FRIDAY 6 JULY KURRAJONG CAMP
We froze again last night! Couldn’t really think of what else we could do – if we had a heap of newspapers or spare blankets, could put an extra insulation layer under the lilo, because cold comes up from the ground. But didn’t have any papers, and couldn’t spare any layers from on top of us because the night air was too frigid.
I vowed that, if it was that cold when next we were in any sort of town, I was buying some sort of warm bedding!
After breakfast, drove to the parking area for the Mini Palms Gorge walk. Like yesterday, we were exploring the area just to the north of our camp area – the closer part. When that section was done, would focus on the further southern part. We needed as much as possible to keep the kms driven to a minimum to conserve our fuel.
The walk into Mini Palms, at 2.2kms each way, was longer than yesterday’s – that was a warm-up!
We started out walking on a smooth, narrow track through spinifex, then like yesterday, faced a section of walking along, sometimes beside, a dried, rocky, creek bed. For a short way we were walking parallel to the range.
Then the track turned and we were making our way towards a narrow gap in the range.
To make our way into this narrow gap, had to scramble through and over a section of really big boulders – bigger than us. These were unusual in that they were made up of lots of smaller rocks, all kind of glued together like some kind of ancient geological cake mix!
Like yesterday, as we progressed into the narrow valley, Livistona Palms began to appear.
We began to steadily climb as the valley sides closed in beside us, until we reached a viewing platform that overlooked a lower level. This was as far as we could go.
The lower level was a hollow at the head of the narrow valley – the palm hollow.
Back in ’93, we were able to walk down into the hollow and wander in amongst quite a profusion of small palms. But now tourists could no longer go into that cavern. Most of the palms had been washed away in large floods that poured through the narrow gorge, and now the remainder were being protected, in recovery.
From the path near the viewing platform, could look back down the way we came to the narrow valley entrance.
The Mini Palms walk was worth it just for the scenery along the way, even if the palms were a bit feeble now.
Made our way back the same way – like yesterday, encountering a couple of small tour groups on their way in. Again we were lucky to be ahead of the groups.
The nearby Frog Hollow walk, which we’d tackled in ’93, and which I remembered as being very good value, was now closed to all access, due to rock falls and the ongoing danger of same. A pity.
Drove past our camp and on to the Visitor Centre at Three Ways, to book John and M in for their walk. They would have to report back in when finished. Browsed the displays and offerings for sale there. Bought each of us a polo shirt – they were really good quality ones. John bought some playing card sets featuring WA scenery, with the idea that he might make a wooden box to contain each set, as Xmas presents.
After lunch at camp, it was time to address the task of trying to fit all the gear and food into two packs. Depending on which way you viewed it, they were either large day packs or extremely small rucksacks! John was using my day pack, as it was a bit bigger than his. It ended up, literally, bulging at the seams. He would have to carry some of his food in a green supermarket carry bag! I thought he had too much food, but as it had been decided between him and M, I didn’t comment. In the morning, John would have to roll up one of our sleeping bags and fit that in. M, of course, had her very compact down sleeping bag; our good compressible down bags were safely tucked up at home! The two old ones we kept in the van for visitor use, were bulky and inefficient – as we’d already found out.
John and M then set about trying to rig up a shower enclosure, using one of our small tarps, under a tree branch from which we could hang our solar shower bags.
The theory was sound and I enjoyed sitting back and watching them work the thing out.
It proved, however, to have a couple of practical oversights, in use. With the sun behind it, in the late afternoon, there was an interesting shadow play for anyone in viewing distance in the campground!
Also, the tarp was only big enough to enclose two sides, the rest being, apparently, open to bush only and facing away from our camp area. But, when M was having the first shower, she realized that the “bush” was, in fact, the bus group camp area – and a group had newly arrived there. John opted for his shower after dark! I opted for a top and tail inside our tent, with a bucket of water. Too cold out in the open for this little duck.
Early night again – a big day tomorrow. Without a campfire as a focus, and with the nights so cold, there was little wish to sit about outdoors.