Carnarvon National Park - Mt Moffat - Dargonelly July 14 - 15 2023

A gentle reminder to be careful on the roads ....

  Our first glimpse of higher mountains. We aren't sure what to expect of Mt Moffatt.

Apart from its higher than surrounding plains, and probably colder.

A bit of a drift away from, or perhaps towards, precision. There is Mt Moffatt, the conical mountain, that rises 300m above its surrounds. And there's Mt Moffat the new station. Either that or the maps are wrong! For now we are headed to the Mt Moffat Section of Carnarvon National Park. The several sections of the park seem to be independently managed.

  We know this is a slab hut because the sign says so. A Lions venture. We'll stop on the way out.
  For now our sights are set on Mt Moffatt section of Carnarvon National Park. We know the road is a bit slow - or rather we are a bit slow.
  We stop first at the 5.8km loop walk. Which takes us 6.5km.

Very open forest, and a sandy track makes easy walking.

  Though frequent stops, and pauses, as we adjust to the different vegetation.

Without any idea what we are looking at, apart from its all different to recent experiences.

What a difference a few meters of altitude, soils that seem to be sand, and perhaps less shelter, or rain, from the west.

  We have to take pics so we know that what we are looking at is different to what we looked at 5 minutes ago.

We have no memory for shapes, suspect there is a difference, and looking at the pics know they are similar but different.

  The walk takes us past "three chimneys".

After a few weeks of precipice sandstone we are used to the patterns of erosion.

  Or so we thought.

The chimneys have a strange (to us) surface.

  The closer we look at the vegetation the more we realise how much variety there is.

The soil may be poor, but plants manage to grow and thrive.

  And the apostle birds, in otherwise quiet bush, must find food.
  We cross the West Branch of the Maranoa. Which flows south into the Murray Darling basin.
  More of that surface to the rock that we saw at the chimneys.

This time at "The Tombs".

  An Aboriginal burial site.

Bodies wrapped in bark and skins. Placed in small rock holes.

Long stolen, before the 1900's.

I wonder if they have rotted somewhere, or have been preserved by the descendants of whoever took them.

  The rock art is stencils. Nothing abstract.

Though in the last pic a couple of hands drawn.

Kangaroo footprints in the centre. But mostly hands.

  With an unusual stencil of a whole human.
  A close up of an image in the previous pic.

A che-ka-ra. A shell pendant.

I was intrigued at the hole for string.

And that pendants were traded from Cape York. 1300km away.

  The cave was excavated for archeology in 1960. To a depth of 2m. Occupation about 9700 years ago.
  But back to geology.

The different skin. And no scree slope.

  The tombs forms a largish amphitheatre, about a third of a circle.

I saw what looked like a full circle, with a couple of entry and exit tracks, while looking at satellite views. But didn't write down the coordinates. Difficult now without internet.

  There are white cypress pines. We wonder if these are such.

But suspect not. Just that the cones are whitish.

  We approach the "Looking Glass".
  But first a mystery.

We are used to a flock of corellas at home breaking twigs and leaves off trees.

We aren't used to seeing a carpet of leaves, from a tree with leaves greener than others nearby.

We haven't seen any large flocks of parrots, yet.

The "salmon pinkness" of some of the tree trunks are "apple" trees - not the ones that apples grow on.

  More of that skin on the rock.

The explanation is iron in the porous rock is leached out to the surface and is deposited, with silica, as the water evaporates. Forming a hard skin. Algae grow and colour it.

In places the skin is eroded, exposing the underlying sandstone to more erosion.

The "looking glass" has a hole through it. As wind and rain erode.

Most of the precipice sandstone we've seen has been white. But we've also seen red sands, before the iron is washed out in the river beds.

A bit like chasing sand colours in the Simpson Desert.

  Ali through the looking glass?

A small rock next to the track.

  The track finally finds a place where we can see the hole.
  And a bit more of the skin.
  And the lack of scree.

And the forest.

  Cathedral Rock is near the car park at the start of the circuit.

Now where have we seen a surface similar to this?

A rhetorical question. Here the strata seem to have similar compositions. In the Bungles the strata have different compositions giving rise to the familiar horizontal striping of the domes.

  Not as domelike. But, to me, very similar geological lifecycle.


  Not sure why its called Cathedral Rock.

Time to mention karst?

  There was also a cave. But my interest seems to be drawn to the erosion.
  Another day.

At Darganella Rock Hole Campsite. I think a masked woodswallow.

Very active, it didn't sit still for the 5 minutes or so I watched it.

Then it flew away .....

  The rock hole much easier to take a pic of.

Part of the west branch of the Maranoa River.

  While upstream its dry.

Looks like there hasn't been much of a flow for quite a while.

We follow the river for a couple of km, then find a straight line back to camp.

  We've seen lots of butterflies in various places. None here. But we wonder where are the caterpillars and chrysalids.

Now we have to wonder what strange beast created these white hairy things, which surround grass stems and are stuck tight.

Without mobile phone and internet it will be a while before we can find out.

  The forest seems to change every hundred meters or so.

Though basically open.

  We wuz here.

Or at least the truck was ...

..... Dargonelly campsite.

  Maybe this is white cypress?

The tips look a bit whitish.

  While Ali did some mandolin practice I walked north up the road.

A hint of escarpment in the distance.

Our campsite is in the middle of a wide valley. The nearest escarpment 4-5km away.

Tomorrow we will move east, to westside campsite! We'll also visit the park info site.

  Meanwhile, the camera operator wasn't quick enough to capture the tussle between noisy minahs and pale headed rosellas.

I wonder what the fight was about, given the vast area available for them.

Carnarvon National Park - Mt Moffat - West Branch July 16 - 18 2023

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