Leader - Colin
Total Distance walked - 8.4k (Colin & Linda did another 2.0k)
Julie, Linda & Colin met along the Beaudesert Nerang Road, Helen Grahame, Phil, Lori and Paul met at the VIC, while Michele and Christine met at Beechmont before all made their way to Beaudesert for the final drive to the end of Christmas Creek road for the commencement of the walk to Westray’s Grave and then on to Larapinta Falls.
The first part of the walk involved getting across Christmas Creek from the eastern side as the track up to Westray’s Grave is on the western side. There is a huge log crossing the creek and a few of us used this route while the rest forged the creek downriver of the log as best they could.
The walk up to the grave site involves a lot of rock hopping and scrambling over fallen trees and tree roots and can be difficult and relatively slow. The track is not well defined and sometimes leads toward and along the creek and sometimes some distance away. Nevertheless the track did seem to be in better shape than when we were last here in October 2010.
We stopped for smoko at one of the many beautiful cascades. With all the rain of recent weeks and months there was much more water flowing in the creek which made for wonderful photo opportunities. The sound of the running creek which at times was a roar at some of the bigger waterfalls and cascades was truly awe inspiring. From about the halfway mark we noticed many more marks and signs to keep walkers headed in the right direction. There is also now a clearly defined marker pointing up to the crash site. As this was not our objective for the day we continued on to Westrays Grave a little further on.
We arrived at Westray’s Grave and took a group photo for posterity before settling down to lunch. We planned to have a quick lunch so that those who wished to continue on to Larapinta Falls would have maximum time to do so.
Most of the group wanted to continue up to Larapinta Falls while a few wished to wait at Westray’s Grave. Little did we know that getting across the creek again was going to be so arduous (what with the much greater flow of water than is usual). Linda and Colin were able to get across while the others walked up and down the creek looking for a way across.
In the end Linda and Colin were left on the other side and the rest decided that today was not a good day to attempt to get up to the falls. There is no defined track up to the falls and as the Christmas Creek gorge continually narrows the only way up is to rock hop up the creek bed and scramble along the sides, criss-crossing the creek many, many times. It was very slow going and requires some strength to continually pull and climb your way over rocks and fallen trees. While the distance from Westray’s Grave to Larapinta Falls is purportedly only another 1km, it seemed much longer as our progress was painfully slow. After bush-bashing for more than an hour we (Linda & Colin) decided to turn back as continuing on without regard to the people waiting back at Westray’s Grave would have been unfair. On return we found that some had decided to wait for us while others had returned to the cars. Because of the time we had spent trying to get up to the falls it was decided to dispense with our usual coffee and drinks at Beaudesert.
While the objective of geting up to Larapinta Falls was not achieved, the knowledge and experience gained by Linda and Colin did enable us to formulate a completely different strategy for tackling the unfinished business of getting there – Colin.