Our Final Adventure of 2019 saw the Townsville Hike & Explore Group on a full day hiking and rock hopping adventure down Cloudy Creek, one of the many spectacular creek lines that flow from the top of the Paluma Range down into the lower country.
After carpooling arrangements were finalised, we set off from the Paluma Village on one of the many walking trails that form part of the vast Paluma Trail Network, passing the clouded in McClellands and Witts Lookouts.
We walked through the clouds as we made our way towards Cloudy Creek Falls and it was evident there had been heavy morning dew and possibly light showers in the area overnight.
Cloudy Creek Falls was spectacular and after a short break, we began the task of navigating our way down the creek line from an elevation of approximately 900m.
The slippery rock surfaces slowed us down during the initial couple of hours and to err on the side of caution, we made numerous diversions around slippery boulder formations and impassable waterfalls. The clouds cleared mid-morning, the radar was clear and forecast was looking great for the day.
We stopped for lunch as the creek line broke out of the upper reaches of the rainforest and provided us with some amazing views out over the coastline to the Palm Group of Islands and the lower country.
Waterfall after Waterfall, View after View – This creek line is certainly one we’ll be visiting again in the New Year.
Then, mid-afternoon, in came the rain…
At the most inconvenient time, it started to pour down rain at an elevation of approximately 500m where the creek line is surrounded by steep rocky cliffs and rainforest sections filled with wait a while, lawyer cane, barbed wire vine and all the nasties. We were still around 2.5km away from our destination.
For those of you that know a little about rock hopping in creek beds, you’ll know that it only takes a few minutes of moisture on the rocks and they become extremely slippery, dangerous and impassable.
It was a long, arduous and technical affair navigating the remainder of the creek line to ensure the group was well away from any steep drops and slippery edges. We made countless diversions out of the creek, up thick and dense scrubby sections of the bank as we battled our way down Cloudy Creek in the pouring rain. I estimated that at one stage, we were achieving approximately 200m/hour.
I’ve said this many times, but as a walk leader, I’m in awe of the determination of our group members, supporting, assisting and helping each other during the course of the day, particularly when it began to rain and we were slowed to a snail’s pace.
After slipping and sliding our way down the creek and hiking, climbing and cutting our way through sections of the steep banks, we made our way out onto the Intake Road just on dark and let me say, as I took a look at the group as they emerged from the creek, you could tell we’d just done an all-day rainforest rock hop in the rain! Clothes torn, tired faces but smiles all around.
A big welcome to a couple of new faces that joined us on the day, as well as our regular adventurers. You’re all amazing – This is one I’m sure you’ll all remember for a while!
Fun, Fitness, Friendship and Community – Join Townsville Hike and Explore on our Next Adventure!