Continuing our journey:
If you went to Dangars Falls, you can take the Dangars Road to the Waterfall Way and head towards Dorrigo-Coffs. A short stop at Ebor is another excellent opportunity to see a waterfall and the interchange toward the dominance of ecosystems over the geological formation. At least that seems to be what happens. However, a couple of things combine to form a microclimate and local ecosystems. The landscape here has some of the characteristics that you will see further down the mountain. The tree canopy here is open, and you still see plenty of the sky. Further down the escarpment, filtered light dominates.
Lush vegetation surrounds Ebor and the Guy Fawkes River, creating captured views with majestic bird and animal life. If you are lucky, you will see some lyrebirds and plenty of parrots and small insect-eating bird. The walk around the falls is a wonder of geological formations, and abundant water.
The north-south line of the Guy Fawkes River cuts through the Demon fault line, an old crack in the landscape. In the south of, the Guy Fawkes Park, the Ebor volcano spewed lava across the landscape. The gap created the Ebor Falls, with their unusual organ pipe-like rock formations. The Basalt crystalline formations are similar to the Giants Causeway in Ireland. (https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/lookouts/ebor-falls/learn-more#:~:text=in%20Gumbaynggir%20language.-,Unique%20geology,organ%20pipe%2Dlike%20rock%20formations.) One species to watch out for is the endangered Brush Tail Wallaby. This small marsupial is relatively easy to approach, and if you are quiet will stay around long enough to get a picture or short video.
The drive from Ebor to Dorrigo takes you through some spectacular rolling countryside and the wettest parts of NSW. Walking into the Dorrigo canyon, there are giant trees, abundant birds and subtropical rainforest plants. Beginning at the treetops walk will help to get a feel for the size and shape of the canyons that slice into the mountainous terrain. The walks from the information centre make the gradient of the canyon walls apparent. Still, the dense vegetation hides the real scale of the area.
From the mid-1850s timber was collected here. The massive red cedar trees are often listed and are the most obvious of these giant trees to be removed. Loggers felled many trees over the next century. Oxen were used to haul massive trunks up great distance and height. It is difficult for us to imagine the effort and work required to remove tonnes of trees out of these confined spaces. Nearly 120 years later, it is also difficult to imagine the devastating consequences. Walking into the forest, you can see stumps several times the height of an adult with the springboard holes in the side. But how did they manage to extricate those things?
Closer to the coast, we enter a higher rainfall location and taller forest. The rain is substantially adiabatic. Rising coastal air that is moist and warm at sea level moves inland and up the mountains in the evening. As the air moves up the mountain, it cools to the dew point and drops its moisture as precipitation. Sometimes it is foggy and misty quite often it is raining. The trees in the forest also pump large amounts of water into the atmosphere. Rainforests rely on natural precipitation, but they also add to the water-laden air. The positive feedback enhances the rain and humidity of the lower canopies.
One of the crucial processes on this part of the forest is the detritus removal. Many tones of vegetative-and animal material fall to the forest floor every day. The activity of breaking it down and recovering nutrients by living things is an essential part of the cycle of the ecosystem. Some fall into plants that grow on the sides of trees. It is consumed by plants, fungi and insects that are in turn consumed by birds and larger animals. In Australian forest ecosystems, the largest animals are platypus wallaby’s and echidnas, on the ground. In the air bee-eaters and larger birds like owls, tawny frogmouth, eagles patrol the sky. on the ground predators like snakes and reptiles of all sizes to recycle the nutrients. The ecosystem energy cycle is precariously balanced; it is continually changing, renewing and breaking down.
The geomorphology and biological processes are in constant tension. While vegetation tenaciously holds the valley sides together and keeps the nutrient load within the forest, water tries to rip it away. Everything looks still, but the mega forces of nature are in constant tension to cause change.
Take time to watch and enjoy the various landscapes you are in and imagine the scale of the forces. Living forests and geomorphology are challenging each other for supremacy. The battle is a high energy struggle to shape the landscape. Without human interference, there is a tentative balance that has come together over eons.