Abseiling / Canyoning / SUBW

Grand Canyon at night

Party: Tim Vollmer, Michelle Vollmer, Pete Raines, Lorraine “Lori” Laborczfalvi, Lucy Connell and Luke Robinson

I’ve done more than my fair share of night walking — although it’s debatable how much was deliberate — but after missing out on a spectacular nocturnal run through Why Don’t We Do It In The Road (Serendipity) Canyon recently I was determined to organise a trip myself.

Given I was also trying to find one that would be ‘wife friendly’ Grand Canyon seemed the perfect choice, a short walk in on well maintained track, just one abseil, and a long spectacular constriction that was sure to be home to plenty of beautiful glow-worms.

The logistics fell into place nicely, with on-time trains and good traffic ensuring we were all at the Neates Glen car park before 8pm and ready to set off down the track in the warm twilight.

The upgraded track, while ridiculously expensive to build due to NPWS choppering in the sandstone slabs, is looking wonderful, and it was nice to walk this section for the first time since it was done.

In no time we were through the tunnel and on the ledge above the canyon, with the sound of water echoing up from the inky darkness below.

The glow-worms had already appeared directly alongside the tourist track, and in good numbers.

We abseiled in from the bomb-proof anchor and were in another world.

The warm evening made the journey very pleasant, with plenty of time spent in the water, and long, torch-less pauses whenever we found a particularly nice section.

In places the glow-worms formed long, straight lines along the rock, while there were also bright clumps, odd shapes including a face, and swirling light display rising up above.

We hit the long swim all too soon, marking the end-point of the best of the canyon, but the glow-worms were far from done.

Returning to Neates Glen they continued in every gully and moist spot until only a few hundred metres from the cars.

All up it took just 3.5 hours, done at a relaxed pace and with plenty of time spent to pause and enjoy the very other-worldly surrounds.

A cold beer, thanks to Pete, and plenty of talk about must-do trips for the future and we were all on our way not long after midnight.

I definitely need to start incorporating a few more night canyons into my trips for the future!

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