After enduring a wet n windy night we awaken to a grey morning with misting rain so we persevere with breakfast and pack away wet campers again. We break camp, then using the Trip Notes head north along Bounty Mine Private Access Road. Our first point of call is not to far into the drive and is a rock hole found by John Holland. It has now be greatly enlarged but was still a nice historic site to visit. Another plus for the spot was, you guessed it, orchids were found. Found by John Holland First up were good groupings or as I like to call them hoods of Hairy-leafed snail orchids (Pterostylis echinulata) which seem to like laterite soil. Nearby were some Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata)
Nice full plant shot
Stark white petals and lateral sepals
Also covered in water droplets were two types of spider orchids. Twisted together were possible Western wispy spider orchids and nearby was a lone (Caladenia microchila) Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis).
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Drooping petals and lateral sepals
Dorsal sepal weighed down by water droplets
Four species within a few metres, not a bad little spot. We however move onwards as the trip notes lead us to believe the worst of the track is behind us, so we expect a quicker run going forward. Oh well that prediction soon proved incorrect.
Sticky, slippery mud
As muddy as ever
At one bog hole we stopped to inspect the way forward and being one to take my opportunities to look for orchids, I hit the bush for a quick scout. The little lime green orchid catches my eye as it did yesterday. Further Midget greenhoods are found including one with 4 flowers in bloom which is a first for me. They usually have only 1 or 2 open. (Pterostylis mutica)
Awesome full plant shot
4 flower inflorescence
Labellum cupped by the later sepals
I then noticed another snail orchid hidden under a nearby bush, so moved some branches away to get a photo and was shocked and elated to have found my first ever Sigmoid spider orchid These little beauties are found between Mt Jackson and Mt Ragged during the months July through September. In fact this little orchid was actually smaller than the snail orchid. (Caladenia sigmoidea).
Clubbed petals and sepals
Size comparison with snail orchid
The distinctive S shaped labellum apex
Labellum is creamy white with red stripes
We again hit the track, pass through more bog holes and large puddles before the track turns abruptly north. A little further and at the top of a ridge is a great camping spot, where we stop for morning tea. Great camping spot, but we must move on We head off climbing up further when Deb radios us to advise Richard that his power connection to his camper trailer had come loose. So whilst he is fixing this I head off on foot up the long gravelly incline, where I luckily find some Sugar orchids.
Slow incline. Slippery gravel with puddles to transverse.
The most prolific orchids out these parts
Near the mine site the track turns east and after what seemed like ages, we find another area large enough to pull alongside each other, so we could have lunch. It was in fact less than 1 hr and only 5kms. Sunny but still a cold wind Windy with light rain and still slow going … Check out this video footage!!! Next stop is in the Jilbadji Nature Reserve at a place named Sandlewood Rocks. Only 2pm so we have a quick walk around with the only orchid find being some good hoods of snail orchids. They seem to be more Hairy-leafed snail orchids.
Nice size hood of snail orchids
Also have a hairy stem
Leaving Saddlewood Rocks we move further east and come across the State Barrier Fence again. This time it is the southern end of the eastern section. We skirt around the end and travel alongside the fence in a northerly direction then turn northeast and head out of the Nature Reserve. A few kilometres later we come to what at first appears to be a daunting task. A claypan with deep ruts filled with muddy water, but luckily we were able to skirt around the edge and continue forward.
A daunting sight
At the 11.52km mark from where we left the State Barrie Fence we come across a Commemorative Plaque, erected for the Holland Track centenary, at the crossroads with Mount Day Road. The Holland track was actually in better nick that the so called Road. Centenary Plaque of Holland Track. We still have 22 kms of track before our planned camp at Blazed Tree Camp which is near Centenary Rocks. So off we head and as we get close a fallen tree blocks the path. Richard gets out his trusty chainsaw and in the windy conditions he saws the log into movable sections and we are soon back on our way. A rainbow appears and guides us to our camping spot.
Richard saws up tree that had fallen over the track
Sunshine brightens up the bush under a black sky
Richard’s Trtton and camper at Blazed Tree Camp
The mighty Triton and Camper at Blazed Tree Camp
A long 8 hrs of driving today. We set up camp, light our obligatory campfire and enjoy an evening under the stars, when they peaked out behind all the cloud that is.