It permeated everything. Seemed like no matter where you were it wouldn’t leave you. It almost made one’s eyes water, so penetrating was it. The ferns, rainforest and splash of the water were all just background to this foul smell of a rotting carcass. What and where it was I had no idea but moved around searching, trying to both locate it and get away from it at the same time.
I inched closer to the waterfall, because inching is all you can do in this vegetation where so few have walked before and, who knows, the last footsteps could have been mine from the first time I came down here, this idyllic gully beside the main road that escapes attention by being invisible to traffic rushing by, mainly because people are rushing somewhere else with nary a thought for what unseen treasures they might by. That’s why these occasional places still exist for the enquiring mind.
Moving steadily closer to the falls, the reason for the stench became evident, for gently bobbing up and down in the pond below the falls were two dead sheep. As to the cause of their demise you couldn’t help but speculate that, at some stage, they’d panicked, as sheep are wont to do, and couldn’t stop quickly with their hard feet on the slippery creek bed above the cascade and thus fell to their doom.
There’s ever a sadness viewing something like this but the stench seemed to cancel all other emotions and senses. It’s a scenario I’ve never forgotten.
It’s now a couple of years later and, once again, I find myself at what I’d since dubbed “Dead Sheep Falls”, easing my way through a rusty fence line that’s clearly seen better days. Thankfully it has no barbs, I’m a bit over them. Age brings with it less flexibility and what was a bit of fun in your youth turns into a difficulty, but the sight of all those ferns and proud, straight eucalypts in the fertile gully quickly erases most of the memory of the previous visit.
Today, the light is good, the stream has a nice flow and it’s simply bliss just being here. There’s a strong gurgle where the clear stream flows beneath a ribbon gum that’s left its tell-tale sheddings scattered across the waters. The gully is like a little enclave divorced entirely from its surrounding rolling plains; a verdant showcase of what happens when water and shade are added.
A fern frond flexes in the passing flow but the stream generally appears to have been recently cleansed by the abundant rains as I chance a mouthful of the crystal clear water below a small drop beneath a sphagnum moss laden limb. Upstream I can see bits of the main falls and trudge carefully through the scrub, trying not to stumble over vines, catchy branches and broken twigs hidden beneath fresh grasses.
At the splashing waters its full beauty is on view. Back lit by a midday winter sun, the spreading droplets flash in the light before becoming part of the downstream pool. The sound of water on rock entrancing as ever and it’s hard to depart the scene but, after about 10 minutes, I drag myself away and head for the entry point again.
Here I decide to attempt shots above the falls but, what looks like an electric fence acts as a deterrent. There’s another way through with a greater degree of difficulty so I choose that and get the required vision before returning the easier way because I can see the suspect wire is actually attached to another to that will short it out if it’s alive, which I very much doubt anyway.
Back in the motorhome it’s time to scroll through the photos. I hope you find as much pleasure in them as I did.