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13 The View From Above

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

On a bright sunny day the views from our cabin on the High Roller Observation Wheel were exceptional. At a height of 550 feet, we saw past the glitz and glamour of the famous Las Vegas Strip to the city and mountains beyond.

12 NYE in Vegas

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

The countdown began! As the clock struck midnight a glittering display of fireworks lit up the sky over Las Vegas. 

Thankfully we had no inkling of what was to come in 2020 so our exuberant spirits weren’t dampened that night. 

Also linking to Jude’s Life in Colour Photo Challenge – Pink

11 Dancing Fountains

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

There was a sense of anticipation in the crowd gathered around the lake in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. 

Suddenly the darkened water came alive as more than 1,000 illuminated fountains began to dance to Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. 

The patience of those who’d been waiting was well-rewarded by this dazzling spectacle of movement, music and light. 

4 Shadows on the Beach

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

We went for an afternoon walk with Marsha and Vince, right along Avila Beach to the pier which stretches 514 metres out into San Luis Bay. 

As the winter sun set beyond Point San Luis, its glowing rays cast long shadows across the sand. 

3 Sunset at Smugglers Cave

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

We joined other tourists at Smugglers Cave, near Avila Beach on the Central California Coast, to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Viewed from inside the darkened cave the radiant evening light created a perfect silhouette.

1 Welcome to LA!

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Our first view of the United States of America was from our airport hotel. A crisp winter sunset made a pretty pastel backdrop as the shining lights of LAX turned on.

This vista might not seem very exciting but, after a 14 hour flight and two hours in queues at customs, it was a very welcome sight.

The Last Walk

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020

There’s one track left to explore before we end our visit to Carnarvon Gorge and, of all the walks we do, it turns out to be the most adventurous.

The Mickey Creek walk begins inside the park, just before the Visitor Centre. Although the sign says it’s only 1.5 km everyone tells us the same thing. “Go beyond the end of the track.” As we set off, we’re not sure what to expect. 

At first the level path leads through the bush, following the course of the creek. As always, the sandstone cliffs of the gorge rise up in the distance.

It’s not long before the track narrows and becomes steeper, at times climbing up the creek bank and then crossing to the other side. 

We reach a fork in the track and decide to continue on to Mickey Creek Gorge, leaving Warrumbah Creek Gorge for later in the day. 

And then the mystery is revealed. The formed track comes to an end but there’s a well-worn path beyond it, following the creek further into the bush. Of course we go on, rock-hopping along the dry creek bed. 

The gorge becomes more pronounced; the sides are steeper, the path is narrower and daylight recedes as the walls close in. 

We reach our limit before we reach the end of the gorge. We can see up ahead where the walls meet, but the smooth stone has no footholds to climb up.

We retrace our steps back to the Warrumbah Creek Gorge track. Here the creek is flowing and the path goes alongside until it too comes to an end.

This time the way ahead is not so clear but there’s only one direction we can go, so we continue deeper into the gorge, past tree ferns and moss-covered boulders.

In Warrumbah Creek Gorge the rock walls close in much sooner. A fallen tree, long ago washed downstream, makes a handy bridge and where the stony ledges are narrow we take our time, carefully considering our next step. 

Unlike Mickey Creek Gorge, we do reach the end of Warrumbah Creek Gorge – it’s so narrow we can reach out to both sides. 

With so much incredible scenery, all the walks at Carnarvon Gorge have been amazing. This final walk has completed our week in the most spectacular way. 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

All The Way To The End

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020

The main track at Carnarvon Gorge is 9.7 kilometres one way. With several sets of steps, many creek crossings and some gradual inclines, the track is classed as Grade 3/4 and is suitable for bushwalkers with some experience. Nine side tracks off the main track lead to the scenic wonders of the gorge. Big Bend campground is the last destination on the main track.

So far, we’ve walked 12.58 km from the Visitor Centre and visited six of the nine highlights of Carnarvon Gorge. It’s another 4.5km to Cathedral Cave, Boowinda Gorge and Big Bend. Who’s up for that? Not you? Me neither! The main track is one way and we still have to go back the way we came. 

Glen and our friend Jock decide one day they’ll walk the whole 9.7km to Big Bend. They don’t need to stop at all the places we’ve already seen, so they should be there before it gets too hot. Let’s go with them. Pack your lunch, fill your water bottle and strap on your back pack. It’s going to be a long day.

We set off on the main track, go past the all the side tracks and continue beyond the Art Gallery, crossing the creek several more times. The sandstone cliffs of the gorge tower over us on either side of the path.

