Briefing for a descent into Bungonia

My gym instructor has told me it is time to stop mopping about and get back into the wilderness.
I think she has chosen a variant of the Red Track, a 5hr grade 5 hike along the Slot Canyon that starts a little beyond Jerrara.
Slot Canyon, Bungonia

Beth Jerrara and Slot Canyons have plenty of falls, most inaccessible to the casual visitor. I trust she is not planning Jerrara Canyon (with multiple difficult abseils) because i still lack left arm strength from my last fall.

Jerara Canyon, Bungonia

Preparation for a slot hike starts long before the day.

Firstly, it is sensible to study the maps, consult the usual threads about recent traverses and consider colonial reports. The trail is marked on park maps, but this is not an indication of path safety (difficult areas can wash away overnight and small landslip around paths are more common than you think during change of season). Consulting with park rangers about the state of the track is possible here (a register of hikers is kept) and they can also advise on blasting from a local quarry (the one that supplied the stone for the Sydney Opera House and which Sydney-siders do not talk about because of the hideous scar left in the bush) that can dislodge or drop rocks into the canyon. Check fire conditions, and any sighting of hogs and dogs and tigers on the nearest community sites.

Your head has to be in the right place, your gear needs to be stowed, snake and medical kit should be checked and current, and you need at least 24 hours of sensible eating. Get any spiders out of your hiking boots before you have to use them, and put them somewhere that the spiders can't get back into. Prepare plenty of water for the hike, and make sure you have water purifier tablets. And chocolate.

Camera preparation requires full batteries, a lightweight backup (this time a small underwater camera), a sensible choice of lenses/filters and an idea about what when/when/how you are going to shoot. Not sure about the big lens or tripods - they add a ton of weight.

In a slot canyon, you really don't want any rain. The paths in and out get slippery, and the slot might fill with a raging flood. There is no guaranteed way of preventing rain. Talking to the Bureau of Meteorology has never worked for me. Maybe it is time to have a word to the right god, or cross fingers.

Finally, you have to be sure of your gym instructor

Cause she is the one who is going to carry you out when something goes wrong.


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