|Expedition National Park - Lonesome
|July 6 - 7 2023
|The road south is in good condition after the rain. A bit of rutting (wheel marks) that occasionally cause us to change course a little, so keep our speed reasonable.
|The southern end of the Arcadia Valley ends with a
horseshoe shape of the Carnarvon Range.
The Comet River, which is partly sourced from Carnarvon Creek, flowing out of Carnarvon Gorge, flows northwards through the valley.
The Dawson River sourced from a different, but close, part of the highlands, flows from one side of the the horseshoe and through a gorge in the other side, flowing eastwards.
We feel the valley closing in on us, as the sides become closer to the road.
|With some very distinctive sandstone outcrops.
This, unnamed, in particular caught our attention.
|Rather than following the river out of the valley the
roadbuilders had a more direct approach.
The road has a constant grade around the right hand side of part of the escarpment in front of us.
There's a lookout at the top.
|To maintain the grade a cutting through the sandstone. Nice and white (ish), it seems everything can be precipice sandstone.
|We are making a detour into Injune. For dump point, water,
fuel, and food.
So we turn south at the Carnarvon Highway. Formerly the Carnarvon Developmental Road.
And meet the flow of caravans
|Injune has a population of about 450. And all that we require.
|Lonesome Section of Expedition National Park contains the
escarpment we drove up and some of the land below.
We stopped at the lookout (we passed earlier).
To lookout ..... as one does.
|Our investigations of brigalow were incomplete at Nuga Nuga.
A failure on our part to really distinguish the acacia from any other tree.
Lonesome, named after the station, has easily recognised large stands of brigalow. Obviously dominant in places. Of course, we said, looking down from the lookout.
The significance (to me) is that brigalow forest used to cover vast areas of Queensland, but the conditions which led to that are also conditions which are good for feeding cattle, which involved clearing the trees. There are small pockets remaining, of which Lonesome is one of the larger.
|The campsite is a little to the right of the road, towards
the bottom of the pic. On the northern (furthest) side of the Dawson River.
We are looking north eastish through the Arcadia Valley.
|Prominent to our east is that same distinctive, fascinating, unnamed outcrop we saw earlier from the road.
|Camped next to the Dawson River. It really isn't very big
here, and isn't flowing.
There's a deep, narrow, channel, hidden in the bushes. With a wide bench either side, rising to the flood plain that we are camped on.
This was just the evening exploration. Along the road a little, and a pic taken from behind the truck.
|Next day we embark on our bigger exploration.
A gentle stroll along the banks of the meandering river.
But first to cross it. A bit of a scramble.
|But once across, to the southern (true right) side we can walk along the bench.
|And begin our search for the elusive brigalow.
Which is not difficult as its all around us.
I'd so far concentrated on the pasty, olive green, colour of the leaves. Something I read suggested silvery.
|Though first a diversion into grass. It isn't reeds. It seems to grow somewhere between the wet parts of the river and the dry parts nearly at the flood plain. A sort of in between plant.
|And a chance to play with the camera.
|Also distinctive about brigalow is its bark.
|Having walked a little way with every so often saying
"that's one" it wasn't long before we were surrounded.
There is no mistaking how distinctive they are.
Though we know from past experience (is there any other type) that we are unlikely to remember sufficiently to identify anything in strange or new circumstances.
Having spent many happy hours (a few years ago in a far off land) trying to distinguish between firs and pines from the number of needles we can't remember which is which.
|But does it really matter? (I notice that when I have time
to write the blog I become a tad philosophical).
My answer is no. Sufficient for us to know that some trees have more needles than others, that some trees have broader leaves than others, with leaves of different greens, and bark of different texture.
We are happy to gaze at patches of forest and see diversity, or as in the pic a dominance. We only need labels for things to communicate with other hmans. Moreso when there isn't a pic.
|About now I began to wonder if there had been a fire
through here, there usually has been at some stage almost anywhere in Aus.
And thus if brigalow has epicormic growth as part of recovery from fire.
I have to assume the answer is "yes" as internet searches fail to reveal a definitive answer to me.
At some stage the river has flooded the bench, and probably overflowed onto the plain.
|The northern side of the river is pasture, some inside, and some outside the national park. The boundary is a bit murky. Either way, the north side is very different.
|A bit of water. We've followed a long meander, and are about to turn another bend in the river as it meets an obstacle to the south.
|Should we or shouldn't we.
Cross the river that is.
And the cattle, who's tracks we have been following, make the decision for us.
It looks muddier than it is. Sufficient to bear our weight without sinking more than a few mm.
|About here we became a bit disoriented. Sadly having
forgotten to mark waypoints on the tracker for where vehicle tracks are
near, or cross, the river.
We can't get close enough to the river to know if we are following the main channel or have been diverted up a wide gully.
We can look back at the escarpment and realise we have followed the river for 4km.
|Not quite by chance, I'd studied our surroundings
reasonably, we found the vehicle track by walking due south until we crossed
it. Less than 100m.
We had been following a gully.
A 4km walk back along the vehicle track, on the south side of the river, counting the times we entered and exited the national park.
|Later in the day a drive east along the vehicle track. And
that fascinating looking monolith that is just outside the national park.
The track with a few creek crossings, recently maintained, though with a bit of mud remaining in places.
In a few days we will be camped at Beilba, about 10k SE of our Lonesome camp, also on the Dawson River, but lots of km by road, and also we'll visit Carnarvon Gorge first.
|Back at the camp, looking across the river at the
And the now very obvious brigalow.
|With a "we wuz here".