The Only Slightly Less Grand Canyon #2: An Armchair Hike

Prepare for an armchair hike. Here are the photos from our walk in the Blue Mountains last weekend:

At the start, the flora looks like this – eucalyptus forest with grevilleas, banksias etc – some blackened by bush fires:

Black, silver, green and grey

Then, as we followed the track down the steep sandstone sides of the Grand Canyon gorge –

Sandstone strata

and when I say steep, I mean it was all rough-cut steps

Steps down

– the flora rapidly changed from dry sclerophyll forest to dripping wet rainforest of enormous tree ferns and myriad different fungi: 

Bracket Fungus

Halfway down we stumbled across some work in progress:

Tree Ferns & Blocks

Which is undoubtedly timely – the almost constant stream of water run-off from higher up is visibly eroding the steps.

These stone blocks are apparently air-lifted in by helicopter and then manhandled into place by a race of giants (those large white bags contain their vegemite sandwiches).

Anyway, here’s some they made earlier – further down the track at a point where the path again crosses one of the streams which feeds the river at the bottom of the gorge:

Steps in Progress Step by Step

Shortly after this, the path disappeared into a tunnel:

Tunnel Mouth of Blackness

We emerged, several metres of blackness later, to this watery ghost:

Waterfall ghost

A little way further down and we were at the bottom of the gorge, which was all enormous tumbled rocks and rilling water:

Todd & Karen in the Gorge

There was a fair amount of scrambling and clambering inelegantly:

Clambering

And then a little light yodelling for the echo:

Malin Yodells for the Echo

We admired the rock forms shaped by millennia of moving water:

Turtle Gorge

and we spotted a few little yabbies:

Yabbie or Orange Crayfish

as well as some lovely abstract eddy patterns on the water’s surface in a quiet little side pool:

Water Patterns

Then we began the long climb back up and out of the canyon. I didn’t take any photos because I was too busy concentrating on breathing.

Oh, except for this one of an Eastern Spinebill, because he was new to me:

Eastern Spinebill 

However, when we reached the top and saw this, it was all worthwhile:

Evans Lookout2

Evans Lookout1

Thanks are due to the indefatigable Tim, who guided us with unfailing patience and good humour, even though he was missing Gabby very much (she is in Stockholm on a 3 month exchange program with our parent company – our lovely Swedish yodeller is the other half of the exchange).

Tim Rocks

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10 Responses to The Only Slightly Less Grand Canyon #2: An Armchair Hike

  1. piereth says:

    Gorgeous, my Woozle. Lucky girl you! xx

  2. modestypress says:

    Lovely. Made me feel there.

  3. woo says:

    Piereth – you’d have loved it.

    Mr Random – very glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  4. Wonderful photo essay. To mess up a Kristofferson line, “The going down was worth the going up”

  5. sledpress says:

    Is it OK if I steal the eddying pool and the rock forms for my desktop?

    I used to get to go on hikes in Virginia’s Blue Ridge when I was a sprout. I love the idea of moving through microclimates.

  6. azahar says:

    Whew, thanks for doing all that walking for me.

    Had a lovely time. 🙂

  7. woo says:

    archie – isn\’t it always? 😉

    Sledpress – absolutely, do. Yes, walks on Sunday afternoons are one of my more pleasant childhood/family memories, too.

    Azahar – my pleasure. Now sit down and put your feet up!

  8. Oh, very nice indeed. I can never do this type of hike because my balance is so screwed up, so I really envy you your vista at the top. I’d have fallen down those stairs in two seconds flat.

  9. I’d love to go hiking in the Blue Mountains. Thanks for taking us there by proxy.

  10. pandemonic says:

    The photos are great!

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