I am thrilled to be able to bring you this Let’s Phlog Monday post after such a long Monday Phlogging hiatus.
Last weekend I had the good fortune to visit the Wombeyan Caves. A large network of limestone caves, the Wombeyans are located in the Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve, about a 3 hour drive south of Sydney. It includes the Fig Tree Cave, which is generally known as the best self-guided cave tour in New South Wales.
The trip was made more exciting because it was totally spontaneous. A friend and I had been in the area for coffee and decided to use the afternoon to explore. After seeing a turnoff with a sign that the Caves were sixty six kilometres away, we decided to do the Thelma and Louise thing and just go for it (without the death plunge, of course). A mere two hours later we arrived after braving the (unbeknown to us) winding unsealed road. The drive was well worth the effort.
We chose to take a ranger guided tour through the Junction Cave, which is known for its colours, flowstones and shawl formations. There we met the Mango. John Mango was our ranger guide and he made the cave come alive. There are some people you meet and you can’t help but admire the passion they have – this was The Mango, a ranger of twenty years experience in the area who clearly had an affinity with nature and the beautiful formations that lay before our eyes. The Mango’s enthusiasm and dramatic (almost poetic) commentary gave the afternoon another dimension. Better yet, we had The Mango to ourselves as we were the only tour participants that afternoon.
As we wandered through the cave, The Mango played with the lighting to create the most dramatic effects. Looking at the structures, I marveled at how unique magnificence can be built drop by drop with patience and perseverance. All around me there were new stalactites and stalagmites forming, and reaching for each other. The drop before supporting the drop that would come after. And when the two “ites” meet a column would be formed. Mites and Tites reaching out to each other willing to connect.
One of the most magnificent formations was a large shawl, nicknamed, streaky bacon grandma shawl. The colours were amazing along with the horizontal layering effect. Each layer representing change in the morphology above the ground.
The area and the caves certainly had a mystical quality to them and we will be back to explore them further.
Drop by Drop
All of these were taken with a smartphone camera, no flash.
Have you ever headed off the beaten track on a whim? Do you prefer sponteneity in your advertures or would you rather pre-plan everything?