Murchison River Gorge - Day 2

Murchison River Gorge Index

The Gorge

It must have rained throughout the night as the air felt moisture-laden as we packed up camp that morning. After a while, the sun peaked out from the clouds and the warm rays seemed to sweep away any residue of the lingering morning dew that was left. It didn't take long for the remaining clouds to dissipate, leaving a clear azure sky in their wake, perfectly reflected in the mirror-like water of the still river.

We set off at 08:20, continuing northwards on our way along the riverbank. Not too soon after, I noticed a bevy of black swans (Cygnus atratus) floating silently on the river keeping a close eye on us as we passed by. The bands in the rock seemed to have gotten more pronounced here - black, grey, orange, red, and brown fissures tracing elaborate patterns both in the rockface and on the ground, the latter mixed with patches of earth and the occasional tracks of feral goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) and dogs (Canis lupus familiaris).

After passing a gauge station (with winches and load bearers) of some sort at the 1.87 km mark, fields of boulders began to materialise ahead of us. There was plenty of boulder hopping from then on, being the most efficient way to navigate through the maze of immovable, ageless rocks. The cliffs seemed to have a life of their own - receding and reappearing on our right, then disappearing once again before reappearing across the river on our left - it seemed almost coy-like, the cliffs were curious about us but too shy to come over to shake our hands.

I found myself constantly being left spellbound by the layers and layers, the patterns, all the cracks and the fissures, all of which indicated the unbelievable age of the earth - the huge timescales involved to always remain unfathomable to creatures such as us who's existence occupies just a tiny, insignificant blip in time.

After walking for approximately 5 km, we decided to stop by some pools of water to replenish our supply. The water was clear and (as expected) had a briny tang to it. To my surprise however, it wasn't too unpleasant to drink. The pools did have green algae lining the rocks though, so all of us made sure to treat the water prior to consumption (using the Sawyer Mini Water Filter and the Adventurer Opti Water Purifier) in order to minimise the chances of any ill-effects - think deadly Cyanobacteria (Phylum: Cyanobacteria)!

Next : Murchison River Gorge – Day 2 - Onwards (Part 2)

Murchison River Gorge Index