Murchison River Gorge - Day 1

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Rock-strewn fields

The first thing I noticed were the ubiquitous red boulders that surrounded me, some that were so large that I caught myself looking for climbing lines. No matter how large these boulders were however, they were still just tiny, almost insignificant, parts of the huge rock-strewn fields that seemed endless. As we walked around and occasionally hopped over the rocks, avoiding the scattered algae-filled pools, we were able to settle down to a nice, slow, relaxed pace - a pace that gave us the time to appreciate the unique terrain, almost moonscape-like, whilst basking in the warmth of the sun.

The pools had started out fairly small and isolated from one another, with dry, caked and cracked earth in-between. These pools started to grow as we walked and seemed to slowly merge into one another, first forming little ponds, and eventually forming the river itself. We carried on, following the river to our left, and tracing it as we went along. We passed the tracks of feral dogs, possibly dingoes (Canis lupus dingo), and up and around the dried white husks of fallen trees as the cliff face loomed ahead in the distance.

The Campsite

Soon after, we arrived at a point on the riverbank that was abundant with River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). The branches of the River Reds were wide and solid, the grass around the area was lush, the ground was flat, and the weather was pleasant - all the ingredients for a nice, cosy campsite. I sat down for a while after I had strung up my Hennessy Hammock, and took in the sights and the sounds. It was warm despite the breeze that whistled by, leaving the branches swaying and the leaves rustling. The breeze also left ripples sliding across the river, patterns being cast to the symphony of the wind.

As the sun began to set and the shadows grew longer, the contrast of the white bark, the red cliffs and the bursts of green leaves began to fade. The tweets, chirps and squawks of the birds, an assortment of melodic tunes, seemed to intensify however, seemingly acknowledging the diminishing light of the sun. These sounds, together with the layers of movement - the immovable tree trunks with their swaying leaves; the still rocks surrounded by the unceasing ripples of the river - seemed to overwhelm my senses, yet somehow still managed to completely clear my mind.

It began to rain shortly after I lay down to sleep, the soothing pitter-patter of the rain drops hitting the tarp lulling me into a deep sleep...

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Next : Murchison River Gorge – Day 2 - Onwards

Murchison River Gorge Index