Saturday, 12 February 2022

Sublime Point & the Pool of Siloam

Sublime Point & the Pool of Siloam 12-02-2022

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Route: Craigend Street, Blue Mountains Drive, The Nature Track, Edinburgh Castle Rock, Asmodeus Pool, Flora's Bath, Grand Cliff Top Track, Fairmont Resort, Sublime Point Road, Sublime Point, West Street, Sublime Point Road Nature Reserve, Grand Cliff Top Track, Golf Links Lookout, Pool of Siloam Track, Pool of Siloam, Lyrebird Dell, Albert Street

Date: 12/02/2022
From: Leura

Parking: Craigend Street
Start PointThe Nature Track
Finish Point: Lyrebird Dell
Region: Blue Mountains

Route length: 11.6km
Time taken: 03:40
Average speed: 4.2km
Ascent: 473m
Descent: 486m

Points of Interest: Valley of the Waters, Sublime Point, Golf Links Lookout, Pool of Siloam

Summer rains are hitting Sydney hard and finding a dry day to get out to the Blue Mountains is becoming a rarity. So much so that I concocted this route with the ultimate aim of getting below the cliffs and exploring some of the waterfalls in the Gordon Falls area, close to Sublime Point.

I spent a rainy night in the tent at the local campsite, and it was still very wet when I emerged first thing in the morning. My first plan for the day was to try and photograph a sunrise, however, I quickly cast that notion to one side thanks to the weather. Instead, I ended up in Katoomba hunting down some breakfast before taking the car around to Leura where there is ample street-side parking, to wait out a passing shower.
A cloudy, wet morning in Leura
After the worst of the rain had cleared, I hopped out of the car and followed the suburban streets eastwards towards the Nature Track, located at West Street just off the Great Western Highway. The Nature Track is a little hidden gem that winds a downhill course to the top of Empress Canyon. There were tantalising views hidden behind a veil of cloud as I passed Edinburgh Castle Rock, a prominent rock outcrop that normally possesses a grand vista.
The beginning of the Nature Track
The Nature Track
Clouds  envelope the Blue Mountains bush
The Nature Track
Edinburgh Castle Rock
The Nature Track heads down alongside the rock and then out to a ledge above Valley of the Waters Creek. Almost as soon as I arrived, the clouds lifted a little to reveal the valley below.
Beloe Edinburgh Castle Rock
The Nature Track
The Valley of the Waters / Lilliens's Glen
Clouds swirl in the valley
The path quickly descends further to the creek itself, crossing close to Asmodeus Pool. The pool is slightly hidden, and if you were not looking for it or did not see/hear people in here, you would not know it was even there. It hides a pretty waterfall and plunge pool.
Crossing Valley of the Waters Creek
The entrance to Asmodeus Pool
Asmodeus Pool
A short distance from Asmodeus Pool is Flora's Bath, another small waterfall hidden behind a tall sandstone outcrop. A set of stepping stones cross the creek just before it disappears into the depths of Empress Canyon, a popular canyoning route that emerges at the top of Empress Falls in the nearby Valley of the Waters.
Flora's Bath
Flora's Bath
Flora's Bath
The creek disappears into Empress Canyon
The beautiful Valley of the Waters Creek
The path climbs away from the creek, continuing the Nature Track towards the Conservation Hut. Partway along is another track junction where the Grand Cliff Top Track crosses Empress Canyon via a narrow footbridge and proceeds to climb out of the valley.
Looking down into Empress Canyon
The bridge across Empress Canyon
The Grand Cliff Top Track is not as grand as its name suggests (at least on the east side of Sublime Point). The climb out of the valley is fairly tedious before the track takes a long route around the edge of a golf course, with precious little cliff top to be found. The weather showed no signs of improving either, so I was robbed of any views that may have been found.
Below the Fairmont golf course
Fairmont Resort
I had initially intended to head down Roberts Pass and explore the first section of Lindeman Pass. However, Roberts Pass is one of those less-frequented routes that the National Park track builders don't pay much attention to. It is, therefore, pretty loose and eroded in places and, given the wet weather, I decided against it whilst I was on my own - one for another time. I also had another decision to make - whether to call it a day on the hike itself, given I was actually quite close to the car. As I emerged from the Grand Cliff Top Track at Fairmont Resort, the weather finally looked like it was set to improve, so I pressed on.

The next section is not particularly inspiring as I followed the road along the length of Sublime Point. It's a shame that there isn't a track along the east side of the escarpment and it is the Sublime Point that disrupts a continuous cliff-top route from Wentworth Falls to Katoomba (there are currently plans to link up the tracks between Wentworth Falls and Katoomba). It does, however, have an excellent lookout at the southern tip but this clouded over the moment I arrived.
A brief glimpse of Mount Solitary
Sublime Point
Sublime Point
Along the west side of Sublime Point is another path, though it is quite narrow and overgrown. So much so that I ended up almost wet through by the time I emerged at Willoughby Road and the continuation of the Grand Cliff Top Track. Unlike the track on the east side of Sublime Point, this section does include some stunning views, particularly from Golf Links Lookout. For all my complaints about the weather, sometimes the swirling clouds add their own drama to a scene.
The clouds parted for a brief moment
The Grand Cliff Top Track
Track work on on the cliff top track
View from Golf Links Lookout
The Three Sisters
Golf Links Lookout
Gordon Falls
Next up, from the lookout, was the Pool of Siloam, located a short distance further along the track. It is a pretty waterfall on Gordon Creek, surrounded by a moss and fern-filled gully with sandstone cliffs around the edges. The pool derives its name from the ‘Pool of Siloam’ where, in the Bible, Jesus sends a man to heal him of his blindness. The track crosses the creek using a bridge in front of the waterfall. 
The Pool of Siloam
The Pool of Siloam
Predictably, the rain was hammering down again by the time I reached the pool so, unfortunately, I only have a couple of photos of the falls themselves. A set of steps climbs away from the falls before you can choose to continue towards Gordon Falls or head into Lyrebird Dell (the latter would be my route back to the car).
Lyrebird Dell
The Lyrebird Dell Track is quite steep in places before it emerges from the bush at the end of Albert Street in Leura and back towards where I had left the car. This is the first Blue Mountains hike I've done in a while that was a little disappointing - largely due to the weather. As I mentioned at the start, it's been a very wet summer so hopefully, things start to dry out soon.

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