Keep River National Park, Jarnem July 17 - 19 2021
  Keep River has been on some sort of notional todo list for a long time. We were within a short distance towards the end of our Kimberley trip, the entrance to the park is only 45km from Kununurra.

Some of the rock in Keep River park is similar to the Bungle Bungles.

We begin to see baobab trees.

  The Victoria Highway is a good road with little traffic. The majority a variety of camping vehicles, mostly caravans.

We start early, as soon as there was sufficient light. Fill with diesel, and catch up on internet, at Timber Creek.

The Victoria River flows north from Timber Creek, the road west. The river flows between the north east to south west aligned Yambarran and Pinkerton Ranges.

We can see the escarpment of the Pinkerton Range. It is in the distance to our north for about 80km. Flowing north east along its base is the West Baines River. The range is inaccessible to us.

Behind the Pinkerton Range, to the north, and parallel, is the Spencer Range. Invisible to us, but the rock formations at Jarnem (northerly) campsite in Keep River National Park are at the south west end of the Spencer Range.

On a contour map both ranges look contorted, and interesting.

Perhaps time for another schematic.

This pic is simply the gap through a short addition to the Pinkerton Range. We'll try for some pics of the range on the way back towards Gregory.

  Towards the south west end the range is more rounded.

We turn into Keep River National Park shortly after, less than 5km from the Western Australia border.

We head to Jarnem Campground, the northerly one of two in the park. We are early enough to get a spot. As suspected, its full, but not as sardines.

Tomorrow we'll walk the about 6.5km circuit.

  The eastern edge of the rocks is a sacred site. A fence along the campground boundary and beyond. All the way round the campground.

We can imagine all sorts of stories about these four, visible from the campsite. But we have no real idea why sacred. As impenetrable as the Masons, without the opportunity for membership.

  The rock is lighter coloured than the escarpments to the east. More porous, which leads to different erosion.

Karst, like the Bungles, about 100km to the south.

The sand that formed the Bungles eroded from the Osmond Range, a hop skip and a jump to their north.

I can't imagine the sand for here came from the same range, but I don't know where it came from. The Bungles are more coarse in the north than the south which provided a clue to which way the water that deposited it flowed. We haven't seen a large enough area here, yet.

The Keep River flows south to north.

  An early morning start to the Jarnem Loop track. Only 6.5km, we hope to catch sunrise at the lookout.


  North from the campsite, round the end of the sacred site fence, then west, then north again on the eastern side of a low hill that is the lookout.

As well as lookout and rock formations the track crosses different soils and vegetation.

Mostly sand, but through areas of black soil floodplain.

  Then west again, follow the creek up the hill.

The sun has nearly caught us.

  Occasionally pause to look back.
  Just in time. Looking west.
  And a little bit south to "domes".
  Which can easily be seen with a little help from the camera zoom.
  The yellow flowers are kapok. I think the tree is gardenia, in flower. But the birds are elusive.
  Even closer domes. The morning light playing tricks, at times they appear grey.

They are banded red/grey in a similar way to the Bungles, but very much not as pronounced.

  It looked like a turkey bush, but it isn't. Maybe a relative.
  As the soil changed to something more productive a quinine bush. Lots of them.
  A billy-goat plum.

And we discover from a conveniently placed sign (you didn't think I can recognise all this without help did you?) we learn that those beautiful orange flowers we see on trees, the ones the birds pick off and throw on the ground, are from woollybutt.

  We can just see over the long grass.
  As we walk south towards the domes we see their size.


The advice to walk anti-clockwise was good. Catch the sunrise, walk towards the domes, be in shadow (and cool) for some of the return.

  There is a little rockart. Very faint. And mutilated by the addition of white outline - we can't figure if its chalk or scratched. This followed the outline, others just a circle to highlight.
  Of more interest to me is the erosion. Wind erosion and honeycomb.

In many places the water eroded domes are incomplete as later erosion cleaved slices off. Very different to the Bungles.

  There are three young Scarlet Finches in this pic.

We are walking along the base of the rocks.

  Memory says there is something special about this pigeon. But it doesn't say what.

So resorting to a sign we encounter a couple of days later - a white quilled rock pigeon.

  A deep cleft between domes.
  Full of Livistona Palms. Remnants of water deep inside.

The walk back is east, to the junction where we turned north, then back to the campground.

We are pushed further from the rocks by fence and track. There is, of course, an interesting looking valley shortly after this cleft.

  Back at camp, we are lazy for the rest of the day.

A visit from a red-winged parrot.

  Following day is a day off. We rise early enough to see the sun on the rock next to the campground.
  But first, in the closing minutes of daylight, finally, a pic of one of the many small birds that have tormented me with their song and ability to hide in the trees.

A flycatcher methinks.


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