Sunday, June 8, 2008
Fog and Sleet
The plan was- To go to Coolah Tops National Park. The reality was- It was too wet, too hit and miss, so instead I chose to walk down to the Victoria Falls.
Situated west of Blackheath, but in the same network of valleys as Blue Gum Forest, I was curious to see just how the landscape had recovered from the bush fires. Like Perry's Lookdown, it requires a drop into the systems of creeks and gullies that ultimately form the Grose Valley, and Grose River. I had hoped to improve on the bird list as well. But with heavy fog and rain, it was unlikely.
Early section of the track.
The drive to Mt Victoria is uneventful and pleasant. Once arriving the road to the falls is easily signposted and the average sedan would cover the 12k of dirt road with ease.
I was surprised to see quite a few other dedicated walkers and campers in the area. It was good to see other enjoying the mountains despite the weather. Parking the troopie, its a decent into the valley. Not as extreme as Perry's it is a pleasant mix of steps, rock overhangs and forests. The fire here must have been intense as much of the undergrowth has vanished, replaced by succulent new growth. In opening the canopy too, new growth is rapid, as native species compete with weeds that seemed abundant.
The rain and wind were reasonable and most birds seemed absent. Not that it mattered, my binoculars fogged up and my books got soggy in the process.So I pushed on. Within a short time I was at the falls.
They looked great! Rock pools were full and the sound of falling water and Bell Minors filled the forest floor. In the pools were HUGE Yabbies! For my OS friends these are similar to a lobster or many other crayfish, and are delicious eating for sure! Some are pale blue in colour, yet these were a brilliant red. Simply boil water with salt and drop them in head first. Sadly these ones are protected in the national park, so I had to content myself with a stale biscuit!.
Yabbies with white wine and a cheese and garlic sauce........
After taking several photos I headed pack towards the car where a hot cup of coffee was most welcome. It was a most enjoyable walk.
Even though birds were quiet, I still spotted Pied Butcher Bird, Pee Wee, Bell Minor, White Headed Pigeon, Currawong, White Browed Tree Creeper, Yellow Rumped Thornbill, Galah, Rosella, Australian Magpie and Wood Duck.