I have been wanting to walk the Grand Canyon Loop in Blackheath even before we moved here. But I thought that it would be above my abilities and fitness level.
I have been attempting smaller hikes like Popes Glen Walk and Govetts Leap to Barrow Lookout via Bridal Veil Falls to slowly build up my stamina.
Over time we have met people either coming out of the canyon as we have been lazily looking at the view from the lookout, or known people who have told us it was not so bad. Certainly, it sounded easier than what I had thought. So when my daughter told me she was coming for the weekend to attend the Camino Festival with me, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do the walk.
How hard could it really be?
I don’t mean to be dramatic, but IT WAS BLOODY HARD! The first three-quarters of the walk were fine, albeit on wobbly jelly legs from all the stairs leading into the canyon. And as the trail went on, I found my strength depleting.
People have been walking the track since 1907. Whatever way you choose to walk it – from the car park south of Evans Lookout or from Evans Lookout itself there are stairs. I don’t know that one would be easier than the other. All I know is that at the end of the walk they seemed endless.
I forced myself to take 15 – 20 steps each time and then break. Seriously, I thought I was going to have a heart attack! I felt sick, and I couldn’t suck enough air in.
The only distraction I had were the fresh (I certainly was not fresh by that point!) hikers making their way down into the canyon. I think I scared them.
I scared myself!
I’m not going to lie. It was awful. Each time I thought we were close to the top there seemed to be another hundred stairs to climb. Even when we passed some German girls telling us it wasn’t far, it still took me another 20 minutes to get out.
I could have kissed the ground when we reached Evans Lookout.
Rest Stop at Evans Lookout
It had started to rain during our climb out, and we faced a wall of white cloud that had settled itself over the Grose Valley.
We made it out just before the deluge of rain. Not that it would have mattered I was soaked anyway. Gross!
My legs were wrecked. Five days later and I was still hobbling around from sore muscles!! No kidding. I usually suffer more than others with sore muscles, but that was ridiculous.
Now I am worried. How the hell am I going to walk the Camino? 790 km from France and across the top of Spain. The only solace I have is that it is mainly flat. No damn stairs and for that, I am truly grateful!
An Extraordinary Walk
It was extraordinarily beautiful. It was the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. And I was so grateful to get to share it with my beautiful girl. We don’t spend much time together, distance and busy lives keep us apart, but this was perfect. It is one of the best things we have shared to date, including all the travelling we have done.
The Grand Canyon Walk
Located in the Grose Valley in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, Australia the Grand Canyon Walk is a 6.3 km walk.
As you descend into the canyon, you experience typical Australian landscape and vegetation before entering another world.
The historical path takes you on a journey through rainforest, alongside sandstone cliffs and under overhanging boulders, with a meandering creek and waterfall, past deep black cavernous holes gaping in the sides of cliffs leading to underground rivers. It is a primal world.
I am so appreciative I have experienced it. I will try again, another day. When the memories of exhaustion and pain leave and when I have built my fitness levels to the point that I can enjoy it unencumbered by my sore body.
The walk is classified Grade 3, with no experience required. You should allow 2.5 – 3 hours. We did it in 2.5 hours even with my struggle to get out. We found some areas a little steep with narrow stairs. Some care needs to be taken. Hiking poles would be handy in these places.
My biggest issue was the stairs. But that just means I need to build up my fitness. We passed people descending the canyon in thongs. I do believe you should be more prepared than that, but if you take your time, it is well worth the effort.
It is stunning, and my photos do not do it justice.
And so it begins…
Looking back up to the ridge
This little guy scared us to death. We had visions of him jumping on our heads when we walked past!!
A small cave we had to walk through. We screamed through there like a couple of babies. Have you guessed we are not very brave?
A beautiful little waterfall we had to walk under
Imagine falling in there. A great canyoning experience!
Checking for spiders?
Stunning sandstone layers
Then we started to climb. And the rain came down. The camera was put away and the hard work began. A beautiful walk, truly stunning and worth the effort. Just make sure you’re a little fitter than me if you attempt it.