Don’t forget the restroom I told you about near the Moss Garden. It’s the only one between the Visitor Centre and Big Bend, so remember to take advantage of it on the way. 

After walking 9.1 km we finally arrive at Cathedral Cave. Like the Art Gallery, ancient indigenous rock art has been preserved on the walls of the huge cave. The vast sandstone overhang, eroded by wind and water, provided shelter from the weather for the local indigenous people who used the area as a campground. 

The artworks here depict their hunter/gatherer way of life. Many images are thousands of years old, while more recent ones were created just over 200 years ago and record the local people’s first contact with Europeans. 

The next stop on our walk is Boowinda Gorge, another 80 metres further along the track. Here the sandstone walls close in. The smooth curves in the stone have been formed over millions of years by water rushing through during flash floods. 

Finally we arrive at Big Bend where there are campsites, toilets and picnic areas. Let’s rest a while in the shade beside the creek and enjoy our lunch.  

Don’t get too comfortable though. Unlike other walkers who have set up their tents, we didn’t bring our camping gear. Soon we’ll need to walk another 9.7 km, all the way back.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Story Tellers

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020

The main track at Carnarvon Gorge is 9.7 kilometres one way. With several sets of steps, many creek crossings and some gradual inclines, the track is classed as Grade 3/4 and is suitable for bushwalkers with some experience. Nine side tracks off the main track lead to the scenic wonders of the gorge. The walk to the Art Gallery begins 5.1 kilometres from the Visitor Centre.

The Art Gallery at Carnarvon Gorge is not your usual gallery. It’s located in the middle of the bush, the work on display is more than 3,500 years old and some of the techniques used to create the images are unique to this area. Its location high on a sandstone wall means it’s an uphill walk, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

The track is just 340 metres and most of the way the incline is gradual. There’s no need to rush – go slowly and enjoy the spectacular scenery. 

As the track becomes steeper, the sense that something special lies ahead grows stronger. Roughly hewn steps lead up between huge slabs of rock towards the entrance to the gallery.

The Art Gallery is a collection of more than 2,000 images crafted on the stone by the indigenous Bidjara and Karingbal people. Stencils, paintings and engravings depict tools, animal tracks and the hands and feet of people from long ago. The gallery is viewed from a 62 metre long boardwalk, giving visitors the ability to see the ancient works close up, without causing damage. 

The people who lived here told stories through these images, recording their connection to country, their way of life and their spiritual beliefs. Their works have survived for more than 3,500 years and their stories are still being told. 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

On the Inside

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020

The main track at Carnarvon Gorge is 9.7 kilometres one way. With several sets of steps, many creek crossings and some gradual inclines, the track is classed as Grade 3/4 and is suitable for bushwalkers with some experience. Nine side tracks off the main track lead to the scenic wonders of the gorge. The walk to the Amphitheatre begins 3.7 kilometres from the Visitor Centre.

When ancient Romans attended an event at an amphitheatre 2000 years ago, they expected to see an awesome spectacle. You don’t have to be a time traveller to copy them – there’s an amphitheatre at Carnarvon Gorge.

Unlike the Romans you won’t be walking on cobblestone streets to get to the Amphitheatre. Turn off the main track and follow the sandy path for 630 metres through the bush, over the creek and up the steps. You’re heading towards the massive sandstone cliffs of the gorge and, if you look carefully, you might glimpse through the trees a mysterious opening in the rock.

The mystery deepens when you arrive in the clearing at the base of the cliffs. That opening is the mouth of a slot canyon high in the stone, reached by a steep staircase. Stop on the last landing and look back at the gorge before you enter the narrow crevice in the rock.

Daylight doesn’t go far into the canyon. It’s cool and dim in the centre but there’s sunshine up ahead. 

You may not have time travelled through the stone but, when you step out of the canyon back into daylight, it feels like you’ve entered an alternate world. The Amphitheatre is a 60 metre deep hole in the sandstone, its sheer sides almost meeting at the top. 

Like all the formations in the gorge, the Amphitheatre is a result of the power of moving water, which has carved and shaped the sandstone over thousands of years.

Sunlight streaming in through the natural aperture above highlights the colours and shapes in the stone. In some places the walls of the Amphitheatre are worn smooth while elsewhere the stone is jagged and ridged. Hollows and ledges are filled with small pebbles. Ferns and mosses grow on the sandy floor, flourishing in this sheltered location. 

Just like those ancient Romans you can sit for a while in this amphitheatre, taking in the awesome spectacle around you.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks