Southern Lost City August 5 - 6 2021
  The early start for Western Lost City (resisting the almost, but not quite, imperative to abbreviate to WLC), meant we reached the main road around 1pm.

Time to leave a note on the info centre whiteboard for James the Ranger indicating our success. So that he may provide said info to future travelers silly enough to contemplate narrow 4wd tracks with a vehicle 3.5m high.

South of Butterfly Falls the road follows the edge of the valley of many springs, elevated a little. We look across the valley. The track to Western Lost City is parallel to our road, on the other side of the hills.

  Is it a turkey bush or isn't it. The view from our rear window at the Southern Lost City campground.

On close examination. It isn't turkey bush.

But, as to what it is, we have no idea.

We've arrived mid afternoon. The temperature is lower than we have become used to. Around 30 instead of 32-34.

The land is drier. Predominantly spinifex with a few wisps of grass.

  Around 16:45 we embark on the 2.5km round trip walk through the lost city.
  We walk through the middle. Something not possible in the western city.

Overlooked by aliens.

  The lean, the tilt of the bedding planes, is obvious. We are not drunk (having exhausted our supplies of alcoholic beverages a couple of months ago and lacking the initiative, or timing, to re-stock).
  At once we are reminded of being in the middle of the Stone Forest (in China, made of limestone) and Nourlangie (the Baark Walk) in the middle of stone country.

The similarity is less the erosion and rock formations, apart from there being formations, but the sense of being in the middle rather than viewing from the outside looking at, or occasionally in.

We have a similar sense of difference between a wide sealed road and a narrow track. An illusion, we are no more or less a part of nature. But feelings are somehow important.

  Our city tour continues as we climb up, not just through.

We see the far side of the valley our camp is in.

  We are a few minutes late. Sunset is still an hour away, but the bottoms of the pillars are already in shadow.
  We see light and dark through narrow pathways.

Close up we look at the banding. Formed by erosion between layers of rock, some with a film of algae. But not as pronounced as in the Bungles.

  The interminable race against time. The setting of the sun inevitable. The camera incapable of capturing the contrast. Aren't human eyes wonderful contraptions. As much an evolutionary product of nature as the erosion of the rock.

Two lost cities in one day.......


A honey eater.

We retreated to the camp. A cool night. We think the lower temperature is as much a result of being further south as a change in the weather.

After a good night's sleep we repeat yesterday's tour of the city.

  Very different in the early morning (well relatively early, we slept in until 07:40).
  The edge of domes and pillars.
  Looking back whence we have walked.
  And back in the middle.
  Is it all a facade. Like a movie set. The back of the pillar rarely seen, never completed.

More likely a vertical fault. Another example of the superglue joint failing.

  As we climb to the ridge the rocks is decidedly lighter.
  And yes, I do exist.

If only to show how miniscule I am relative to the rock. In many ways.

  Looking across the valley with campsite there is a layer of cloud. We can't decide if its mist in the valley floor.

It all clears by the time we complete the walk.

  We've walked along the ridge above our lost city to a lookout.

Looking north. There are many lost cities.

In front of the formations, and to the right half of the image is a sloping pavement area.

Not yet eroded, the faint lines marking where domes will slowly form, visible in some future geological time.

  We can see the roundness of the hill where the earth has been pushed up. The sandstone laid down under the sea now pushed up and distorted. Imagine the criss-crossed vertical cracking of the sandstone during the intrusion. Sewing the seeds for water and wind to begin their work.

This is an old landscape. Perhaps the first movements were more than a billion years ago.

We see it in a different light this morning. Features that were invisible to us the previous evening are now obvious.

Every which way we look, including pics from the last few days, we see rounded hills. Some harbouring lost cities.

We must look again at a favourite coffee table book, "The Fold of the Land".

  Rarely do we visit the same place, or walk the same walk, more than once.

But when we do we are always surprised at how different it looks each time.

The perennial question of whether we spend a lot of time in a few places or a little time in lots of places.

We have no answer. Of course we would like to do both.

Too many places, not enough time.

Perhaps in some future we will be able to store time, as we are currently learning to store electricity.

The trees on the ridge top are woolybutts. Not in flower (remember those bright orange flowers we so like).

  The track descends through the city.

Back to camp for breakfast.

And to the practicalities of traveling rough roads and tracks.

A drawer has failed to close completely. Which means a hatch can't be opened. Which means the flour to make scones is not accessible.

There is no other option than to fix the drawer. A screw has come loose.

We are having a rest day before the long days to Borroloola and across the border to Mt Isa or Cloncurry, where there are large supermarkets.

A quick check of the front suspension after hitting a small washout a tad hard revealed no obvious damage. The top right king pin bearing is still ok, just showing the beginnings of wear. I'm unable to accurately check wheel alignment but it felt ok after the bump. I suspect the alignment (toe in) has drifted a little, but that was before the bump.

Meanwhile we learn that our home suburb is in lockdown (due to covid-19), extended another few days, along with the rest of greater Brisbane.

Its reaching that time in our travels when we feel it would be good to be home.

Caranbirini Conservation Reserve August 7 2021

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