Carnarvon National Park - Mt Moffat - West Branch July 16 - 18 2023
  After two nights at Dargonelly we move to West Branch campsite.

They are on different branches of the Maranoa West Branch!

Mt Moffatt station looks like it was a large establishment when still a cattle station. Buildings are now park ranger station.

  Opposite is an info box. Lots of useful stuff, including this geological map of Mt Moffatt section of the park.

I have to imagine the basalt extending east, and the underlying sandstones in Carnarvon Gorge. With the Clematis Range (of Clematis formation) across the mouth of the gorge.

The good news is that the various layers are in the sequence I'd read of at the gorge.

  A bit hard to see through the reflections ..... but a cross section of the park.

The volcano erupted (if that's the right term for a shield volcano) twice. About 30 and 27 million years ago.

Most of the lava flowed east.

  The camp is an overnight stop for the 86km great walk. A circuit that includes the gorge. By road its 315km. Walking from the gorge campsite about 40km.

On the other side of the swing bridge we get to walk either clockwise or anti-clockwise. Though we will return to this camp after a few km along each bit of track - to the accompaniment of lots of "when we were young ....".

  We think Acacia. And wonder if it will have yellow pom-poms in a day or two or three.

We have to brush them aside as we follow the well trodden track.

  Someone more artistic and creative than I may have found a way of taking a pic of "pleasant". I struggle. Not with "pleasant", just taking a pic.

But that's what it is for me. Relatively flat walking, an easy track, open forest, and hills visible through the trees. Not too hot, not too cold. No flies. Just the two of us. Stopping occasionally to admire the trees, we think the area has never been logged or cleared. Picking apart one of those white sticky balls attached to grass stems, that look like seed pods inside - how odd.

  Gadds Camp is about 16km. Too far for us.

We turn back before we reach the edge of the basalt.

  Later a short climb up the ridge behind the campsite. A short scramble, then a stroll up a gentle slope.

Hard to see through the trees!

But still pleasant ....... if everything was spectacular, or wow, we'd probably get bored with repetitive hyperbole.

  The patina (skin) we saw on the first circuit.
  "pleasant" camping.

At Dargonelly we had the company of two parties of 5, plus assorted others. Here there are just two other vehicles. For some reason Dargonelly is "recommended for caravans".

  After a quiet night, a late start.

Towards Consuela Camp. Not to reach it, again, as its about 18km. Just as far as we feel like, then return.

Hopefully we reach the basalt. Looking more promising than yesterday, the track rises along a ridge. We begin to see a bit over the trees.

  Tempted by outcrops. I resisted the temptation to walk to the top of this pimple, in the hope there was better to come........
  A consistent, steady, gain in altitude. About 900m, or 100m above our campsite.

The vegetation slowly changing. A few cycads rather obvious.

  A little steeper. The trees further apart. Smaller, different species.
  And views to far away hills.
  Halfway up a steeper slope, to a higher ridge.

From the camp we seem to have walked a bit, climbed a bit, walked a bit, climbed a bit more. Like giant steps.

And here is the obvious change from sandstones to basalt.

  With even smaller trees, even further apart.
  About 970m, another ridge. This one is a tad wider, and the track follows it for a few km. Without rising much further.
  As far as I walk.
  Looking a bit more to the south. I suspect the patch of white is visible from our campsite.

Either way, the steps, from river plain, to that sandstone spur, and just visible in the left of pic the basalt plateau.

  Five walkers. About our age. And feeling it. Halfway round the great walk. One with hip replacement.

Very slow, but they'll get to Consuela Camp tonight. Not much more climbing.

  A last look east, with the help of the camera zoom.

Back to camp .... we've come about 5km.

  Is it our imagination or are the pom-poms a little more yellow than yesterday?
  We recognised where the sandstone gave way to the basalt layer above it.

Now we see where one sandstone gives way to a layer of darker sandstone above it. Despite the geological map we are unsure. Though perhaps white precipice sandstone overlaid with evergreen formation.

The coarse, reddishness (is there such a thing), similar, but thicker, than we saw at Beilba.

Our eyes aren't keen enough to pick changes in vegetation.

  And then, as we near our camp, unmistakably (we think) precipice sandstone again.
  Precipice sandstone is white. Almost pure silica.

Which begs the question "where does the iron that forms the patina come from?".

Presumably from layers of other sandstones above, or even the basalt.

But the geological map has none in the area we saw the patina.

A conundrum for another day.

The Maranoa in the park has a wide valley, with no gorge, as its generally too low to have anything left to carve. Perhaps lacking the Basalt cap in the east of the park.

  An evening meander near the campsite didn't reveal any exotic birds. Just a few pigs, blissfully unaware of my presence.

Another pair of bushwalkers camped tonight. For the price of two oranges, which really were better inside than they looked on the outside, I had a look at a 1:50,000 scale topographic map.

I'd estimated from my larger scale, 1:250,000 maps, and the notice board pic of Great Walk superimposed on a satellite pic, that the Great Walk would be accessible from near our next camp at "Rotary Shelter Shed".

The 4wd track to the Rotary campsite continues past a lookout and through the Mahogany Forest to another (not very good) lookout over Carnarvon Creek.

Good news is the topo map shows the Great Walk crossing the 4wd track in the Mahogany Forest. Easier than I thought. And then I found I had a digital 1:300,000 map of Mt Moffat Section of the park, that showed the crossing. But the map ends just east of the crossing! Nice to confirm, but much more detail on 1:50,000.

While the really good news .... I booked three nights at Rotary! Without really knowing why.

  Tuesday 18th a lazy day. A 3km circuit, a short track that joins the two parts of the Great Walk before lunch.

And watch the wallabies in the campground.

Carnarvon National Park - Mt Moffat - Rotary Shelter July 19 - 21 2023

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