MONDAY 16 JULY MORNINGTON WILDERNESS CAMP
Today’s activity centred mainly on Sir John Gorge – further upstream on the Fitzroy River from where we were yesterday.
First, we stopped en route, to walk the Termite Trail, which had been set up in an area where there were a lot of bulbous shaped termite mounds. These were very different in appearance to the ones we were more used to, from places like Litchfield National Park and Pungalina.
A walk track meandered around, past various termite hills where information boards gave all sorts of unexpectedly interesting information about the termites and the roles they play in the savanna grassland ecosystems.
Essentially, termites recycle dead plant matter to provide nutrients for more growth, so enhancing the productivity of the area. They also improve water penetration.
We spent longer there than anticipated, finding it so interesting.
Next stop was at Bluebush Waterhole – another large waterhole on the Fitzroy River – where we wandered about for a while.
There were some large sandbank areas there – the product of deposition by the river at flood times.
Here, the leaning tree effect of Wet Season high water flows was very evident.
Finally, it was on to Sir John Gorge. The character of this was very different to that of Dimond Gorge. The latter just cut straight into the King Leopold Ranges, making the deep gorge. At Sir John, there were great flat slabs of rock beside the river and the start of the Gorge was more gradual.
The Gorge did not seem as deep, at least in the small part of it that we could access. It was also more open and broad, which meant we could walk up into it for some distance.
We had not been prepared to pay $200 for the exclusive use of the only canoe at Sir John Gorge, but decided to do what we could on foot. However, as the Gorge is 23kms long, we didn’t see a great deal of it!
The scrambling around on the rock shelves was enjoyable, and we were able to do some bird spotting. Saw a Sandstone Shrike Thrush – a hard bird to find. There was a Great Egret fishing in the river at one point.
Ate the lunch I’d packed, sitting by the river, enjoying the solitude and scenery. At one stage, there were a couple of other people visiting there, too, but mostly we were alone.
Eventually made our way back to camp. We were enjoying this place so much that we decided to stay an extra day, and walked up to the Reception/bar area to make the booking for that.
The men who set up camp nearby last night, were a very rowdy group. A lot of alcohol consumption seemed to be happening. They also stayed up quite late – much more than us. So they were not the greatest neighbours.
Our camp lantern was playing up. It was a good quality kerosene fuelled one that normally lit our camp brightly. Now, it was sputtering and faltering and the light was dim. I thought it might have been blocked somehow by dust.