Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Plan B

Mark placed the open map on the dashboard and he tried to raise my spirits by showing me that just to the east of the Grampians lay the Black Range State Park.  He then pulled out some information that he had printed off the internet.  The description of the Black Range claimed that the park was a relatively quiet and remote area.  The only problem we could foresee was that it was located on a reservoir, and during peak tourist season water usually means hoards of people.  However, we also knew from experience that just because a map indicates a lake or a reservoir it doesn't always mean there is water especially in this part of the country where, after nearly a decade of droughts, many large bodies of water have decreased in size and in many cases become non-existent.  
We decided to give Black Range State Park a chance and took the 40 minute drive to the south-east.  The park boasts six camping areas, and we picked the one without facilities--we figured this would mean fewer people.  Our map indicated that we were to turn off of the North Grampians Highway onto Brooks Road.  Good thing we had a map, since there was nothing indicating that there was a campground at the end of the track.  We were a bit concerned by the lack of signage, but it was obvious that the dirt road had recently been used.  Ten minutes down the road we found an open bush camping area.  A sign indicated that we could camp wherever, as long as we stayed 10 meters above the water line.  Not that we had to worry about that since, as we had predicted, the reservoir was dry.  To my relief the entire area was vacant and we had found the solitude that we longed for.  Now the only question was, would it remain this way?  It was only 11:00 in the morning and the "campground" could easily fill up as the day progressed.  However, the area was large, and even if the crowds arrived, it would be easy to find a quiet corner.  Rather than setting up camp, we decided that we would go and hike just down the road and find the perfect spot when we returned.  That way we would be sure not to have any immediate neighbors.

Dry Reservoir

Five hours later when we returned we found the campground as empty as when we had left it.  That night a near full moon served as our nightlight and a few grazing kangaroos were our only companions.

Solitary Bush Campground

Early the next morning, just before the sun peeked over the horizon, we were awakened by a cacophony of sound.  With over 100 bird species recorded in the park the variety of chirps, cries, hoots, laughs, peeps, shrieks, trills, tweets, warbles, and whistles was amazing.  The symphony that came from the tree to canopy was unlike anything I have ever heard.  I couldn't help but wonder if it was this music that kept the early explorers marching as they pressed on looking for that great inland sea.  Did they believe that for there to be so much life there had to be a huge source of water?  Or was there the disbelief that brightly colored, exotic parrots, rosellas, lorikeets, and cockatoos could not exist in a desert, that there had to be something else? We considered that, perhaps, instead of the songs of the wild giving them hope--the laugh of the kookaburra that drove them mad?

Over breakfast, we decided that we had discovered a mini-bush paradise and that we would use our current location to continue to explore the area.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Maya, fun post. I'm glad plan B worked out great. I enjoyed reading about your discovery and your photos. The photos of the different birds that live there are really amazing and so varied.

    Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great day.