The Totem Pole.

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The Totem Pole.

Postby kanangra » Fri 15 Aug, 2014 7:36 pm

Located deep in the Wollemi Wilderness in the Wolgan Valley near Houstons Ck this is a natural feature that I had been wanting to visit since I first heard of its existence in the late 1970's. On a trip down the Wolgan and up the Capertee in the early 1980's I looked for it without success. Then to be honest it went out of my mind until a recent issue of the Bushwalker magazine reignited my interest. Anyway I managed to get in there yesterday. I will write up the trip in due course but for now a few pictures of the feature itself. I apologise for the poor quality. It was still very early when I reached it and it wasn't easy to hold the camera still perched on the side of a steep hill.

P8140292 (Medium).JPG
The Totem Pole


It stands about 20 feet high and the cap stone must weigh about a tonne. How it doesn't collapse under its own weight I'll never know. Not seen anything like it before.

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A close up view of the capstone.


It seems to be made of mud and clay which has hardened with some smaller boulders adhering to it like pimples.

P8140293 (Medium).JPG
Another view.


I started from the Glow worm Tunnel CP and camped on Annie Rowan Ck. I visited the feature early the next morning then returned to Annie Rowan Ck where I broke camp and then walked out to the car arriving just after 4:00. a great trip.

P8140295 (Medium).JPG
A last look as I turned to go.


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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby DaveNoble » Fri 15 Aug, 2014 7:41 pm

It looks much the same as it did when we "rediscovered" it in the 70's (I was on the trip where Joe Mack found it on an ablutions break). And it looks much the same as the sketch of it by Carne in the early 1900's.

Sounds like a good trip.

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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby michael_p » Fri 15 Aug, 2014 7:46 pm

I was talking to a bushwalking friend about trying to find this only two weeks ago.

Really looking forward to your report.
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby kanangra » Fri 15 Aug, 2014 8:29 pm

Dave that is interesting. It would suggest that despite looking quite fragile and precarious it has in fact remained remarkably in tact for at least 100 years.

I can understand why it would only be discovered by chance. It is well above the river perched on the side of a steep slope. If you walked along the river as we did in the 1980's you just wouldn't see it at all. I had heard that it was further up the side and so was sidling up high. As it happened I was at precisely the right level and first spotted it when still about 100m away.

Michael it really was a very enjoyable trip. One I would strongly recommend. It also reminded me why winter is the perfect time to go walking in our climate. Just beautiful cool but sunny conditions. wonderful!

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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby Mitchc » Wed 20 Aug, 2014 4:06 pm

Does anyone know, or suspect how it was formed?
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby icefest » Wed 20 Aug, 2014 6:26 pm

I suspect that the formation is similar to glacial ice pillars. The rock on the top protects the softer rock underneath from getting washed away by the rain; or that the rock on top is leaching some other substance that is cementing the softer rock below it.
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 20 Aug, 2014 7:31 pm

So there's no concrete with steel reinforcement inside? Take a guess, with that level of erosion, how many years did it take? Thousands? Tens of thousands?
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby kanangra » Wed 20 Aug, 2014 10:00 pm

It is located on the side of a steep slope. Which tells me that at one time the slope extended much further out. But over time the surrounding material has been eroded away. The reason this column has remained in its original position is because of the protection of the cap stone.That's my theory.

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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 20 Aug, 2014 10:33 pm

The top stone may have had some effect initially, but it doesn't quite explain how it could maintain its base from water and wind weathering, especially over such a long period of time. Quite amazing!
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby LegendaryActs » Thu 21 Aug, 2014 12:10 am

The Totem Pole has been on my bucket list for a while now and the only thing stopping me is a bit more info on exactly where it is. I have read a few failed trip reports and so am really interested in seeing the trip report. Seen Dave Noble's photos and some other photos etc but haven't yet been able to confirm the actual coordinates. If anyone wants to share co-ordinates and/or GPX or can direct me to better information then please send me a PM.
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby DaveNoble » Thu 21 Aug, 2014 12:38 am

Here is a photo from a trip in 1976 -

BC99.jpg
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby GPSGuided » Thu 21 Aug, 2014 12:48 am

Looked to have thinned a bit in the lower half. But it may be the angle.
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby puredingo » Thu 21 Aug, 2014 9:43 am

A mud incrusted ghost gum trunk carefully adorned with decorative stones and capped with boulder of unknown significance?

All brought to you for your wonderment by the makers of stone henge.
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby icefest » Thu 21 Aug, 2014 10:06 am

Here we go.

They are called a hoodoo, a demoiselles pillar, capped earth pillars and fairy chimney, amongst others.

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemin%C3%A9e_de_f%C3%A9e
like this:
Image
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby Wollemi » Thu 21 Aug, 2014 10:16 am

More pics here at Peter's site; http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php ... 38#p239738

Surprised that this thread has commanded quite some interest in spite of the terrible initial photos! :D

AG article on Wollemi NP, published this year, is here; http://www.storycentral.com.au/assets/r ... ollemi.pdf

The geological feature was upslope from a prominent 44 gallon drum, partially buried in the shallow river. This may have moved, or been covered over since I visited.

[Edit by moderator, some content removed]
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby GPSGuided » Thu 21 Aug, 2014 10:46 am

Thanks Icefest in finding the reference and tested our French at the same time. It was a bit of a struggle on this end until I found an English entry.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoodoo_(geology)

Wollemi, the blurry photo just added to the mysticism. And I wondered if it was also noted by the local aboriginals in times past? Would there have been a story attached to it? But guess the local aborigines would have been vacated from the area quite early on the colonial timeline and potentially lost.
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby kanangra » Thu 21 Aug, 2014 11:33 am

Yeah that shot was intentionally blurred to add to the mysticism just like GPS said. :wink: :oops: For more details on the trip check out my Wandering in the Wolgan post on the Trip Reports page. I'll try and finish it soon. If you want the co-ordinates PM me but it is on the Mt Morgan sheet. On the south side of the river before the Houstons Ck junction. It cannot be seen from the river however as it is located about 100m up the slope.

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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby michael_p » Thu 21 Aug, 2014 6:37 pm

LegendaryActs wrote:...co-ordinates...

There is a waypoint for the Totem Pole floating around on the web. It only took me a couple of minutes of searching to find it. If you have trouble finding it I can point you in the right direction, send me a PM if you need help.

Cheers,
Michael.

P.S. You wouldn't happen to be a geocacher?
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Re: The Totem Pole.

Postby Vern » Sun 24 Aug, 2014 1:48 am

Interesting story. Amazing natural feature too. I'm no geologist but would the compression of the earth under the rock have anything to do with it remaining while the earth around it has worn away?
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