This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels June 13

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MONDAY 13 JUNE     KINGS CANYON

Today is my brother’s 50th birthday. I wonder what he feels about attaining this landmark?

The day dawned sunny, so we took a packed lunch and drove to the Kathleen Springs area – back eastwards some 23kms from the campground.

Kathleen Springs is, as the name suggests, an area where permanent water derived from springs, is found. Such a place, in this arid environment, was of great importance for wild life, aborigines and later, pastoralists.

06-13-1999 01 in spinifex ring.jpg

Perfect spinifex ring at Kathleen Springs

We walked the 1.3kms track to the Springs, looking at birds, and at the remnants of the pastoral industry: trapping yards, windmill site, and tank. The trapping yards were built in the early 60’s. As a natural valley, where cattle came to get water, it was an obvious point for catching cattle to send off to market.

06-13-1999 02 yards kathleen springs

Old cattle loading ramp at the trapping yards – note fence up gully side

06-13-1999 03 old fence Kathleen Springs

Cattle trapping fence at Kathleen Springs

It was a very pleasant walk, where we saw few other people. Quite a contrast to the main part of the Kings Canyon.

The springs themselves, and associated pool seemed rather dark and sombre. A creeping fern grows there that is found nowhere else in the world.

06-13-1999 04 creeping fern unique to Kathleen Springs.jpg

Kathleen Springs Creeping Fern

We walked back to the picnic area near the car park and ate lunch. Saw some spinifex pigeons on the way back to the picnic area, and watched them for a while. They are superbly camouflaged.

06-13-1999 06  Kathleen Ck valley where yards are.jpg

The Kathleen Springs valley – easy to see why it was a great place to catch cattle

After lunch, walked up the Giles Track. This is a 22km long track between Kathleen Springs car park and Kings Canyon. It roughly follows the edge of the plateau that is the George Gill Range. Track notes recommend an overnight camp somewhere along its length, but I suppose it could be done as a long day walk, if one did not spend too much time looking around. However, we do not have the requisite transport at each end, so plan to walk some of each end of it.

After the track climbed over some ridge tops, we got a good view back over Kathleen Springs canyon and the area of the trapping yards.

This was a very pleasant walk – not very hard – through varied country. We saw no other walkers.

I saw a strange plant – rather like a cross between cacti and broome – not sure if it is a native to the area, or a weed.

After about 4kms, we reached the Wanga Creek valley – mostly dry – and explored down the creek to where it drops precipitously off the escarpment. It was quite a deep and rugged little valley at this point. There were a few small waterholes. It was a lovely, peaceful place.

06-13-1999 07 Wanga Ck view downstream

The Wanga Creek valley

06-13-1999 08 exploring Wanga Ck.jpg

Scrambling down the Wanga Creek valley – dry waterfall

06-13-1999 10 wanga creek.jpg

The point at which the Wanga Creek drops over the edge of the plateau

It occurred to us that, when there is rain in these parts, there would be a number of waterfalls coming over the edge of the plateau – and over the walls of Kings Canyon, too. It could be a really interesting time to visit.

 

In our exploring, rather lost track of time, and finished up having to do a fast walk of the 4kms back to Truck. Reached there about 5.30pm.

06-13-1999 wanga ck upstream.jpg

Late afternoon at Wanga Creek

Back at camp, showered, then made tea of potato soup, crab and corn cakes – using tinned crab meat.

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