Sunday, 5 October 2014

Day 17 - Bungonia NP

After our bike ride of the previous evening, I woke with my left hand sore and swelling again. Gripping the handle was hard enough with either hand but the jarring across the rough ground proved too much for me and the bikes might be off the agenda for a few days.

As a result, the car was used to explore more of the small park. Bungonia NP occupies only a little more than 700 hectares of the 4000 hectares of the original Bungonia State Conservation Park. The lookouts and camping areas are about the extent of the park, which opened only in 2010.

We drove up to Adams Lookout, which towers above Bungonia Creek as it descends over a set of falls out of view and then on through the narrow slot canyon until wandering off to join the Shoalhaven River further to the East. The ugly limestone open cut mine, above the Bungonia Creek on the opposite side to the national park, is a longstanding neighbour who has offered assurance that the pit closest to the creek will no longer be mined as long as market forces don’t cause them to use it! It’s a bit like saying I won’t drink water unless I’m thirsty.

Plaque in memory of Dion Betts
There are several platforms at Adams Lookout. Below one, cemented onto the very tip of a precipice below was a plaque situated too far away to be read. It wasn’t until I took a photo, on extreme zoom, that we discovered it was placed there by his family and friends not only to commemorate the life of Dion Betts but also as a warning to others. Betts, a fifteen year old sports star of the area, lost his life when he fell from the track high above Bungonia Creek, in 1983, near this spot on what was the former track. The wording on the plaque says it hopes it will serve as a warning to others of “the great risk involved in this area.”

Why then would you place the plaque in such a precarious position at the very edge of Betts death drop and then why leave it there when the tracks were changed? It can’t be read from the viewing platforms.

We contemplated the other walks in the park and although easy in grade, all required to much walking for Sue, so we declined. Before returning to our camp, we called it at the ranger station seeking answers to a few questions and to pass comment on our noisy neighbours. They had left this morning after consuming enough food to feed a small army and in doing so, the girls managed to colour the air with the “f” word and even the “c bomb” as daughter Sarah describes it. Charming.

The afternoon was a readathon, Sue finishing Richard Flanaghan’s “The Narrow Road To The North” and started Geraldine Doogue’s “The Climb”. I just sank deeper and deeper into Orwell’s “1984”.

We had bush showers in the twilight, dinner and settled in for an early, quiet night.

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