Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, January 16, 2012

A walk (climb) down to Fairy Bower

Regular readers will recall that I had a Hip Replacement Operation on 1 December 2011 (I am indebted to Greg for pointing out that I originally wrote 2012) Silly me - the Hip was not installed by Dr Who!

Yesterday I celebrated by walking 1.2 Km (horizontal distance) and 180 metres vertically (altitude) to go 600 metres from the Fairy Bower car park to the top of the Falls, and a further 600 metres, to negotiate the seriously steep access track to the bottom of the Fairy Bower falls. This is part of the Morton National Park, accessed via Bundanoon, NSW. 

Of course, I had to do this both down and up (the distances and height of the climb therefore has to be doubled). My hip came through fine (remarkably well, in fact) but my thigh muscles are sore from the unfamiliar exertion. But rest and good a soak in an Epsom Salts bath will help ease that.

There were two well placed chairs on the way up. I was not too proud to take a "Nanna rest". I needed it, and was glad that NPWS had bothered to position these seats in strategic rest points.

If you have "Google Earth", try opening this "Placemark" link to Fairy Bower Falls, Morton National Park, Bundanoon, NSW.

My trusty walking stick proved invaluable, especially on the old, steep and slippery old cut rock steps.
I am often amazed at the human effort which is evident in these tracks and steps being sometimes cut into the rock faces, and in other cases, cut rocks being positioned as steps sitting in place, often dug into sandy soil, or deep leaf litter, on 45 degree slopes. No photos of these were taken, as I was too tired and too busy hanging on, as I stepped carefully down or climbed back up.

The more modern style of pressed metal platforms, are wonderful, but presumably they are massively expensive, as sometimes they must be lifted into place by helicopters. All credit to the engineers of the NPWS and to the pilots, for that work.

While there is a track which take you to the bottom, there is no way I was going that far.
Bottom of the falls will do thanks.
View across the Bundanoon Creek valley (and a glimpse of the ravine at the bottom)

Looking up to Fairy Bower Falls - top section.
Fairy Bower Falls - lower section
On the way back up to the top I decided to take a few images (to give me a reason to rest), and to enjoy the beauty of the Fairy Bower walk.

One of the metal walkways below a sheer rock wall.
 From one of the steel walkways I was able to get this view up a wall of rock, covered with these amazing orange crustose lichens. I have seen them before, but never as fine a display as this. The site was a sheltered angle of the rock face, seldom in full sunlight. And obviously, it is in a moist gully, with high rainfall.
Wonderful red crustose lichens on sheltered side of sandstone rocks

Female Lyrebird seen track near the Fairy Bower car park

Cropped view of female Lyrebird.

A wonderful rock beside the Fairy Bower track back to the carpark
My friend and fellow Orchid enthusiast Alan Stephenson was with myself and some others on the trek to the bottom of the Fairy Bower Falls. Alan has shared with me several photos which I meant to take - but was too nervous (on the way down), and too tired on the way back up.

Above the Fairy Bower Falls, the track takes you over the tiny creek. Obviously there is a local tradition of making tiny little "water wheels" using sticks and stiff leaves. These have been positioned into little groves cut in the rock, in a "water race" which has apparently also been cut into the rock, to provide a steadily flowing stream of water, even at times of low flow in the creek. It works just fine.

I was really captured by the thought that this is a local tradition to manufacture these little "engines" (as "toys"). They are doing no "work", other than spinning round, to amuse us. But what a simple demonstration of how a water wheel can work.
Three natural "water wheels" made with sticks and leaves.

You can see the grooves where more of these "toys" have been placed before.
Alan, being Alan, also sent me a few images of Chiloglottis seminuda which he found on part of the walk which I bailed out from doing. A nice specimen too, although I am surprised that it was growing in such a wet forest.
Chiloglottis seminuda - photo courtesy of Alan Stephenson
I am hardly going to claim to be a "bushwalker", but I have been bragging about this walk all day. No only was the "achievement" very satisfying, the location was great, and a wonderful bit of wet forest under the falls, and nice sandstone forest above.


Brigid O'Carroll Walsh said...

This is great news of your mobility, Denis and the pictures are wonderful. What a beautiful place.

Blessings and bliss

Mac_fromAustralia said...

Well done Dennis! (Now you're making me feel even more slothful.) Great photos. I love the red lichen (I thought you had to go all the way to Tassie to see something like that) and the waterwheels.
Btw I just saw your albino magpie photo on the Canberra Times website.

Flabmeister said...

Indeed excellent news. I hope you're not too stiff today! The verification word for this comment is 'listsor' which sounds unpromising!


Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Brigid, Mac and Martin for your comments.
Yes it is a lovely place. I had not imagined that I would be able to make that full trip, but I did.
Martin. "thighsore" would have been fitting as the Verification word.

Snail said...

What a beautiful spot. Love those water wheels. Are they pandanus leaves?

Btw, it sounds as if your hip was replaced by one from the Bionic Man!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Bronwen.
Pandanus? You have been living in the tropics too long.
Not sure, but most likely Swordgrass leaves, cut short. The wooden sticks were carefully cut through, to allow the leaves to be poked through.
Very neat trick.
My friends tell me I ought not have "bragged" about the walk, prior to going back to the specialist, for a "review".