MONDAY 7 AUGUST MITCHELL PLATEAU TO KING EDWARD RIVER 140kms
It was a very early start, as we were woken at 5.45am by a helicopter taking off. A bit early we thought. They do not seem to operate to many rules, up here.
We breakfasted, then packed up and were away at 8am.
We drove the 15kms back to the Port Warrender track, then turned left. After another 20kms, we turned left again, onto the 6km track to the Surveyors Pool car park area. It was all quite rough. There were some minor washaways on the track in.
We passed through much burnt out country – some of the tree stumps were still smoking. It was quite hazy.
We set off on the 4km walk to Surveyors Pool at 10am. We had no trouble finding where the walking track started – there were arrows and the foot pad was obvious. When we’d talked with D and R about this walk, they told us how they’d walked through grass taller than themselves, and hadn’t always been sure of the way to go. That was before they’d gone on to Honeymoon to camp.
Since they were here, a few weeks ago, the fire had come through and made a big difference. Most of where we walked today was burnt.
It took us 80 minutes to reach Surveyors Pool.
It was much bigger than I’d expected – a very large pool on a large creek that flows into the inlet of the Mitchell River.
There was a good waterfall coming into the Pool, which was in a low gorge cut into white sandstone, with sets of little rapids, too.
The approach from the walk track was very attractive, with the creek rapids first, then the view of the falls and the big pool, which was quite a long way down from the ledge where the track finished up.
It was certainly worth the effort of walking, in the heat, to get there.
We explored around the pool area for a while, then sat enjoying the wilderness and watching the falls. Not knowing what barriers the terrain offered between the pool and the sea inlet not too far away, we were not prepared to risk swimming in the pool.
At midday, we left to walk out again. John tried to use the GPS to locate the start of the track out but couldn’t find it. We argued over which was the right way to strike out to intersect with it. I think I’d gotten disoriented, following the creek around on the way in – if we’d gone out the way I thought we should go, we would probably still be walking!
John decided that we would not keep looking for the track at its start, but would go cross country to a further waypoint on his GPS. We did find the track there, but it was not pleasant walking through the burnt stuff, in the heat.
The final part of the track was quite steeply uphill, for a distance – very hard work in the heat.
I eventually dragged myself to Truck, parked in its clearing, feeling ill and giddy. John had been a way ahead and had the air con going for me by the time I got there. I soon cooled off and felt better.
It had taken us nearly two hours to walk the 4kms back!
It had been very enjoyable, being the only people on the walk and at the pool.
We retraced our route to the Port Warrender track, and thence back to the King Edward River. We stopped briefly for a late lunch where the track skirted close to the edge of the plateau, and gave us an outlook whilst eating.
We reached the camp area at 5pm.
D and R were still there, so we set up camp at a little distance from them. It was a very quick and efficient set up of the small tent.
This was such a pretty place, though shade was a bit scarce.
For tea, John had bacon, eggs and baked beans. I had a quick packet pasta meal. We followed with tinned fruit.
We talked with D and R for a while, but were both tired, so went off early to do the nightly battle with trying to sleep on the deflating lilo.
After dark, there was a very obvious red glow from a burning fire, somewhere over the river, not too far away.
I was pleased we’d made the effort to come on here. It might have been easier to leave the camp set up at the Mitchell Plateau and do Surveyors Pool as a day trip from there, but this is just such a nicer place to be. And there will be no early morning helicopters!