Zorro Canyon and More! (Gardens of Stone NP)

Party: Michael Blair, Calvin Lim, Mum and I
Photos: Michael and I
Parallel trip report by Calvin

The original plan was to go explore Blue Drum Ck, a route I hadn’t visited before, but with the rain we had and the forecast not looking amazing we changed plans.

Mum decided to join me and we met Michael and Calvin at the Bungleboori campground.

It was a bright early start for the Sydneysiders as we woke before dawn. I reluctantly got my sleep deprived body moving and boarded an early train to meet up with fellow hiker, Michael. Our troop assembled at Newnes Plateau, as we met up with as our expert leads, Felix, and his mother, Anna.

“It is a good day to die” declared Felix (Note: I may have embellished this statement a touch but it was the essence of what I remembered after the event). We headed out on our mission to confront the mighty Zorro. We were greeted by beautiful views of the mountain as we meandered along the pagoda canyons. All that came to an end as we came to our first cliff. Having not abseiled for several years and silencing the little boy screaming in my head, I leaped off the cliff leaving my life to a bunch of fibres. My unfounded fear was soon replaced with childish glee as I seemingly glided to the bottom. Our next challenge was having to travel down a slot canyon without rope. Felix and Anna gracefully stemmed their way down the canyon whilst Michael and I blundered our way down. After scrambling through several passages, we finally came out to cliff top views of the valley where we took a small break.  Zorro was a truly enjoyable and memorable canyon and I was stoked to have woken up early to experience it. We started heading back to the car and had a lunch break there.

Still early in the afternoon, we proceeded to go exploring a mysterious canyon in the vicinity. As we slowly descended down, the temperature dropped suddenly, and we were soon greeted by hailstones.  We decided to proceed and abseiled down a 30m cliff even as rain starting pouring down now. As I reached the bottom, I was grateful that we had found the perfect shelter to wait the rain out. Michael, being the last up to descent the abseil, was fortunate enough to be greeted with an early shower as our descent was now a waterfall. As the rain finally settled, we started our approach home.   Having no name for this canyon, we tossed around ideas to remember it by. Hailstone shelter canyon was already taken, so we commemorated Michaels’ sacrifice and named it “Showers for the last” canyon.

The wheel of time turns, and it was time for us to head back. We boarded our cars and headed home with fond memories and nothing but the remnants of hail stones to mark our passage. 
Cheers, Calvin

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