Thursday, May 14, 2015

Michelangelo & other caves and Flying Carpet, Gardens of Stone NP, NSW, Australia


2015 May: Explore areas west of Deanes Siding, Gardens of Stone National Park, NSW, Australia

Prolog - Michelangelo & other caves, and Flying Carpet

This is an All Nations Bushwalkers excursion to the west side of Deanes Siding in Gardens of Stone National Park. The trip consists of 3 parts:

Part 1:
  •  Look for Michael's Chair ... not sure if we've found it.
  •  Visit:
      - Michelangelo Cave
      - Rain Cave
      - Weather Cave
      - Mist Cave
      - Sand Cave
      - Shovel Cave

( If you like this type of caves, another interesting and nearby cave is Cathedral Cave - refer to my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/cathedral-cave-newnes-s-f-nsw-australia.html )

Part 2:
  •  Explore the east side of Gurgler Pass.

Part 3:
  •  Look down on the Flying Carpet.

The Flying Carpet is of particular interest to us, because a month ago we climbed up to its platform from below ... photos and a write up of that climb is in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/flying-carpet-gardens-of-stone-np-nsw.html
Now we just want to look down on it from the cliff tops   :-)

Our Group

There are six of us:
    - Charles
    - Freda
    - Liam
    - Nick
    - Saf
    - and me

We take two cars - Charles' and Freda's

Book

"The Gardens of Stone National Park and beyond.  Book 3"
By Michael Keats and Brian Fox
Publisher: Keats Holdings Pty Ltd
Released: April 2013

I don't have this book. But it would have some information about today's trip.

Maps

- 1:100,000 scaled 8931 Wallerawang
- 1:25,000 scaled 8931-3N Cullen Bullen

The below map is from top right hand quadrant of the Cullen Bullen map:
- Top half of the map:
  •  Blue circle is where we park our cars on the Newnes Plateau for Part 2 & 3 of today's trip.
  •  Red circle is the Flying Carpet.
  •  Green bar between the blue & red circles is Gurgler Pass.
- Bottom half of the map:
  •  Blue circle is where we park our cars for Part 1 of the trip.
  •  Red circle is Michelangelo Cave.
  •  Green arrow is where we climb up the cliff and return to our cars.


KML tracklog files & Routes

- Driving in: The KML tracklog file from Wentworth Falls to where we park our cars for Part 1 of our walk can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSU3VRb2MxYkdEWjA/view?usp=sharing

- The walks:
Part 1 - Visit Michelangelo & other caves:
The KML tracklog file can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSTnVTU3pIYmpEaWs/view?usp=sharing
(The exact position of the caves are marked by pins in the KML file.)

In summary:
•  Park cars at junction of Fire Trail No 7 and Glowworm Tunnel Road. (At 65 meters into the Fire Trail, there is a small clearing on the north side. We park the cars there.)
•  Walk to the end of Fire Trail No 7 and keep going until we come to the edge of the cliffs.
•  Explore along the top of the cliffs on the south side of the Fire Trail to look for Michael's Chair.
•  Turn around to the north side of the Fire Trail. Just below the cliff top, we visit:
      - Michelangelo Cave
      - Rain Cave
      - Weather Cave
      - Mist Cave
      - Sand Cave
      - Shovel Cave
•  Climb back up the cliff and return to our cars.

Parts 2 & 3 - Explore east side of Gurgler Pass. Look down on Flying Carpet.
The KML tracklog file can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSWWlyTkRCVXk4Zk0/view?usp=sharing

In summary - Part 2:
•  Park cars at the same spot as our previous trip to the Flying Carpet ... refer to:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/flying-carpet-gardens-of-stone-np-nsw.html
•  Explore plateau on east side of Gurgler Pass.
•  Return to our cars.

In summary - Part 3:
•  Explore plateau on west side of Gurgler Pass.
•  Look down on Flying Carpet from cliff tops.
•  Return to our cars.

Timeline & Distance

Part 1 - Visit Michelangelo & other caves:
10:24   0.0 km  Start walking
11:11   1.2 km  Finish exploring south side of Fire Trail No 7.  Turn around and head north.
11:50   1.8 km  At a rock sticking out like an island in the middle of scrubs

Morning Tea

12:05   1.8 km  Leave rock
12:25   2.1 km  At Michelangelo Cave

12:39   2.2 km  Leave Michelangelo Cave
12:48   2.3 km  At Rain Cave

12:58   2.4 km  Leave Rain Cave
13:00   2.5 km  At Weather Cave

13:01   2.5 km  Leave Weather Cave
13:02   2.6 km  At Mist Cave

13:02   2.6 km  Leave Mist Cave
13:29   3.1 km  At Sand Cave

Lunch

13:56   3.2 km  Leave Sand Cave
13:59   3.3 km  At Shovel Cave

14:04   3.4 km  Leave Shovel Cave
14:29   4.5 km  Back at the cars

Total:  4 hr 05 min;   4.5 km (Distance is from Google Earth)

Part 2 - Explore plateau on east side of Gurgler Pass:

14:48   0.0 km  Start walking
15:39   1.3 km  Back at our cars

Total:  51 min;   1.3 km (Distance is from Google Earth)

Part 3 - Look down on Flying Carpet:

15:43 :  0.0 km:  Start walking
16:20 :  1.6 km:  At cliff top above Flying Carpet

16:23 :  1.6 km:  Leave cliff top
16:26 :  1.6 km:  At another cliff top (slight north of previous one) to view Flying Carpet

16:27 :  1.6 km:  Leave cliff top
17:03 :  3.0 km:  Back at our cars

Total:  1 hr 20 min;   3.0 km (Distance is from Google Earth)

Pictures: Part 1 - Michelangelo & other caves

1)  15 minutes (1 km) after we started walking, we climb over this rock at the end of Fire Trail No 7.



