Monday, 9th June, 2014.
Cania Gorge contains a variety of beautifully constructed and maintained walking tracks, and I was lucky enough to be able to do a few of them. I had a four-hour window of walking time, so really pushed myself to fit in as many as I could. I was thankful that I had been doing some “stair training” at our fifth-floor apartment, but my legs still felt a bit rubbery at the end of it.
Every now and then, the characteristic limestone ridges of Cania Gorge would pop into view.
This large brown image of a four-toed foot on the white sandstone cliff is called Big Foot and is an iconic feature of Cania Gorge. I think someone has tried to sketch in a big toe to complete the foot.
My next walk was to Giant’s Chair Lookout. When you set out for any destination that includes the word “lookout”, it’s generally safe to assume that there will be a lot of uphill walking. There was. All of it. The track was very well constructed, with a lot of striking rock formations along the way.
Some of the bush along this track had been burnt, so the air was filled with the aromatic smell of burning gum leaves. It was one of those “good to be alive” days.
Finally, feeling quite hot by now, I reached the Giant’s Chair, and the lookout over the valley below.
A cheeky sapling and a grass tree seem to have grown up on the giant’s chair since last he sat on it. This lookout was part of a three hour circuit. As I didn’t have time to complete it, I turned back - much easier going down the hill! At the base of the hill, I headed along a flat track for about a kilometre to the next walk.
Once upon a time, there was a tree who fell in love with a rock …..
Interesting flora along the way.
Now I had begun the Two Storey Cave Circuit. This track “meanders upwards around isolated sandstone monoliths.” Don’t be fooled by the brochure’s cunning use of the deceptively languid word “meanders”. “Upwards” is the word to note here.
However, the “sandstone monoliths” were very impressive:
Now I had arrived at the Two Storey Cave. This is the lower cave.
Climbing in to the lower cave, I hauled myself up to the upper cave, which is supposed to be the home of a colony of insectivorous bentwing bats. However, either the bats were all out, or I had the wrong cave (hard to believe, as there was a sign right outside) as there wasn’t a bat in sight, or even any evidence that any bats had been there. So that was a bit of a mystery.
I then scrambled back down the hill, crossed the road and set off on the next walk to Dripping Rock and The Overhang.
Quite early in the walk, I crossed Three Moon Creek (but not by this bridge!) You can see that the huge floods of January 2013 have pushed the concrete support for this bridge over by 45 degrees.
The story about the naming of Three Moon Creek is that a traveller was filling his billy from the creek at night. He saw one reflection of the moon in his billy and one in the creek, then looked up and saw the moon in the sky.
All along the creek could be seen evidence of this terrible January 2013 flood:
Here, you can see a heavy log wedged high in a tree.
The walks I had done up until now were all hillside walks, in open country. This walk was down in a valley beside the creek, although there were still a lot of ups and downs to test the legs.
Often, there was lush maidenhair growing either side of the track – far more prolific than any I had ever been able to grow in a pot.
Every now and then, there would still be glimpses of the rich red Cania Gorge sandstone.
Finally, after quite a few more ups and downs, here was Dripping Rock. And yes, it was dripping.
I continued on past more stunning sandstone.
I have read that there is some Aboriginal art in Cania Gorge, but that it is not accessible to the public. I have a feeling that these handprints, right beside a public walking track, are not the genuine article!
The Overhang was my final destination. It is described as a feature where water has eroded the base of the sandstone cliff.
This sandstone rock, just behind the sign, certainly looked as though it had been eroded by water, but I felt was quite an average looking rock compared with many of the spectacular formations I had already passed along the way.
For example, just before “The Overhang” was this massive perpendicular rock so straight it looked as though it had been man made. Steps had been constructed beside it, leading down to “The Overhang.” Notice the staghorns growing out of the top of it.
There was another similar formation on top of it.
Here is another shot of it, this time looking up the steps.
As far as overhangs go, I thought this one looked pretty amazing,
Here’s a close-up of the overhanging bit, covered with ferns.
Anyway, I wasn’t going to quibble over the naming of rocks. I felt very lucky to have been able to do the walks, and I still had to return to the carpark where Doug was kindly going to pick me up. When I returned, I had been walking solidly, at a cracking pace (for me) for three and a half hours, and my legs felt like jelly. However, I felt quite exhilarated at what I had been able to see and do.