Dave wanted to fish the upper Geehi river/ Valentines Falls area to get some pictures for a light weight fishing article that he is writing for a fly fishing magazine. We have been to the area several times before, there are two main trails into Valentines fall, from Munyang or from Round Mountain both are from opposite directions on well maintained fire or Snowy hydro service trails and are a distance of about 24k.
This time to save a fairly long walk and some time we decided to ride bikes in, Dave rides a bike most days to work and back, while I used to do a lot of riding both on and off road, I had only ridden once in the last three years and that was a 50k road bike ride on Fathers day 2008, I do some mountain running and I was hoping that my fitness would help me. I had not been on my mountain bike for at least ten years possibly twelve years, my bike tires had perished, the grease in the gear levers had dried up, not allowing me to change gears. My mountain bike is an old Repco High Sierra that I won about 15 years ago in a lucky barrel draw at a Triathlon, it is a very basic mountain bike. I purchase some cheap tires and re-greased the gear levers and this made the bike rideable but only just.
We arrived at the Round Mountain car park at about 10.00 am on Sunday 21 December and started riding at 10.15 am, the start was very hilly and rough, my legs new that I was doing something different, I pushed fairly hard early, riding up some steep hills as I knew the middle section of the trip was flattish. At 15k I was starting to get tired but pressed on, at 20k we struck some very steep hills and they were a real struggle for me, I was exhausted, about 2 k from our destination (Grey Mare Hut) we struck a very steep long hill, I had to push the bike up and have a lot of rests, my hands, arms, back, neck and butt were in pain, in other words I was stuffed. We arrived at the Grey Mare Hut after 3 hours 15 minutes and I refused to go fishing until I had a good feed and some rest. Even though Grey Mare hut was not close to where we wanted to fish, from a previous trip to Valentines fall we knew that there where was not any good camp sites nearby, Grey Mare hut 1620 m elevation is a very good sheltered site and was out of the treeless frost valley.
Dave with Mt Jagungal in the background
Grey Mare hut is at the site of some gold mining activity early last century, the area is littered with the remains of old equipment and the toilet which is hidden behind the hut in the trees is placed on an old mine shaft, I suppose you could call it a long drop toilet.
Grey Mare Hut
After some rest and some lunch we set up our tents and started the 4 k walk to Valentines falls. With in 500 meters of Valentines Falls, Back Flat Creek, Geehi River and Valentines Creek converge to form a large fast flowing Geehi River which flows into the Geehi Dam. All rivers had good flows as the catchments had some good falls in the previous week and the Geehi below Valentines Creek was fast flowing, too fast to cross safely.
Dave started fishing in the Geehi just below where the Back Flat Creek came in and had some instant success catching a 500g Rainbow Trout, shortly afterward Dave hooked a nice 2 kg Rainbow, this was not expected and we had no landing net, Dave fought the fish to the rivers edge and tried to land it by hand but the fish escaped. My luck was not so good I did not even get bite. We fished for about 2 hours and went back to camp where I heated up a takeaway lamb curry and some rice, we finished the night with some port and I crashed in my Contrail under my BPL quilt.
Dave fighting his 2 kg fish
The next day we went back to Geehi/Valentines Falls and started to fish in the Geehi down stream from where the Valentines creek came in, I took the western side which turned out to be a mistake as the bush was nearly impenetrable, Dave only had some grass land to walk through, I finally made it to the river only to get my line tangled in the many sticks that where in the water so went it back to some more open country just below the Valentines Falls where I caught my first trout for the day on a dry fly, it was 150mm long, I claimed the fish of the day until Dave caught a 100 mm long baby. I caught three trout all day the biggest about 500g. Dave got his photos for his article of us fishing with the falls in the background, we continued to fish up the Geehi upstream from the Valentines and Black Flat Creek junctions. I was having some problems with my adjustable walking stick the locking mechanism had worn out after many years of use and I was unable to keep it extended, it was going to be its last trip. We use a walking stick to help us travel in and across streams and rivers, it is a safety item. When we fish we attach the walking stick to our belts by means of a very strong magnet, this allows us to remove the stick quickly and move on to our next fishing spot where we then put the stick near our belt and the magnets do their thing but on this day I was having some problems with the walking stick coming off a bit easier than usual, some distance up the Geehi my stick came off my belt in some fast flowing water only to be seen to disappear in some rapids, I was unable to find it down stream, a fitting end to my walking stick that has possibly saved my life on a few occasions. I then noticed that the chrome protection on the magnet had delaminated causing a not so good contact.
Dave fishing just below the Falls
I then went bush and found a stick to use but it was a pain as I had to find a place to put the stick when I wanted to fish, as the fish where not biting I decided to give up fishing for the day and went to put my rod in its cloth cover and tube, I then noticed that the tube gone, it was BPL lightweight rod tube that I had used twice, the BPL tube had suffered damage on its first outing and was not really strong enough for Australian conditions, I am thing about making a PVC tube, what was really upsetting was I lost my cloth rod bag that was from my old broken $500 Penn rod.
Dave fished Black Flat Creek while I went back to camp and collected some firewood, Dave brought back three nice trout for dinner which he wrapped in foil and threw in the fire, that night we ate a superb meal of laksa and wild trout, we finished off with some port and hot chocolate. That night we where hit by a mountain thunderstorm my contrail handle the condition very well although I am still learning to adjust it correctly, it was only the second time I had used it, I had no condensation inside.
The next morning with a very black and thundery sky we decided to pack up and get going on our journey back to the car, it started to rain shortly after we started riding. This time I decided to walk up the steep hills to save energy, my legs had recovered from the ride in and I seemed to have a bit more energy, the car park is the same elevation as Grey Mare Hut, we made it back to the car in 3 hours 10 minutes wet and covered in mud, I was no where as tired as I was after the ride in.
The ride back to car
Even though it might appear that I did not have a good trip, it is a beautiful area and I loved just being there.
Some more photos
Me doing it hard have a cuppa
My contrail with old steam engine in back ground
Riding on some flat road
Me crossing the upper Tooma river
Me wading the Geehi
Dave fishing just below the Falls
Dave catching a fish
the upper Geehi
a nice rainbow trout
the view from Grey Mare Hut