2)  At the top of the rock of the previous pic
(Charles is at the left edge.)



3)  Spherules on top of the rock (and a few others too) ~~~
Does anyone know how are they formed ?



4)  Panoramic view from the top of the rock



5)  Zooming onto the left side of the previous pic ~~~
Saf is the guy in the pic on the right.



6)  We explore around, trying to find a rock formation called Michael's Chair. Not sure if it is this one. (Saf is the guy in the pic on the left.)



7)  In the Gardens of Stone National Park, there are many weathered rocks shaped like pagodas. Saf is on top of one of them.


Rock pagodas are rock formations consist of layers of soft sandstones, siltstones and shales with intervening resistant ironstone layers. The relatively easily weathered sandstone means weathering of the sandstone layers are at a different rate to the ironstone layers. (This process is called differential weathering.) The end result is what we see today - the beehive, dome, castellated and elaborate layered platforms of the rock pagodas.

More pictures of rock pagodas are in my blog to a lookout over Wolgan River ... click on:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/lookouts-over-wolgan-river-newnes-s-f.html


8)  Another rock pagoda



9)  (Photos courtesy of Saf)
We finish looking for Michael's Chair. Not sure whether we've found it. Now we are on our way to find the caves.



10)  Looking back at where we just came from.
The people in the photos are Charles & Freda (upper pic);   Nick (lower pic).



11)  Cliffs



12)  Cliffs



13)  We head for this rock sticking out like an island in the middle of the scrub. Nick is already there. The scrub is very thick and it is incredibly hard to bash through it.



14)  Finally, we reach the top, plus plenty of scratches on our limbs.
(Left to right: Freda, Nick, Saf)



15)  Now heading to Michelangelo Cave and passing by this tessellated terrace ~~~
At the bottom left corner, Charles is taking a photo of Nick.



16)  Looking back ... Nick is inching through the tessellated terrace. Further back is Freda & Saf.



17)  (Photo courtesy of Saf)
Michelangelo Cave ... Magnificent !!! ... The highlight of this trip !
(Left to right: Liam, Nick, me, with Freda on the right taking photos using my camera.)



18)  The floor of Michelangelo Cave is steep.
(Left to right: Liam, Charles, Nick)



19)  On our way to Rain Cave and passing another tessellated terrace
(Left to right: Charles, Saf)



20)  On our way to Rain Cave
(Freda is the lady in the pic.)



21)  Rain Cave
(Left to right: Saf, Nick, Freda, Liam)



22)  Left side and right side of Rain Cave
(The photo on the left is courtesy of Charles.)



23)  Weather Cave
(Left pic, left to right: Liam, Saf.   Right pic: Saf)



24)  Mist Cave ... a small one ~~~
After Michelangelo Cave, it is not surprising this one is a bit of an anticlimax   :-)



25)  Checking out a small cave
(Left to right: Freda, Nick)



26)  Sand Cave ... note the photo on the left ... this cave is a double-decker !!!
The small bright triangle in the pics on the right is reflection of sunlight from the uneven surface on the roof of the cave.
(The photo on the left is courtesy of Charles.)



27)  We have lunch in the Sand Cave.



28)  From inside the Sand Cave looking out ~~~
The carpet of small ferns makes this place like the proverbial Garden of Eden.
(Left to right: Saf, Freda)



29)  By the way, most of the time, we are bushbashing and rock scrambling, like in this pic.



30)  At Shovel Cave, the last of the caves we visited today.



31)  On our way back to the car, we pass by The Mouth Rock.


If you like this type of caves, another interesting and nearby cave is Cathedral Cave. Photos and write up on the cave is in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/cathedral-cave-newnes-s-f-nsw-australia.html


Part 2 - Explore the east side of Gurgler Pass

Park our cars at the spot where we parked them the last time we climbed up the Flying Carpet. Then off-track to the plateau on the east side of Gurgler Pass.

32)  Weathered rock formations and Liam



33)  Weathered rock formations and Charles & Freda



34)  Rock pagodas



35)  This large rock pagoda is interesting - a large block on top of a narrow neck



Part 3 - Look down on the Flying Carpet

From where our cars are parked, we go to the plateau on the west side of Gurgler Pass.

36)  Here is another weathered rock formation ... see also next pic.



37)  The same rock formation as the previous pic ... from different angles.



38)  Nick is on top of this weathered rock from which we'll get a glimpse of the Flying Carpet.



39)  The Flying Carpet, red arrows, as seen from where Nick was standing in the previous pic.
(The photo on the left is courtesy of Saf.)

The Flying Carpet is of particular interest to us because a month ago, we climbed up to its platform from below ... see my blog http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/flying-carpet-gardens-of-stone-np-nsw.html


40)  (Photo courtesy of Saf)
We want to get to where we can directly look down on the Flying Carpet.
- In this pic, the Carne Creek is below the cliffs on the right.
- Gurgler Pass is below the cliffs basking in the sunlight on the left.
- Earlier on, Photos #32 to #35, we were on top of the sunlit cliffs on the far side of Gurgler Pass.



41)  Liam is taking a photo.



42)  The red arrows point to the spots where we can look down at the top of the Flying Carpet - see Photo #44.



43)  From where Liam and Nick are, we can look down at the top of the Flying Carpet - see next pic.



44)  The triangle platform is the Flying Carpet.
(The photo on the left is courtesy of Charles.)

As mentioned already, the Flying Carpet is of particular interest to us ... Photos and a write up of our climb to the Flying Carpet platform is in my blog http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/flying-carpet-gardens-of-stone-np-nsw.html

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