SUNDAY 17 JUNE KEEP RIVER NATIONAL PARK
We were a bit slow to get going today – John slept in!
Today, wanted to give M a good exposure to the best of this Park.
We drove to the other campground, Jarnem, another 14kms to the north. The track was in pretty good condition. It passed through occasional low sandstone outcrops, with bigger ranges sometimes visible beyond. The vegetation was a mix of spinifex, shrubs and low trees – there were not as many boabs in evidence here as there had been at Bullita. Some of the trees – eucalypts of some sorts, I thought, were in flower, with clumps of big lemony yellow flowers.
The Jarnem campground is not as scenic as where we were – but it was also not as busy.
There were large flocks of red tailed black cockatoos feeding on the ground around the camping area, which seemed to have been burnt, maybe a month or two ago.
The goal was to complete the full Jarnem/Nigli Gap circuit walk. The distance of this was confusing – Park info gave one distance, the sign boards at Jarnem gave two different distances. It was somewhere between 6.8 and 8kms!
The track out of the campground initially crossed flat black soil plains, and there were plenty of the black cockatoos there.
We skirted the front of a range, then the track took us fairly steeply up a narrow valley in the rocks.
From the lookout at the top of this climb we could see both back across the Keep River Valley, and into the rather pound like area where we were headed.
The Bungles-like striped sandstone dome structures were obvious, across the flat central area.
But first we had to go down to that flat, picking our way carefully down the rocky path.
The central area was not as flat as it had appeared. There were rock outcrops of various sizes and configurations, and often with a stacked appearance. Clearly, there had been some selective burning -both to reduce “hot” bushfires later in the season, and to make the area more passable for us!
The vegetation was really varied, too, from the spinifex grasses, through eucalypts and other trees, turkey bush, and even palms and boabs.
The variety of rock type and shapes and what was growing made for a really interesting walk.
A rock stack also made a convenient place for lunch.
We spotted a pair of plump, white quilled rock doves sitting on a ledge, keeping very still. These birds are confined to the north-west of the country, so we were pleased to have spotted them. But they were too far away to photograph successfully.
The path approached close to the dome structures, so we could appreciate their intricacy. To me, they were identical to the structures found in the Bungles.
The way back was through the Nigli Gap – more gradual going. Because of the late start, we’d ended up walking in the hottest part of the day. I’d definitely had enough by the time we finished.
The circuit walk we’d done was basically the only walk to be done from this campground. Last time we were here, there was another walk, to a section of the Keep River, to the north. We did it, but it was a bit of an anti-climax, walking across the floodplain but not really being able to get close to the river because of thick vegetation. Looked like National Parks had now taken it off the walks menu.
Drove straight back to the campground, and lazed around for the remainder of the day.
We had a cooking fire in the nearest fire place, then sat around it after tea, chatting and admiring the night skies some more. Had a bit of an ongoing “spot the satellite” competition going , on these nights.