Altitude: 201m to 495m. Gain: 317m. Loss: 27m . Gradient: 1 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
A cut / marked DOC track runs up the north (true left) of the Worsley from Worsley Hut to the forks with the Castle. Sections have been washed away by the river and are replaced by rough taped routes.
Good camp spots exist on the northern side of the Worsley at the forks.
The DOC trap line / track crosses to the southern bank of the Worsley at Castle creek. The crossing was moderately swift and knee to thigh deep after a day of moderate rainfall. The crossing could easily become impassable. The Castle was slightly easier to cross - shin deep with a good bar to follow. Beyond here, the track remains on the southern bank all the way to the forks at the head of the valley. If the Worsley is impassable, travel up the northern bank is also possible as far as the Prospect - where the size of the river is much reduced.
Following the track up the southern bank, the forks with Terminus Creek are reached in 1-2 hours. The next forks with Prospect are reached 1-2 hours beyond Terminus. I cannot comment on the quality of this track between Castle and Prospect as I followed the northern bank to the Prospect, which consisted of rough deer trails and a couple of steep scrambles over bluffs.
Upstream of the Prospect, the DOC track / trapline continues up the southern bank of the Worsley. The track soon leaves the riverside and follows a small sidecreek as it climbs a ramp on the southern valleyside. The main river can be heard roaring over steep rocky terrain below. Crossing the small creek the track heads up a spur between the sidecreek and the next, climbing increasingly steeply before turning to cross the next rocky sidecreek and sidling flat up-valley. Soon the track drops back to the main river flats above the gorge
Not long after returning to the valley floor the track emerges onto the aptly-named Bog Clearings. An area of these clearings near the river at the downriver end consists of dry grassy river terraces with excellent camping. The remainder are ankle deep marsh. The track is poorly poled and marked with tape across the clearings and easy to lose.
From the head of Bog Clearings the track / trapline become better marked, following the southern (true right) river bank as the creek begins to climb towards the forks. About 100m above the forks the track crosses the southern branch of the Worsley and swings north to head up the north branch. Those heading up the south branch towards the Worsley Pass need to leave the track just after this crossing.
The crossing was knee deep and simple after a day of light rain - though could flood in heavy rain.
Hut -> Castle 2-3 hrs
Castle -> Terminus 1-2 hrs
Terminus -> Prospect 1-2 hrs
Prospect -> Forks 2.5-4 hrs