Sunday, October 12, 2003

Blue Mountains Expedition / Field Trips October 2003

On 6-7th and 11-12th of October 2003, I searched for evidence of the yowie in the Blue Mountains of NSW. The Blue Mountains lies directly west of Sydney. A huge area of the Blue Mountains is comprised of National Parks. These national parks extend north and south of the major highway which splits the mountains from east to west. National park forests extend virtually uninterrupted north and south from the highway for hundreds of kilometres with only the occasional roads crossing them.

The central part of the mountains is made up of a large rise of Hawkesbury Sandstone that outcrops as spectacular lines on cliffs. It is for this reason that the area is called "the mountains" although they are not mountains in the normal sense of the word.

The region is very well known for its history of yowie encounters. We have spoken to a number of people in the mountains with numerous, ongoing encounters in their neighbourhoods.
The mountains are very heavily forested with eucalypts, bloodwoods, acacia etc. The deeper valleys contain green, mossy rainforest glades.

Native wildlife includes wallabies, kangaroos, brush turkeys, possums and numerous smaller marsupial species, as well as feral cats and foxes. The region has a diverse bird fauna.


Our normal approach is to go to areas that have been reputed to be areas of high activity over the years and spend as much time as possible sitting in the bush there waiting for any form of activity. We also scout the area for sign, which may include damage to trees, regions of crushed grass and areas of trampled grass indicating trails through the understorey. We have also found arrangements of crossed sticks in asterisk or cross patterns in areas where humans rarely ever go. These coincidentally appear in areas where reports have come in from.

When possible, we stay out after nightfall to wait quietly for any activity. Most reports indicate that these things are more active by night. Activity we might hear includes tree breakage, footprints, vocalisations (growling or other calling) and heavy bipedal footfall.

We have had reports of mixed results using infrared lights and cameras and have not yet invested in this technology. It is possible that yowies may bee able to see the infrared light emitting diodes usually employed by nightscopes and nightcameras. However, in time we may arm ourselves with nightvision cameras, switched off waiting for an encounter that we can film with nightvision, if only briefly.

Location 1
The first location I investigated on this trip was an area an area well investigated by other researchers, on a ridge line above the home of a local resident who has had numerous encounters over the past 7 years. Other residents of the same street have also had daytime and night-time sightings over the past few years. Nothing of any great interest was found on this trip.

Location 2
This location was said by some locals of being worth investigating. It is an eroded basalt plug located in a valley some kilometres from the closest town. Due to the enriched soil from the basalt, the area has particularly tall trees and an abundance of wildlife. A campsite was established and I walked around the immediate vicinity looking for any signs of foliage damage or other sign in the bush. Nothing was seen. After starting a fire and cooking dinner, I sat quietly waiting for any activity for a few hours. No activity occurred however. It should be noted that there were two other groups of campers in the area creating some noise.

Although it was an eerie moonlit night under the tall trees and definitely had a spooky atmosphere, this was not enough to convince me that this particular place had any activity at this time, nor was worthy of any particular interest in future.

Location 3
The next location was a fire-trail on the other side of the highway from the first two locations, and one ridgeline across from another local resident's home (Jerry and Sue, mentioned elsewhere on this web site). Another area of repeated, often frightening encounters, this area is seen as prospective for finding at least sign of recent activity.

I walked for at least 30 minutes along the fire trail and found nothing of particular note. Although I have spent a considerable amount of time in the bush, it is still completely possible that I walked past obvious sign without recognising it. Much time spent actually investigating sign needs to be carried out before one becomes "tuned" to seeing it. After a few hours scouring the surrounding areas with a good pair of binoculars, no activity was noted and I decided to move on to the next area.

It is worth noting that a bend in the road leading to this firetrail was the location of a sighting by another resident in 2000. This resident reported sighting a huge hairy creature crossing the same road in front of his car late one night as he came around a bend.

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