Saturday, February 8, 2014

Barron Gorge

There is very good river height data available for many of Queensland's rivers on-line, and I had been watching the height of the Barron River at Myola and downstream of Barron Falls at Lake Placid for the best time to revisit Barron Falls. The last time we walked down the board-walk to the lookout was on Boxing Day after we had stayed at Davies Creek National Park on Christmas night, just before my aborted attempt to walk back to Cairns via Saddle Mountain. On that occasion the falls were thin as we had little recent rain. 

 Barron Falls today

Over the last week, as I wrote about here, we have had lots of rain and the river had risen about 1.5 metres in the last few days. Sunday morning, we were out of the house early with a travel mug of coffee (Bulletproof for Doug) on our way up to Kuranda. I thought it might be busy up on the Tableland, and especially at Barron Falls with all the recent rain and wanted to avoid any crowds. A Sunday drive up to Kuranda seems very popular with Cairns locals. I suspect the gluten shops selling pies, pastries, muffins, cakes and other toxins do a good trade on the weekend pumping up the already high level of insulin resistance, overflowing wheat bellies and man-boobs. 

 Lower Barron Gorge

Barron Falls was impressive with big flows of muddy brown water pushing up steaming clouds of mist into the air that recirculated back over the upper river. After visiting the Falls, we went into Kuranda and walked as far along the river trail as high water would permit. Driving back down to Cairns, a steady stream of vehicles were coming up the Kennedy Highway.

 Surprise Falls

We detoured up to lower Barron Gorge above Lake Placid. I have been up this road a couple of times on the bike looking for climbing areas (go here and here). On those occasions the river was a series of small streams and larger pools, delightful for swimming in before cycling home. Today, it was a big torrent of muddy brown water. All the rock ledges I had hopped down before were inundated. Surprise Falls was also running with more water than in the past. The road was very busy with walkers, cyclists and runners (all either carrying too much fat or too little muscle. Why do people think running is a healthy activity?). 

 Tower below Barron Falls

The day was looking promising for an afternoon bouldering session as we had only a little spit of rain the whole time we were out. However, not long after we got home, it began to rain again. I went down to the local school and did some all-out Tabata sprints and played about on the monkey bars instead. Right now, the marine forecast is looking good for our planned kayak paddle/sail north to Port Douglas on Tuesday, but we have had promising wind forecasts before that have eddied away as the day approached. 

 Fun for the whitewater paddlers

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