Day 80 Sunday Aug 24th 2014 Carnarvon Gorge
We’re up bright and early in preparation for our walk through the gorge. We leave Woody behind to have a quiet day. The campground at the park is no longer in use but is now a lovely grassy picnic area shaded by palms and gums.
At 9:20 light of step and with great excitement we set off on what the guide describes as an easy 14km walk. Our aim is to walk to the farthest of the ‘best attractions’ then visit each of the other ‘best attractions’ on our return. It is a very, long walk to the first attraction then we pass each of the others in quick succession. The scenery is nothing short of stunning and we crisscross the Carnarvon Creek many times, becoming more adept at sprinting across the steppingstones with each crossing.
With plenty of energy in reserve we reach the Art Gallery (the furthest of the best). Oh, it is well worth the walk. We climb through a split rock and up to a sheer white sandstone cliff face that is covered in Aboriginal art, drawings, stencils and carvings as high as the artists could reach. There are ochre stencils of hands and boomerangs and drawings of nets.
On the return Ward’s Canyon is a steep climb into a narrow canyon that is cool and dark. There is a broad overhang where we have lunch and I feel that we are not the first to have found shelter at this spot. A small stream runs through the canyon on a base of bright red rock, so red that it looks like a trickle of blood. The stream then drops many metres as a dainty waterfall.
Down we clamber and back along the trail to the Amphitheatre. It is here that the climbing gets the better of me. I rest on a log to catch my breath and watch the wildlife while the others scale the vertical ladders to the top.
Once more we take to the trail but our joints are now complaining and the feet aren’t happy either. We climb up to the Moss Garden where water drip drip drips through the sandstone then trickles over a shale ledge to form a perfect waterfall.
With all of the ‘best attractions’ ticked off we start the long trudge back. We are surrounded by views that one would expect in a National Geographic magazine. There are grasslands, fern gullies, thousands of majestic palms and tall silver gums. Gums so tall that we strain to see their tops. We see kangaroos and wallabies with tiny brown paws the colour of a Siamese cat’s ears. We even meet an echidna.
Eventually we reach the car at 5:20pm tired and sore after 8 hours of hiking. Thankfully, Woody has a big pot of Corned Beef cooking on the stove for dinner.
Towing Kms: 0