Thursday, 6 July 1995

AUC 1995 - Moss Gardens (Carnarvon Gorge)

Our first day of walking for the trip saw us heading off along the main track that runs the length of the park. Essentially, there is one track which acts like a spine along the length of the gorge and
side tracks - or spurs - radiate from it and pick up the more spectacular side gorges which have been
created by the influx of tributaries to the main creek.

It was decided, by collective wisdom, we should walk to the closest of these side gorges, Hell Hole Gorge. A further side gorge runs off this and is called Violet Gorge. It was a special feature in Violet Gorge we were seeking through our pedestrian endeavours - the aptly named, Moss Gardens.

The weather was overcast, with occasional spits of rain, which made walking very pleasant. The track meanders up the gorge, crossing the creek at numerous places. Each crossing is numbered and Rangers refer to these in giving their directions. The floor of the gorge is marked by the proliferation of Bladey Grass. According to our erstwhile, but verbally challenged ranger of the previous evening, this may well be promoted by the controlled burning which is carried out as part of management practices.

As We walked along, the white sandstone cliffs towered above us - silent Jurassic sentinels keeping vigil for the tribes who have long since passed from the ownership of occupation. Carnawon Creek burbled it's way over collections of sandstone and basalt rocks that have been moved along the bed of the creek by floods of varying intensity. In 1990, a flood of such power hit the gorge, that the rangers had to replace or re position the majority of the stepping stones, strategically placed to provide the crossings for walkers. This involved days of work with crow bars, as they rolled and rocked the goolies back into their correct places.

Approximately 2 kms into our 3.6 km journey to Moss Garden, it came to light Sue had left her keys at the camp site. As this opened a window of opportunity to any potential thief - a window which may have opened wide enough to access the guitar, computer, video camera, money and other valuables. I decided - with an air of joy and understandable levity - to stow my pack and reverse direction to camp and close it!

My return trip completed, I met up again with the rest of the crew at the turn off to Moss Garden.

At this point, another item of note was the environmental toilet - the elevated type that composts the deposits left by humans and creates compos/fertiliser etc. The lattice around the base of the toilet was very Queensland !

The side track into Violet Gorge involved some climbing to attain the height of the Koolaroo Creek at the waterfall which feeds Moss Garden. After negotiating the increasingly narrow track - some of us with more difficulty than others - we arrived at the end point and were treated to a wonderful display of ferns, mosses, liverworts and hornworts. The soft sandstone cliffs rose above us, as we sat and consumed our morning tea of muesli bars, fruit, and biscuits. Gulps of refreshing water and one or two barley sugars completed our nourishment. As our bodies soaked up our snacks, our senses soaked up the offerings of nature.

Our return trip included a detour, for three of the party, upstream of the junction of Hell Hole and Violet Gorges. Pa, Chris and I, investigated this narrow gorge for about 200 metres, but decided to retrace our steps and rejoin the others at the main track.

With our noses turned for home, we walked at a reasonable clip back to the camp, to complete a
satisfying first outing. Late lunches were consumed with gusto and rests were taken in various forms.
Further rain and overcast conditions led to the erection of a large tarp over our living area - a decision which was to prove insightful as the evening wore on and constant showers swept in from the west.

Our evening was spent around the fire, playing Celebrity Heads and discussing family matters. A few ports and the increasing chill of the air, drove us to bed for a night of restful sleep.

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