2012 - Jatbula Trail - Day 3 - Crystal Falls to 17 Mile Falls
We had another early start to the day leaving camp by 8am, and once again the last to leave camp. was an 8km day with a stop off at the Amphitheater which contained a spectacular collection of rock art depicting "fertility" images. Along the way Chis stopped to look over the edge of a ridge whilst the rest of the party kept moving on. Un-beknown to Chis the rest of the group decide a bit further on to have a look over the ridge - Chis thinking that the others had put on a pace tried to catch up not realising that they were infact behind him. So setting a cracking pace to catch the rest of the team they fell further and further behind. It was not until Chis reached the Amphitheater that the mistake was realised when he asked some of the other walkers if they had seen the rest of his group.
Anyway they did catch up and we all spent a good hour or so looking through this site. It was really amazing - in the starkness of the landscape was a valley and in it was a mini rain forest with a permanent water supply flowing through it. The quality, variety and sheer numbers of rock art was great. There were sleeping hollows in rocky overhangs and some were quite elevated. There were pictures of fish, emus, roos, turtles and some rude ones of people. This area was a bit of an oasis and you could see the appeal of this valley.
We continued on to 17 Mile Falls and hit camp at about midday. We found a spot away from the rest of the campers and set up our camp site on some sandy banks. After lunch we swam upstream for quite some way, saw heaps of frogs and some really nice sandy shady banks further upstream. Whilst not at the right time to see lots and lots of wild flowers we did see a few. The variety, colour and differences between all of these flowers is amazing.
We found a way down to the bottom of 17 Mile Falls via a ramp down the escarpment. We got down to the river at the bottom of the falls and swam upstream to get under the falls. There was a small cave under the falls that JayBee and Chis got into, where we found a Green Tree snake - a bit out of where you may expect to see one - under a waterfall and not in a tree. Pierre, Greg and Cam joined us. A through that came to me later was that we were swimming in water that was below the escarpment and may have had a saltie or two in it. The 17 Mile Creek did flow into the Katherine River from where we had started our hike a few days ago.
Another night under the stars and no bitey insects.