Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Royal Arch Bluffs
Here is what the outside of some of the Chillagoe caves looks like. These are the Royal Arch cave bluffs. They are made mostly of basalt and there's about 1.5kms (.93206 miles) of cave under them. The peaks are weathered by the wind and rain into sharp, knife-like ridges.
When the place was not a national park (about 35 years ago) I actually climbed on top of these things in ordinary sneakers. They don't let you do that sort of thing now without proper training and permission. Still people get injured up there. One young Uni student fell and cut herself so badly recently that they had to helicopter her out of there. It took four hours to organise her rescue.
Wherever you see a tree on top of the bluffs usually means there's a daylight hole in the caves. That's the only place enough soil might form to support a tree. I remember climbing up the roots of a tree from inside a cave to get to the top and walk on the knife ridges. There was a beautiful little cave up there, full of glistening stalactites and stalagmites. We didn't touch anything in it. It was so fragile.
I'll show you some of what's inside the caves tomorrow :-)