The weather held; we even had blue sky on a wonderful walk to Sandy Creek Falls. About 50 people joined in as we walked in virtual silence along a track that took us north off the Barjarg Rd and down a dry, northerly spur of open forest. It was steep in places, but still fairly easy walking. Occasional boulder-outcrops, plenty of fallen timber and an understory of ferns, low shrubs, lillies and tussock grasses met us as we descended 150 m in altitude, to the valley-bottom.
Sandy Creek drains the highest peaks of the Strathbogie Granite Massif, before winding its way down to the northern end of Lake Nillahcootie.
Here are a few pics of the walk down to the falls:
The walk begins.
We gather to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of this land, the Taungurung people, before descending into the valley.
Recent rain left some standing water, but the track was fine.
Heading down the spur – in complete silence.
The falls from a distance.
Huge, moss-covered boulders flank the cascade.
A large boulder-heap marked the bottom of the spur and overlooked the confluence of two tributaries of Sandy Creek.
The view upsteam to the falls
A Sandy Creek waterhole; judging by the hoof-prints, a favorite haunt of deer.
Sandy Creek and not a blackberry in sight.
The boulder-heap from below.
Rock overhang at the base of the boulder-heap.
Crystal clear water flowing over a sandy bed.
And some of the plants and fungi that flourish in this narrow, hidden valley:
This is most likely the liver-like Beef-steak Bracket Fungus (Fistulina hepatica)
A carpet of two types of moss, probably Breutelia affinis & Dawsonia longiseta
A large, solid mushroom of the genus Amanita (maybe ?ochrophylla)
A mycorrhizal fungus, Vermilion Grissette (Amanita ?xanthocephala)
The handsome Austral King-fern (Todea barbara)
One fungus devouring another.
A solid mat of NecklaceFern (Asplenium flabellifolium) in the shade of a rock.
One of the many wood-digesting fungi, the Rainbow Bracket Fungus (Trametes versicolor)
The small Sickle Fern (Pellaea falcata) growing in a bed of moss.
The small Saffron Parasol (Cystoderma amianthinum), growing in a moss-bed. It also occurs in Europe and N. America.
A flowering Variable Groundsel (Senecio pinnatifolius).
Variable Groundsel growing on top of the boulder-heap, with a different ‘fireweed’ behind.
Thistles, including Variegated Thistles (Silybum marianum)
Tree Lomatia (Lomatia fraseri) and Soft Tree-fern (Dicksonia antarctica) in Sandy Creek gully.
Happy to improve ID’s if I’ve made mistakes – let me know.
Thanks to Sim, for organizing this great walk. It was good to see familiar faces and new. The walk is part of a program of discovery being run by the Strathbogie Sustainable Forests Group, to show people what we still have here in these ranges and what’s at risk if industrial logging, wood-chipping and firewood harvesting get a foot-hold in these forests.