About Me

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Sydney, Australia
A natural curiosity for what's over the next hill has taken me on a vast array of trips over the years, most of which involve human powered travel. There's so much more to do. All images © Darren Mckenzie.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Serendipity Canyon round 2

In the predawn light, two carloads of eager canyoners headed west from Sydney towards Mt Wilson ready to descend Serendipity Canyon. While Scott and I had visited only a month prior, some of our team had not abseiled before, which made the day entirely rewarding seeing new participants immerse themselves in the challenge of canyoning.

Rob, Rudy, Steen, Ian, Dave, Brendan and Holly joined Scott and I on another fantastic day out that had us all smiling and enjoying new company, perfect weather and lots of laughs. The rich organic smell of new growth was an assault on the senses as we left the car park and worked our way down the ridge and into the canyon.

Sensory overload plays an intrinsic part of why I and so many others enjoy the outdoors, and has become a deep seated feeling I have come to expect on any journey. I search for it and have become quite accustomed to finding it and am sure our new friends will continue to do the same.




The A team ready for action at the first abseil, all of whom had no problems handling themselves on the rope throughout the day and given some tricky starts did quite well.


 
 
The middle section of canyon has a great creek walk with plenty of photo opportunities. A recent rain event had pushed some debris through and with a little more water since the last visit, it was nice to rap down the odd water fall.
 
Exiting into the warmer waters of the Wollongambe and back to our lunch spot had the Waterdragons out in the hope of scavenging the odd crumb and for the rest of us, a chance to take to the air before drying out in the sun.
 
There is never any chance of avoiding the climb out which was led at a cracking pace up the front so I hung at the back with the "Super Senior" & Co. I was humbled to learn this Senior citizen had completed the Oxfam in a staggering 22 hours and cleaned up his age division. An incredible test of endurance and one that I've managed to avoid so far.
 
A big thanks to all for an enjoyable day out and Scott in particular for bringing common sense and safety to the party. Good times.....

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Twister Canyon



It comes as no surprise that many of my early childhood memories involve being in the wild. A conga line of kids way back in 1978 climbing Mt Kaputar was our parents way of educating us in spirit, and while only 4 years old I remember wanting no help up the old steel ladders.

At 7 years old the family car was packed for a journey around Australia the old fashioned way, in a 10 by 10 canvas tent. Unfortunately it ended all too soon when I broke an arm climbing somewhere I shouldn't have and spent a week in hospital. I'll never forget the freezing wind burning any exposed flesh at Mt Buffalo as we played in the snow, terrified that I was so cold.

It was all part of a bigger picture and can't help but think how lucky we were to have parents that showed us a different kind of playing field. A field that has no boundaries and becomes as beautiful and as challenging as we make it.

Dana and I joined Scott as he took Jake through his first canyon and at 5 years old, Jake is another lucky one. Planting the adventure seed in a child's mind is the single greatest gift one can give. Who knows where it will take them. Twister Canyon is an easy (grade 2) day out if you include Rocky Creek so with no fixed plan other than get through the first section we wandered off down the track as the car park started to fill.

There are numerous slides and jump ins along the way and Jake had a blast. We kept moving to stay warm only stopping for the odd photo or to soak in the sun for 5 minutes.
 



Dana and Jake doing the pin drop at the tree jump in.
 
By the time we reached Rocky Creek there was quite a crowd as expected. The resonating rumbles echoed off the walls as people jumped from various spots throughout the canyon. We had lunch and let Jake make the decision to continue or head back up the exit track, and of course he wanted to see Rocky Creek so on we went. 
 
 The hike out was led at a cracking pace by Jake and we were all stoked to see him power up the last big hill. Start them young....feed them adventure and watch them grow. Get some....