Tag Archives: Mirima National Park

August 24, Part 3

We wound down narrow, twisting, rock-walled lanes, then, at a place identified as leading to a great view, we climbed high up into the rocks. Though fatigued and a bit dehydrated, I was not about to miss this, and I was glad I made the climb, as the view was glorious. I just made a point of being very careful as we picked our way up the narrow, crumbly, cliff-side path to the best possible view of the park.

Climbing

Climbing

Climbing

Climbing higher


I made it safely back to ground level from our climb, and began to relax my vigilance. We were on uneven but more or less level ground now. There was so much to look at and photograph—but I missed seeing a rock sticking up in the path. It caught my foot and I crashed onto the hard, craggy ground, landing on my camera. My hands and knees were pretty badly cut up. Landing on my camera chewed it up a fair bit, but it more than got even. I’ve had broken ribs before, and I could tell that the landing on the camera had at least cracked a rib. On the plus side, I know they don’t do anything for broken ribs, other than telling you to take it easy, so I spared myself a trip to the hospital. But still would rather not have done this.

Don jogged into town and sent a cab for us. Belinda and Athena washed my wounds and looked after me. Back in came, ice was produced, and I kept it packed on the worst of my injuries. Everything hurts—my back, the cuts and scrapes, the wrist I put out to stop my fall, and especially the breast and ribs that landed on the camera.

When I went to the ablution block to clean up, a few of the ladies came in to check on me (not just curiosity—Marianne was a nurse and wanted to see if she could help), and I was gratified when they all cringed. (There is something reassuring about having others agree that your injuries look serious.) My entire right breast and my right side from armpit to below my waist are the color of dark, raw liver, but mottled with black. Having them see this will be helpful when I need assistance with things like carrying my backpack.

My camera seems to still be working—good ad for Nikon. Lost the filter that was on the front of my lens, and the image counter is not working, but it otherwise seems to be okay—just hoping the focus is still accurate.

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Filed under Australia, Geography, Nature, Travel

August 24, Part 2

Our second stop of the day was at Keep River Gorge. Red cliffs and shattered rock were as common here as elsewhere, though the red walls here were dotted with, among other plants, boabs of varying ages and stages of development. Possibly the oddest element we saw as we hiked up the gorge was what looked like trees standing on tiptoe. During the wet season, heavy rains carry away lose dirt, leaving the roots of the trees exposed. Other than the exposed roots, the trees looked fine–green and growing vigorously. We were accompanied by cockatoos, butcherbirds, fairy martins, and splendid black and electric-blue butterflies.
KeepRiverGorge-rocks-boabs KeepRiverGorge-tree roots
And now we’re back on the rock road–which means my writing in my notebook looks a bit jumpy. As rough as it is for driving, there is something infinitely appealing, visually, about a long, red-dirt road stretching ahead.

The termite mounds we were seeing were different from those we left behind. I don’t know if it’s the species of termite or the quality of the soil, but the farther west we get, the more rounded and undefined and almost sloppy the termite mounds look.

Red rocks and blue sky defined our drive. It’s probably in the high eighties today, but it’s enough cooler than the last few days that it seems quite refreshing. Of course, it’s only 10:30 am.

Heading westward, toward Kununurra. We had to stop at the Western Australia border for a quarantine check and to dispose of any uneaten fruit or vegetables—to make certain no diseases or insects could be carried into the fruit-growing area ahead. We also set our watches back one and a half hours, as we were crossing into a new time zone. The border guard told us it was 40˚C here yesterday, which is roughly 104˚F – so I guess we’d better enjoy the cooler mornings.

And back to civilization. Showers and washing machines are welcome, but it is certainly less attractive than the wilderness. However, our campsite for the night is in a lovely location, near water and surrounded by trees.

Clothes washed and hung out to dry, and freshly washed ourselves, we climbed on the 4WD for the short ride to Kununurra. Shopping first: fly net and sock protectors, as more wilderness lies ahead, and we want to be prepared, just in case, plus postcards, to let the folks back home know of our adventures. Then we headed off to look for lunch. One might not expect to find focaccia or fresh fish at a take-away stand in an outback strip mall, but I have come to expect surprises like this in Australia. I ordered a hot barramundi sandwich, which was delicious. A few folks wanted to stay in camp, but Don, Graham, Belinda, Athena, and I hopped back on the 4WD for the short ride to Hidden Valley, in Mirima National Park.

This place was even more amazing than Keep River. Erosion is definitely one of the key geographic shapers in Australia, and here, that activity was abundantly demonstrated. A sign at the entrance to the park said the layered and worn rock around us was sandstone laid down 360 million years ago, in the Devonian period. We hiked through wonderfully strange, red gorges, surrounded by layered rock that was peculiarly carved into rounded domes and jagged shapes. (The weird carving and jagged edges, the sign had informed us, are because the layers do not wear down at the same rate.)
Mirima Rocks 1 Mirima -rock lamb
In addition to rocks, we also saw red-tailed black cockatoos and a wide range of plants, including acacia, rock figs, woolybutt gums, long grasses, and a variety of pea flowers.
Mirima -rock-grass

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