Members and supporters of local Landcare groups had a rare opportunity to visit the Muckleford Gorge on Sunday 15 May. The visit was scheduled as an activity of the Friends of the Box Ironbark Forests group (FOBIF). As a first-time visitor to this much-vaunted but somewhat secretive location, I was wondering if the Gorge would live up to expectations. I am happy to report that the Gorge was even more spectacular and stunning than anticipated, no doubt enhanced by the volume of water still flowing down its midst.
A large group of walkers assembled at the Point View property for a welcome by owner and sheep farmer Ian Garsed. Unfortunately, due to the vicissitudes of local football, Ian was unable to accompany us on the walk.
The first section of the walk was along the eastern ridge of the Gorge and then down the track to the river flats and The Palace, a favourite gathering place for the Garsed family. Down close to the creek the evidence of the January floods was still prominent in the fences, in the trees and along the creek bed.
After crossing the creek we climbed to the top of the western ridge, noticing the very different geological structure and vegetation. From the top of the ridge the volcanic structure of the eastern side of the Gorge was most evident.
From here the group descended to one of the most scenic sections of the Gorge featuring some impressive rock walls, significant trees and wonderful native grasses. There was still a steady flow of water through the Gorge but some of the pools afforded lovely reflections.
Further along the creek we discovered some interesting specimens of Dianellas along with a number of small ferns emerging from various rock formations.
On the eastern bank of the Gorge a number of large eucalypts were impressively intertwined with the surrounding rock formations. enabling them to cling to some precarious positions over the creek.
Climbing back out of the Gorge we passed some fine examples of sedimentary rock laid down in layers and uplifted by earth movements. These rock formations were home to an all together different range of plant life, principally fungi and mosses.
The group returned to the ford and The Palace for a debrief with Ian Garsed. A number of interesting aspects of the history and the usage of the Gorge were discussed. Finally the walkers climbed back up to the eastern plateau and the conclusion of the expedition.
Muckleford Gorge is a very special feature of our local landscape and one with high conservation values. The Gorge is currently under a Bush Tender conservation agreement between the landowner and DSE. This arrangement should ensure that the unique aspects of the Gorge will be maintained and enhanced for the foreseeable future. For this we should all be very grateful. And if you ever have an opportunity to visit Muckleford Gorge (with the active consent of the landowner, of course) don’t miss it!
Congratulations a on a superb posting Frank. The text and photos work together beautifully. The photos are an outstanding record of a special place in a special year.
Thank you very much for this wonderful description of your expedition to Muckleford Gorge. As someone who was so looking forward to going along but was prevented by illness at the last, you have made up for it in no small measure in both word and picture.