Karijini’s Spectacular Dales Gorge

Vehicle movement noise disturbed us about 6:45 the next morning so we ate a quick bowl of cereal and hitched up the caravan and drove into Dales Campground. As we turned in we could see a queue of about six or seven other rigs so we joined on the end. Just after 8:00 the first groups started going in as rigs came out. In the end we managed to get in and set up by just after 10:00. After changing we drove into the day parking area and set off down the metal steps towards Fortescue Falls.The last part of the descent was a bit of a rock staircase.At the base of the falls there was an excellent reflection pool.After taking some photos we headed further up the gorge to the Fern Pool.At first it was a peaceful place to wander around but not more than five minutes after our arrival a couple of large family groups arrived and the serenity was lost so we returned to Fortescue Falls on the track.From there we remained within the gorge and began to make our way along the track to the other end of the gorge.At times patches of water or small pools meant we did a bit of rock hopping.The deep blue reflection in the larger pools was just spectacular.By now the temperature was rising so the shady side gave us a bit of relief from the heatand we enjoyed the rock hopping over the stream that flowed through the gorge as the trail went from one side to the other.At one point there was evidence of a previous rockfall and some warning signs to stay on the path.The scenery continued to be rugged and beautiful whether we looked at the rocky outcropsor one of the many reflection pools.
As we came to the far end of the gorge the trail became a rocky staircase

eventually leading us to the Circular Pool.It was an idyllic spot for another reflection photo, although once some of the other visitors started diving into the pool you had to wait awhile for the pool to becalm itself. The way out involved backtracking for a bit along the same rocky path.A surprise encounter with this reasonably large bird left it scuttling off and us trying to take a quick photo so we could ask a ranger what it was later.After about ten minutes we came to the steep upward leading trail out of the gorge.By the time we reached the rim of the gorge we were certainly puffing but the view was worth it.To return to our vehicle we stayed on the rim walk trail which we had walked along the previous afternoon. Now the light (and temperature) were very different.As usual we were on the lookout for flowering plants like this oneand the pattern of the bark on this eucalyptus caught my attention.Finally we made it back to the other end of the gorge, high above Fortescue Falls, which was certainly busier than when we had begun our walk. From there we returned to our car and drove back to the caravan for a rest and lunch before our next walk. More about that in my next post.

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