MONDAY 9 JULY KURRAJONG CAMP
I had another good night’s sleep, although it seemed colder. Being less exhausted, maybe I just noticed the cold in the night. I was up at 6.30am. Pottered about, getting stuff organized.
Breakfasted, then drove back to the Piccaninny car park, stopping along the road a couple of times to take photos – a luxury I am not often afforded when someone else is driving!
I set out again on the same track, but soon deviated to tackle the short Domes side walk.
I knew that the other two would take some time to walk back from their camp, so thought I had time to sidetrack – just in case it was later decided we wouldn’t come back this way.
Also – I didn’t want to walk too far to meet them, only having to back track along the same route I’d trudged a couple of days ago!
The Domes circuit provided a really good encapsulation of typical Bungles domes – a way for most visitors to see in a small area what we had expended a lot of effort to visit further along!
From there, it wasn’t far to the next side track – to Cathedral Gorge.
Because of the recent rains, there were lots of pools on and beside the track, as I walked in there. Had to wade at a few points and got wet feet. There were a couple of short ladders to climb too, that took the track around difficult bits.
I was really lucky to get into Cathedral Gorge in between tour groups. There was only one other couple in there while I was taking photos.
The Cathedral is a huge amphitheatre type of cavern formation at the head of a gorge. In its base is a large pool.
The curved rock roof causes sound to be amplified and echo. The roof is partly open to the sky. In one section, a black stained rock wall that denoted a wet season waterfall, reached up really high. There must be an awesome torrent pouring down there when it really rains.
On the side track back from Cathedral Gorge, I passed heaps of tour group travellers walking into the Gorge. How lucky had I been?
At the corner with the Creek track, had a little debate with myself. Was it just possible that the intrepid two had made really excellent time and gone past this point towards the car park? Logic said not – but I thought I’d best play safe and check.
So I tromped the km back to the car park. No hikers. Tromped the same km back again, then continued on up the Piccaninny Creek bed.
I only got about a km along from the Cathedral Gorge turn off, when I turned a bend and there they were, heading my way. It was right on midday. They had made good time – five hours since they’d left their camp, some 12-14kms away.
They’d had a great time, and were “high” on the achievement.
They hadn’t explored the full lengths of all the little finger gorges at the top of the main one – too much boulder hopping, verging on rock climbing. But I thought it was a great effort to do what they had done, especially 66 year old John with his one replaced hip and another well on the way to needing same.
Loaded them and gear into Truck. On the way back, detoured into the airfield area near Walardi camp, so M could check out the sightseeing helicopter flights. On our Piccaninny Creek walks, had heard and seen these overhead.
Then drove back to the Visitor Centre to de-register them. More cold drinks were purchased!
Back at camp, they unpacked. In the wash-up dish, I hand washed John’s dirty gear, and my socks, which were wet and dirty from having to wade on the way into Cathedral Gorge.
Then we all relaxed over late lunch and into the afternoon. They had lots of anecdotes to tell me – and remember, themselves.
The wildflowers in the Park were truly spectacular, we had noted. I’d seen a superb red variety of holly grevillea, and a golden rod type wattle was also notable.
It was good to have company again, in camp, even if it did mean I had to share the bed clothes!