Last week Pete and I explored a new track to us, the Zig Zag Track, that took us down into the Mulgrave Valley from Gadgara forest on the Tablelands. It was a gentle undulating walk though a variety of forest types before we emerged onto the grassy hilltops overlooking the valley. The views of Bartle Frere and surrounding hills were stunnning, for as far as the eye could see the mottled green of forest soaked up the sunlight and seemed to invite us down.
Miners used this track well over 100 yrs ago. Quickly dropping in altitude, we zig-zagged down the steep slopes finding mine shafts, then rusted rail track and bogey carts and then finally at the bottom, the working site on the bank of a creek. Rusted machine parts littered the Walter Hodgkinson Mine site which was slowly being reclaimed by the forest. We immediately wanted to know more about the place.
We had a quick coffee before pressing on. The track was now largely along the contours just above the Butchers Creek and much of it had been cut into the steep slopes. It was heavily overgrown and difficult to follow. On many occassions it was almost impossible to see.
Finally we abandoned the track and crossed Butchers Creek where it joined the Mulgrave River. We were now on familiar ground and a quick walk along the banks of Mulgrave found us opposite Kearneys Camp site and at the end of a 9 hr walk.