SUNDAY 8 AUGUST PALM VALLEY
I got up at 6.30. Sometime during the night, John had rolled himself up in the bedclothes, so I woke up freezing. I went for a walk, in the early-morning light, to get warm – around the road and up the track to the Lookout. Sat up there for a while, watching birds and enjoying the solitude. Got back to camp about 8am, just as John was stirring.
The morning was rather cloudy.
After breakfast, drove the 4km track up to Palm Valley. This followed the line of Palm Creek for most of the way, some of it in the creek bed. It was quite rough, with rock ledges and sandy parts. Definitely 4WD needed.
By the time we set out walking, it was getting sunnier and becoming quite hot.
From the car park at the end of the track, walked the 5km Mpulu Walk. This took us, firstly, along the creek valley where the Livistona – red cabbage – palms occur, that are unique to this place. As this is what people come to Palm Valley to see, this first part of the walk had too many other people around for it to be totally enjoyable. However, most people only do the short walk to, and through, the palm part, and then go back the way they came, once the palms start to thin out.
In places, water seeping from the sandstone valley walls was evident; it is this “fossil water” that sustains the palms.
The combinations of rocky slabs on the valley floor, red rock walls, assorted plants, and occasional pools of water made for beautiful natural landscaping – the sort that people in the cities pay a fortune to have replicated.
Our track returned to the car park via the ridge top, which was drier, and which offered some great outlooks. After we’d done the palm part, and followed the creek around in a big U curve, we climbed up the valley wall to the top of the plateau and ridge area. There were good views back over Palm Creek and south to the Areyoonya Valley as we walked back to the car park.
I got some close-up photos of a pair of Spinifex Pigeons putting on a very nonchalant display and ignoring us.
Back to camp the way we’d come, very carefully.
When we got back to camp, there was a big group of what we assumed were day trippers, having a BBQ picnic in the camp area, despite the existence of a picnic area down the track. They had parked in our camping bay, by the tent, so we asked them to move. Later, we had to ask them to please be quieter – they were so intrusive and noisy. It is an affront in such a peaceful place. We were very glad when they left – they didn’t clean the BBQ after themselves, of course.
Then we could relax and read peacefully for what was left of the afternoon.
There is an AAT group, and a safari tours outfit in the coach camp area, so there are still hordes of people about.
Tea was packet soup, sausages BBQ’d, potato and salad. I am back to cooking on the gas stove, of course – two burners.
The night sky was clear, with lots of stars, so it was very cold. I wore woolly socks to bed, and put the old sleeping bag we carry for guests, over the doona, too. That made the bed much warmer, and better.