Kimberley - Mitchell Falls July 28 2018
  The full lunar eclipse started around 2am.

I was late .....

  Nearly full eclipse. Around 4 am.

I fell asleep.

  The alarm woke us at 5:15 am. Breakfast and start walking by 6 am.

From the top of Little Mertens Falls around 6:15am.

  We left the recently burned areas behind us.

Vegetation is greener near the water courses.

  The track is class 5.

Having "calibrated" ourselves to the WA National Parks assessments of tracks in Karijini we prepare ourselves for a difficult day.

Areas of pandanus palms.


  The path crosses the top of Big Mertens Falls.

Looking upstream the swimming looks inviting.

But it isn't yet hot, and we really haven't been walking for long.

  The gorge from the top of the falls.

We idly wonder if there is a way down. But not enough to do anything about the thought.

The dark walls of the gorge are more like our expectations of basalt than the pinkish rock we are walking over. But its all basalt, just some is cleaner.

  Next is the top of Mitchell Falls..

Looking upstream.

  And looking downstream.
  The track follows the Mitchell River upstream for a few hundred meters to a narrow part.

Wet feet to cross.

  The marked track stops near the helipad.

We follow a couple of marker posts, footprints, and our nose to a cliff top we saw from the top of the falls.

We haven't been hurrying. Its taken us about 90 minutes to reach here.

Either our Karijini calibration is wrong or the track is nearer class 3 than 5. Just a few high steps and a water crossing.


  Trying to avoid the shadows from the rapidly rising sun.

No matter how hard we try its hard to find the Goldilocks moment.

  Climbed a small hillock behind the cliff top lookout, covered in big rocks and sticky cane grass.

Looking downstream.

There are reputedly salt water crocodiles down there.

Beneath the layer of basalt is sandstone.

  Another cliff top spot. Just a bit to the west.

There was a clue to the "best spot" .... the sign that said "cliff risk".

  We've only seen these pink flowering bushes in this one small area of cliff top. Either we haven't been looking hard enough or moisture from the falls is sufficient difference.

Though with a bit of research we later discovered its Kimberley Heather (Turkey Bush).

  Without the bottom part of the falls. Trying to persuade the camera to penetrate the shadows.
  To reach our cliff top lookout we walked from the helipad alongside the south side of a dry, rocky, river bed.

The river was strategically aimed across the mouth of the falls and has caused the bend in the Mitchell River.

This is a panorama pic. The shadow on the right is me ..... (not a wanjina).

  The tributary gorge is quite deep, though like a hanging valley. It would have its own waterfall, but is dry at this time of year.
  There must be significant flow, either recently or some time in the past.

The stones that have washed around to grind the hole are too big for me to lift.

  Back at the top of the Mitchell Falls.

On the way back to camp.

We meet our first people walking in. The first helicopter isn't until 8:30.

We've had the falls and track to ourselves until now. By the time we get back to camp we will have encountered only a handful of people.

  We delude ourselves into believing this is an Australian Painted Snipe walking across the lillies.

It doesn't quite match the bird book, which says scarce and endangered. But we can't match it to anything else.

The leaves barely move under it. There's lots for it to eat. 

  A couple of red-tailed black-cockatoos with a youngster entertained us for a while.

We are used to them flying away as soon as we approach.

  Between Big Mertens Falls and Little Mertens Falls is another rock art gallery.
  We are still getting our eye in.

We think Gwions (Bradshaws). "Anthopromorphs". Artistic.

  A kangaroo or a thylocene?
  A bit of everything!

A later wanjina painted over all sorts. Some are outlines, some partially filled, some totally filled.

There is another gallery on the Mitchell River upstream of the Mitchell Falls. About "an hour", which we decided against tackling.

An odd (to me) conversation in which I think I understand that the art sites within the national park are not signposted but if we know they are there we can ask and be told how to find them. In odd contrast to the boldly signposted Munurru sites. What an odd world I live in.

  Leaving the gallery we notice a lizard.

Alert and ready .... but unmoving.

A Mertens Monitor.

We are on the banks of Mertens Creek.

  And a little later another lurking beside the track.

We are both more than a little tired and achy after about ten and a half kilometres plus a cooling swim.

Kimberley - Surveyor's Pool July 29 - 30 2018

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