Gregory National Park July 16 2021
  We'll pass through the northern extremes of Gregory National Park. The aim today is to get close enough to Keep River National Park so we can arrive at campsites in the morning. Also, visit those couple of bits of Gregory that are east of where we turn south into the park on our return.
  So we rise at sparrow fart, even though there were no sparrows, and are under way at first light.

This was the first indication we may no longer be driving across flat plains.

  We didn't need much convincing.
  Some road works caused a bit of bunching.

We had to wait about 5 minutes, but just one vehicle in front, and none behind when the lights turned green.

  Even more convincing.

Not only cliffs, and plateau, and sandstone, but a deep colour of sandstone.

  We stop at the escarpment walk, just after Victoria River Roadhouse.

A quick 90 minutes walk to the top of the escarpment and back.

We look to the west, down on the Victoria River and Highway while admiring the escarpment.

  And look a bit further round to the south as Ali overcomes another false top.

Either there aren't waterfalls and plunge pools at the heads of the valleys or there aren't tracks to them.

The land is drier, the spinifex seems to grow nearer the bottom of the valley, and the catchments smaller. So smaller, less spectacular, waterfalls. 

  From the top, looking east over the Victoria River Roadhouse.

Its fairly busy with overnighters. From both directions, but most seem to be coming from WA.

  On the way down.

The sandstone has been pushed up and flooded a few times. Difficult to know which way its tilted, if at all. It also looks a little metamorphosed.

  The track zig-zags its way up to the high point.
  To Nawulbinbin Walk, at Joe Creek Picnic Area. About 8km from the escarpment walk.

Another 90 minutes. We ascend to the base of the cliff, and look into Joe Creek.

  We learn something new every day.

Today we learn of Maluna, or Curly Spinifex. Mostly we see .... just plain spinifex!

  Is it or isn't it?

The perennial question where rock art is faded and indistinct.

  But a little further on we see more vertical lines and believe we are looking at rock art.

It helps that the track description says there is some, but alas, nothing about the art itself. We are left to discover for ourselves. Which is really not such a bad approach.

We have no idea what this represents.

  Another "is it or isn't it?".

It seems the only available colour was red ochre, which means the only visible art is on lighter coloured rock.

  It is.

We let our imaginations run riot as to what this represents.

All very literal so far, nothing particularly symbolic.

  A challenge within a challenge. Having decided there was art this looked a bit suss.

A careful look reveals the lines are part of the rock.

We think ....

  And we hope our memories of how people were counted for ceremonies rings true in application to these images.
  Is this symbolic of some greater being? Or just several paintings on top of each other.
  Ah. Something recognisable. Or at least we know what concentric circles usually mean. This is somewhat more complex.

There is currently no running water we can see in this valley. Perhaps directions to where there is some?

  Ah. The vertical lines are colouring in.
  The track runs along the base of the cliff for about 250m before descending.

There was some wisdom in having us walk clockwise around the loop. We saw the most indistinct art first and were slowly drawn in.


  The Livingstone Palms are on this, shaded, side of the valley, below the cliffs with the art.

There's also an unusual ground covering fern that harbours an unusual pigeon.

But we saw neither pigeons nor the Gouldian Finches reputed to nest in the cliffs.

We need the rock equivalent of yesterday's Bauhinia tree, but have no idea what it looks like.

  And so, ever onwards. We take a look at Dingo Creek Lagoon - we still don't know the difference between a lagoon and a billabong, but this one is small.

Someone (thankyou muchly) has burned the grass near the lagoon (long enough ago for new green shoots), cut the remaining grass for camp area, and removed the rubbish that was reported. We decide to stay. About 240km to the northern campsite in Keep River, a relatively easy day, we'll set off early again.

The creek feeding the lagoon is dry. When running there is a small tufa waterfall. We wonder where all the limestone is. Apart from the bit we are standing on that is.

  We were greeted by birdsong. Not all of it from a couple of honeyeaters.

The red-tailed black cockatoos arrived later.

Crimson finches to forage on the grass seed as the sun went lower. A flycatcher.

Some of the gum trees are in flower.

We've had a good day. The world has been kind to us.

One 4wd + caravan took a look at the bit of campsite we hadn't occupied, decided there was sufficient room to turn round, and left.

With some good luck (touch wood) we may have the site to ourselves.

And so it was .....

  Behind the truck, between it and the lagoon, are the two types of pandanus we know about. There are two spiral ones next to straight ones. Side by side.
  To finish the day, the tree provides insects as well as nectar.
Keep River National Park, Jarnem July 17 - 19 2021

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