Errinundra 10 - A dying swamp
In Victoria, Australia
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A long long time ago. Ok on the geological time scale 1992 was very recent, but back then I worked in the area and one of my duties was to collect core samples from this amazing sphagnum bog.
That is to collect dirt and keep it in order as it can tell you a lot about the history of the area.
Back then this swamp was devoid of shrubs and other tall vegetation. You could see for a few hundred metres in every direction to where the slope changed. To walk on it was a very big challenge. Almost every step you would sink down to your waist in what was effectively a massive sponge. This sponge collected the winter rains and would release the water over summer ensuring all the creeks had a constant flow of water, that would continue on down the rivers.
The sphagnum bogs are an endangered ecological community and this one could soon dry out. Most of you are probably thinking climate change, but no this is not the case.
Across the road from where you parked is private property. Along some parts of the road you can still see the fences. Here the naturally occurring Alpine Ash throughout this catchment was cleared about 20 years ago. This ecosystem that was probably hundreds of thousands years old was replaced with Tasmanian Blue Gum in the entire catchment. Young Eucalypt trees are very thirsty as they fight to grow up and survive. This means that now very little water flows into the bogs. When I placed this cache I noticed that it was now only a couple of small pipes going under the road replenishing this drying sponge. The sphagnum is dying and being replaced by shrubs. This change has occurred in my life time.
The Blue Gum plantations across the road behind a natural buffer of about 30 metres, have failed due to the climatic conditions. They are a mangled mess and not suitable apparently for any wood products. i.e. the wood chippers like straight trees as they can fit more on a truck and its unlikely that these plantations will ever be harvested. Plus why should they. Private plantations costs over $30 per tonne to produce, whereas the subsidised industry on public land costs barely over a dollar per tonne.
From where you park the cache can be found by walking down the walking track through a grove of Errinundra peppers. i find the leaves too strong to lick, but some people love the taste of the black pepper berries. I guess its a matter of taste, but if you are completely sure of what species of shrub you are looking for it can be a great trick to play on people. i.e. don't try them without being sure you have a pepper bush and not one of the similar plants that have the same type of berry. The cache is behind a fallen tree about 2m from where it was upright. The area is known as Tea Tree Flat.
Do not attempt these caches without referring to the messages in gc6yy60. Number 1 in this series.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 4/12/2017 8:44:22 AM Pacific Daylight Time (3:44 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum