GUNDERMAN – 5 – 6 June 2022
I’ve been talking about going into some of the creeks off the Electricity Commission fire tail for some time and with a weekend free, and no appetite to do anything too hard, I decided to do a bludge overnight walk. I circulated details and two Steves signed up for the weekend! I made sure they didn’t back out by suggesting that I carry in a Jaffle Iron to make jaffles for dinner! Who in their right mind would miss out on jaffles.
We met up at the Mangrove Mountain store and had hot chocolate and coffee as we sat around, chatted and decided exactly where we would go – how civilised was that? We then piled into my car and headed off to the start of the walk.
Initially I was planning to explore Birds Eye Creek – but this was a creek that Trish M and I had talked about, and I thought that maybe I should wait until she’s back from her ’round Oz trek. So we selected another creek nearby. We picked what could be a potential campsite and two cliff-lines that we would explore for signs of aboriginal habitation – after all, we were on a well known aboriginal route – surely there’d be some evidence out there.
On the walk in Steve R disturbed an owl, it flew up into a tree, could have been a Screech Owl! Ooops, my camera’s overexposing a bit, fixed on the next pic!
The weather was amazing, clear blue skies and the walking was easy. By 11 we were almost at our drop off point (time for morning tea) ,,, Steve R walking up from our morning tea spot.
A Gymea Lily just about to flower.
15 minutes later we were ready to head down into the creek, selecting what appeared to be a gentle spur.
The scrub did get a bit thicker, but before long we were at the creek and walked downstream looking for a likely campsite.
And here we are, not the best, but not the worst we’ve ever pitched our tents on either. We arrived at this spot at 12.20pm – I don’t think I’ve ever set up camp that early!
Steve C pitched his tent on the sandy bank, beside a small waterfall, I was further up in the bushes.
Once we had set up camp and eaten lunch we headed off to the first cliff line that we’d check out. I’ve been searching this area for many years now and haven’t ever found an overhang where the aboriginals would have sheltered. This cliff line was north facing, surely there’d be something there?
All we found was this small hollowed out rock, suitable for a family (maybe), but no evidence that it had been used – I suggested it was a nice overhang for a romantic getaway for someone but Steve C nixed the idea.
Up on the ridge-line now, and believe it or not, Steve C picked out the Bahá’í temple in the distance. You could barely see it, a speck of white on the horizon. But, sure enough, when he got home he put the bearing that he’d taken on his mapping program, and voila, yes, it was the temple!
After taking in the view, Steve R went back down to camp to start up the fire.
Steve C and I checked out the creek further downstream and came to this waterfall in our exploring.
It had a couple of pot holes in it where the water dropped down.
And an axe grinding grove (actually there were a few of them, this one was the most pronounced though) in the middle of the image! I knew there’d be evidence of aboriginals in the area!
Steve had the fire going so we cleaned up, then rugged up for a cold night and started happy hour – I’d brought Red Wine, plus some beetroot dip and crackers.
Eventually it was time to get the jaffles going – the guys had spag bol sauce in their jaffles, I went with the John G favourite, asparagus and cheese. After the jaffles, we ate baked potatoes (wrapped in foil with butter and seasonings), that Steve R had walked in. Then out came the sticky date puddings that I’d brought in, I heated them in the double boiler! A veritable feast.
Round the camp fire we discussed the lack of overhangs and where would the aboriginals sleep (when it was wet and cold). We decided that they would have created shelters out of all the vegetation around, particularly the Gymea lilies.
We were off next morning to another cliff line, looking for any evidence of overhangs that could have been used. The walk up the spur was pretty easy and then got a lot steeper nearer the top.
But at least the vegetation was friendly.
Nice campsite, but too far from water.
Eventually we trended around to the cliff-line – nothing of significance, so we dropped down to the fire trail and had morning tea – even brewed the Billy – I did say this was a bludge walk.
When we got to the fire trail, we noticed that another 2 people had been in the area at the same time as us (footprints, large person ?man and smaller person ?woman) I didn’t think this area was that popular! We were back at the car by noon, and made it up to the Mangrove Mountain Store for a hot lunch!
Interestingly, all along the fire trail were notices about threatened species, or a particular native plant in the area. We were very surprised that NPWS had taken the time to put these notices up. They’re only laminated paper, one wonders how long they’ll last.
Big thanks to Steve C and Steve R for joining me on this walk, it was so good to get out into the bush again, particularly as it was such a stress free trip! Hope to see you both on another trip soon.
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