Thursday, 22 May 2014

Sheer walls, sheer exhaustion - Dangars Gorge

It is in serious, hushed silence that we begin this challenging adventure. The dawn sky has turned dark with heavy clouds. We sneak over a fence and pick up a faint track that snakes its way down a gully towards the base of Dangars Falls. It's a wild little descent. The final third of the route is loose scree and dirt and steep. When we reach the bottom of the falls there are shattered rocks on the gorge floor and the signs and sounds of fresh rock slides are everywhere. But, the perspective is breathtaking. It's the sort of spot that makes you want to whisper. Which is not such a bad idea. The towering walls amplify every sound and as a tiny speck of person in the bottom of a big, moving landscape it is often best not to give voice to questions and doubt.

Friday, 9 May 2014

A freak of nature - Awabakal Nature Reserve, Newcastle

I don't know much about geology but I got a good lesson in wonder from this place.

The ongoing, and the visibly ancient, creation of land and rocks is on display along this small stretch of coast - seams of coal are exposed in the cliff faces, huge chunks of sandstone lie scattered like building blocks. The ocean is taking chunks of rock and earth when the swells are huge and driving. Landslips along the cliff face, especially after heavy rain, are sliding the bush into the sea. 

And beneath that dramatic backdrop is a littoral of rock platforms that have eroded into a beautiful mosaic of shapes and protrusions and grooves. These emerge at low tide and on calm days to make us question the randomness of nature.