THURSDAY 5 JULY KURRAJONG CAMP
Last night was so cold! Much, much, colder than I expected. It certainly would have been down into single digits. We should have brought the doona from the van with us, instead of relying on the old, unzipped, relatively lightweight cheap sleeping bags.
Tonight, I think we will be sleeping in track pants and windcheaters, and every suitable item I can find will be pressed into service to cover the bed – towels, the picnic rug, spare clothes.
I do not remember Kimberley nights as being this cold.
The new lilo that we bought in Melbourne, to replace the old one that came to let us down gently in the night, is excellent. It did not seem intent on pitching sleepers together in the middle, like the old one did.
We even managed to sleep in a little, after a broken night’s sleep due to the cold.
M seemed rather cross that we were late getting going – she had been up since really early.
We drove to Echidna Chasm, about 15kms from our camp. Our late start actually turned out to be a positive, because we got there in between the tour group times and had the place almost to ourselves. So we were able to get decent photos, without trying to dodge heaps of people. Also, the light was excellent at that time of the day, in the Chasm.
From the car park, it was a walk of 1km to the end of the Chasm. Initially we were walking in a dry creek bed – rather large, smoothed stones underfoot – through a narrowing valley.
There was plentiful vegetation along the valley – trees, grasses, shrubs, some of which were in flower. As the valley narrowed and darkened, palms began to appear.
Eventually the narrowing valley swung left and became the Chasm. No more vegetation. Just sheer red rock walls, in places reaching up to 200 metres high. Essentially this feature formed by erosion along a joint or fracture line in the parent rock.
The conglomerate nature of much of the rock was evident in the Chasm.
In sections, we were squeezing through really narrow clefts between the walls.
In some of these clefts, if one looked up, there were large rocks that had fallen from above and lodged in the gaps. Signs warned of the hazard from above.
There had been a sign at the car park, warning of the risk of falling rocks. Now it made real sense……
It was the sort of walk where you hoped the Earth didn’t hiccup while you were in there!
The way through the Chasm ended in a steep little climb around a bend. Someone had lodged a long stick there, to act as a sort of handrail.
Not far around this corner, the whole thing ended up against a blind wall, in a sort of dim little cave.
Back the same way we went, encountering a number of people walking in – the start of the afternoon tour groups!
Back almost at the car park, we branched off to do the shorter walk to the Osmand Lookout. As the word “lookout” is usually synonymous with elevated, the walk went uphill.
This little 200metre side track was interesting for the varied rock formations of the Osmand Range, this section of the Bungles.
Saw yet another bower – this bird was into collecting smooth white stones. No shortage of materials for him to choose from…
Back to camp, where we had a very late lunch. Lazed about for a bit, chatting over what we’d seen, and what we had planned. John experimented some more with the big camera, taking photos of birds.
Late afternoon, drove a few kms from camp, to the car park for the Walanginjdji Lookout – another elevated viewing point! Walked up the path to the top of the rise, to watch the sunset, which really lit up the eastward-facing range across the valley from us.
There was a viewing seat thoughtfully provided at this vantage point, but it was already fully occupied, so we just wandered about while we waited for the full glory of the sunset. It would have been pleasant to sit down and wait, but spinifex does not make for a sitting place!
Initially, there was a line of shadow across the valley, just beyond the base of our ridge. Then, as we watched, this shadow line crept across the valley towards the far range, whilst the latter changed colour.
Finally, the shadow crept up the distant range, turning its deep red to grey then black.
Time to pick our way back down to the vehicles, while we could still see at all.
Late light tea and then another early night. I wasn’t looking forward to trying to sleep in the cold.