined onto the pipeline track. The track notes said to walk to the top of the hill and get to the Starlight Canyon sign.. so everything was super easy up until now.
Post the post.. (:P) things got tricky. From the map it should have been easy to go in the NE direction and cut N then E to get to the head of the canyon and begin the abseils. Unfortunately.. life isn’t always that easy. I ended up doing 1 hr of serious bush-bashing. At the point when I was about to give up, I stumbled upon a canyon, thinking that I finally had reached it I found a spot where I could just scramble down and started walking in the only direction I could.
I am a bit of a safety queen.. I don’t really enjoy knowing that I don’t have the skills to handle a situation but I felt 100% in control the entire time that I was walking. When i finally stumble upon the first abseil I felt that the anchor was a bit sketch balls.. especially as there was a tonne of debris around the anchors (obviously from the recent flood that had passed through – i must have been the first one down). When I saw the first abseil, alarm bells also started ringing that this wasn’t the adventure I had woken up to do.. I was in completely different canyon! But which one?!?.. and how did I navigate to another one when I had gotten to the starlight canyon sign.. OMG Jacinda. So I thought “here goes nothing” and I rapped down.. as I knew all canyons in the area are dry and the abseils are relatively small.
I went through a series of abseils and scrambles and finally got to the end. I still had no idea where I was.. but lucky I had Andrews handy dandy guide and decided.. based on what looked like the exit route.. that I was in the Pipeline canyon (one tributary west of the starlight canyon tributary). The exit was relatively straight forward and easy to join back up to the graded trail.
I had the best day of my life! I was able to navigate (although not entirely correctly), plan, reassess and spend time to myself doing the things I love. I found that I was able to know what my limit is and adequately planned to ensure that I could be safe all day. I had adequate measures in place to ensure I could turn back all the way up until the first abseil. I learnt a lot about myself this day. What a great, and joyful day 🙂