Monday, 1 April 2013

Monga -Lowe and (nearly) High

I thought the time had come to use El Camion Real in the manner for which it was acquired so headed off towards Monga National Park and McRae's Road.  The obvious route is along the Kings Highway through Bungendore and Braidwood but I decided I would add in a diversion through Mongarlowe to check out Olga-and-the-goat and the Midge orchids.

It being a public holiday I was expecting that Mr Plod would be fairly evident and indeed the Eastern end of Bungendore was very well endowed with flashing lights on both sides of the road.  I wasn't stopped - which always annoys me when I am confident I will return a zero reading.  Heading along the road I was astonished at the amount of traffic coming the other way: some caravans were followed by >20 cars.

Me being me, I decided to assess the traffic flow and thus counted the cars coming towards me.  Over 10km (from about the Warri Bridge to 10km out of Braidwood) I crossed with 161 vehicles of which about 10% were towing something ('van, powerboat, trailer full of junk etc etc).  As I was sitting on 100kph the distance took me 6 minutes (0r 360 seconds) which gives an average gap of 2.2 seconds between vehicles!

On arriving in Mongarlowe I was pleased to see that the cemetery, while nicely tidy had not been mowed to bowling green standard this season.  (There was a notice on the signboard at the entrance to the village about an RFS training day next weekend so one shouldn't count one's chickens too quickly.)  There was no sign of an elderly lady nor her goat: another good sign.

After a brief search I found a patch of at least 50 Mongarlowe Midge Orchids (Corunastylis oligantha).  A few of them had run their dash but these were in very good condition.
 Note bonus beetle!

 Some greenhoods were getting a trifle tired and I am not game to speculate on which member of Diplodium they are!  Others have suggested D. truncatum, with which I would have some agreement.

 Eriochilus cucullatus (aka Parsons Bands) were still evident scattered through the cemetery.
 By the exit is a pine tree and as is often the case with pines, it had attracted a specimen of Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric).
Leaving the cemetery I took the direct route back to the highway, noting the good flow in the Mongarlowe River.
I then entered the area I was interested in.  As well as trying out the new truck I wanted to asses the area as a possible venue for an ANPS Wednesday Walk.The start of the road looked quite promising!
 After a kilometre it looked less promising!
 With a bit of work with my bow saw and some lugging I might have been able to shift this out of the way but a local resident was nearby exercising his kids and small dog and he suggested that the road became rather marginal for a trail bike further up.  I didn't want to tackle something like that at this stage of El Camion's career.  The local guy suggestd an alternative route would be to follow the Woodleigh Fire Trail which eventually joined in to the extension of McCraes Rd and was a lot less challenging.

The start of the trail was only a few 100m back so off I went.  On checking the map it seemed that Woodleigh went off the top and another track came back.  Let us see what happens.

The trail was in pretty good nick although I stopped to remove a few fallen branches from my path.  The perils of a new car!  The main "passability" issue is some rather high and very pointed erosion control banks built into the road.  They would certainly be a challenge for anything less than a Forester and I suspect they might ground out on a few of them.

The vegetation was lovely with lots of Banksia spinulosa in flower
 .. and many huge tree ferns.  There were some damp areas and lots of bone-fern clusters.  Here is a sample of a damp clearing.
At one point another track headed off, but I couldn't spot a name so kept on going.  After about another kilometre I arrived back at the Kings Highway, so I guess the track off was the one back to to McCraes Rd.  As I had been out for some time I decided not to explore it today but to go back sometime later: if it is passable I would make for a very enjoyable ANPS 4WD outing.

The Kings Highway was very busy.  About 8km out of Braidwood everything ground to a halt and it was stop-start all the way into that town.
The problem seemed to be simply the volume of traffic hitting the intersection on the edge of the town.  Once through there it was a rather pleasant drive listening to Margaret Throsby on ABC FM interviewing Michael Leunig (who was there to boost his latest book ).


Denis Wilson said...

Happy New Car, Martin. It will soon become an old car if you allow it to lead you into Fire Trails Un-named!
What about your speculantha?
Un-named Diplodiums ("diplodia"?) look like Little Dumpies (D. truncata).
Was the first one taller than a Little Dumpy? In which case assume Dipl. reflexum.
Glad Olga the Goat Lady and her Oligantha-munching Goat is not evident.
But RFS will fix up any damage she ought have wrought on the neglected Orchids. After all, if left to themselves, they will take over the Cemetery.

Flabmeister said...


That sort of thinking about the new car was very much in my mind as I carefully weaved my way over the bumps this morning.

I am unsure whether you are suggesting the orchids or the RFS will take over the cemetery. The orchids are probably more amenable to socialisation!


J Gray said...

Beautiful Orchid's - the banksia is also lovely.