Kennedy Ranges WA - Honeycomb & Draper's Gorge, culinary delights & bloody goats!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 00:00

Mick O

Wednesday 24th May
Kennedy Ranges National Park

It rained during the night but not overly much. The wood was dry enough to get the fire started. I had heard John Walking through camp at about 7.00 a.m. and deliberately stayed in bed hoping he’d light it. My faithwas not misplaced. The four of us had a lovely leisurely cook-up on the BBQ plate. Tomato’s, eggs and bacon with toast and a cup of tea or three. A bloody fantastic bush breakfast.

After a bit of camp tidying, we decide that a stroll through Honeycomb Gorge would be the order of the day. The gorge car park is only two km or so from the main area and it was a short walk into the gorge along a wide rocky creek bed. One side of the gorge has impressive, sheer sandstone walls that lead you into the gorges end where you find a large rock pool with a (dry) waterfall above it. Wind and water falling over the millennia has carved the most incredible and intricate patterns into the soft sandstones. At times they almost look like the three dimensional reliefs carved into oriental camphor wood chests, or the worn eroded carvings on eastern and crusader castles of the Middle East. You could stare at the various patterns for hours and never lose interest.

I climbed a bit higher along the north-eastern wall of the gorge and found rough chiselled etchings on large slabs of stone sheltered in the lee of the cliffs. These were not marked as a highlight so I was quite chuffed to find them. Again the varied colours of the rocks were a surprise. The lowest, deepest layers were of soft pink and red sandstones that you could rub into with your fingers.

Drapers gorge was another kettle of fish entirely. It was a 2 km trek in through a narrow and winding gorge past a series of seasonal waterfalls and rock pools. At each pool you had to then scramble up escarpment slopes and across rock ledges to get to the creek bed above the falls and continue on. John, Julie and Amanda fell victim to the tough going at the second waterfall but I was determined to continue up the watercourse to the final pool. The third rock hole was a delightful clear rock hole with a large wild fig shading it. If it had been as hot as the previous day, I’d have been swimming in it for sure. The cliffs surrounding the final rock hole sloped back inwards some degree and as a result water had to drop about 25 metres into the pool. It would have been quite a sight with water flowing over it.

On returning to the campground, Amanda prepared a lunch of smoked salmon, Spanish onion, lettuce and mayo on crackers. It was very nice indeed. The strenuous activity led me to take a short nana nap in the afternoon. I was awoken by the bleating of goats. That is one thing that has amazed us in the number of goats living within the gorges of the range. It is not uncommon to see groups of 10 to 20 animals grazing the escarpment slopes. We are woken each morning by one animal in particular, black in colour who will not leave the vicinity of caves at the entrance to Drapers Gorge. Despite being several kilometres distant, the bleating carries well across the flat hinterland to us. My world for a high-powered rifle!

Mr Genny man got it going again at 4.00 p.m. What is the bloke’s story? Like everyone else he could have run it till his hearts content all day and then left us to enjoy the serenity of the evening and sunset. Oh no, not this whanker. Thankfully a few well placed complaints to our camp hosts by all other campers had it turned off by 5.00 p.m. so we got to enjoy the evening. The overcast sky gave occasional breaks so that the promontories of rocks would suddenly be brilliantly illuminated from their surrounding buttresses, even if only temporarily.

We had a lovely BBQ dinner with Julie and John. I’d cored out some spuds and stuffed them with garlic butter. Foil wrapped they were roasted in the coals together with some kumara. Steak and sausages char grilled asparagus, and a fine bottle of red by the fire. Don’t you love roughing it. We were joined again around the fire later by our camp hosts Richard and Margaret and some other campers. Met Duncan and his wife Kerry and a few others.

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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