Clews Cave and The Island (Wollemi NP, Australia)

2020/08/14 : Clews Cave and The Island
Party (6): Dad, Michael Blair, Richard Maschmeyer, Nanakie Sindhu, Dirk Schneider and I

We were mostly packed when Dirk pulled up on his motorbike, there was still a little time, but Dad decided to forego his hot beverage. Michael then Richard with Nanakie pulled up behind completing the convoy. Jumping into Richards car we left mum to relax at camp. After yesterday’s accident, she was not really in a state to go on a walk.
We discussed a game plan for the day. Originally I’d hoped to have a look at passes #22 and #22a but after yesterday’s excursión decided upon some easier objectives. A loop of The Island and Parr West was agreed upon.

Again we pulled up at the end of the firetrail soon continuing on foot along the ridgetops. (The day before we’d taken the distinct track heading downwards but it had ended abruptly and we’d had to climb back up to the spot height).
Navigating by map and compass we deviated from yesterday’s route, taking a spur down towards Clews Cave. The others didn’t seem to trust my navigation or weren’t used to off-track walking as I noted a couple of people checking our whereabouts on their phones.
A bit of a scramble down through a bluff and we emerged at a lively creek bolstered by the recent rains. Judging by the local máxima opposite us, the overhang was just down stream. After a quick drink we discovered what appeared to be the shelter used by Clews to shelter from rain on one of his later explorations of the area. (The nearby pases #24 and #24a bear his names as well as the ridge that runs between the Wollangambe-Bungleboori and Main Ck. His «Bad Bit Across the River» is a recommended read).
Inspecting some signatures Richard found high up on the wall, we rested a time before climbing up to a saddle. Jimmy dumped some rope and tape he’d forgotten to leave behind and we quickly continued up the ridge leading to the Island chewing on some sugary xantheria Richard had harvested. There was a bit of scrambling, Michael’s 10m handline coming in handy a couple of times as we paused frequently to admire the view. (I also learnt that Nanakie was not only on the club committee but the president!).

Soon we reached the top. A perfectly placed rock became our lunch spot. (Survey engraving?). Perched above the confluence of the Colo and Wollongambe, the views where spectacular. The eye could trace the Bungleboori flowing into the ‘Gambe, and even the Yarramun flowing into it. The cleared mt Tootsie a green scar on the wilderness.
We enjoyed good conversation not really caring about the time. But eventually it was time to get a move on. We’d discussed shortening the loop and by the time we were back at Clews saddle, decided to not quite reverse our route, but take the next ridge along. We got up through the bluff with little effort past some random chainsawed trees and followed the ridges back to the cars (and motorbike). It wasn’t overly late, but passing up on Parr West seemed like a sensible decision. We said our farewells and hit the Rd passing a parked car. As it turned out mum had spoken to the duo: Michael Lore and Tom. They were also passing by Clews Cave on a longer 4 day trip). I’d been worried mum had gotten bored, but she’d actually slept most of the day.
On the Putty Rd I switched cars to keep Michael company. Passing the bra tree we paused in Lithgow to go food shopping.

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