Our final day at Karijini dawned on us, quite literally. One advantage with swags like the ones we were in is that you only have to open the top of the swag and you are instantly blinded by light (an advantage in the sense that it helps you wake up and get up).
With the daily ritual of waking complete we skipped the ritual of eating breakfast and hit the road. We were intent on breaking our fast only once we had reached the Weano/Hancock day area, which was roughly forty kilometres from Dales Gorge and co.
After the compulsory four weetbix and required caffeine we headed out to complete the walk around the top of Weano gorge before going down into the gorge itself. As we trekked the gorge grew deeper as we worked our way downstream towards the icy waters of Handrail pool. This was where the walk ended. Well, our walk ended here since this is what faced us:
The cold, dark, freezing, deep and numbingly cold waters of Handrail pool.
Needless to say I was not upset at having to turn back. I was already awake and didn't need a freezing swim to further my alertness. That's what the coffee was for.
This was perhaps the only walk (read swim) which we didn't complete at Karijini. After getting over our lack of dissapointment, we hiked out of the gorge-ous* Weano gorge and looked out from the look outs known as Oxer and Junction.
Junction lookout. The reason that there is a fence in this photo is that it was a long way down so having a fence between me and the cliff was preferable.
After looking out at the gorge-ous** gorges we decided to go into one. Hancock Gorge. This was the most difficult and scary gorge of them all. One of us wouldn't make it to the end.
Somewhere in Hancock Gorge.
The obstacles went like this: First there was a ladder, easy. Then you either had to walk through freezing knee high water or climb up and over a rock face.
Choice A: It may look pretty but its cold.
Choice B: The right choice.
I didn't take a photo of the next obstacle. The reason for this is simple.
I was scared.
And when I'm scared I forget to take photos of what I am scared of.
This is what I was scared of: Losing my grip and falling down into water along with my camera gear in my backpack. Oh, and dying.
That was a pretty big concern as well.
Remember my description of Joffre Falls? Here it is: "Keeping out of the water you have to find something of a footrest as you move around the edges of the cliff bottom...This was my least favourite bit of the walk." The feeling I had at Joffre Falls was one on the edge of genuine fear, and we're talking about part of the walk was barely more than three metres long.
Here that distance was about thirty metres (and that is a conservative guess). Here the fear was genuine.
Part of my panic was assuaged by Josh carrying my backpack and camera gear while I carried his bag. So if I fell back (which I felt had a good chance of happening) it would be Josh's stuff not mine that would get wet. (While this may sound mean, I don't think Josh had anything electronic in his backpack and I did).
We ventured on amid cries like (read with a note of panic) "Josh, where do I put my foot, Josh?", "Is there a foothold?" and "I don't like this". After what seemed like an age we came to what is known as the ampitheatre due to it looking like an open air venue for entertainment. I don't have a photo of the ampitheatre since I was still getting over my fear of the last obstacle, but I do have this:
The entertainment in the ampitheatre. It was gorge-ous** *
The most difficult part of the
hike climb (maybe?) was the spider walk, aptly named because in order to walk through it you had to transmorsify yourself into a spider. This was not a track, this was a waterfall through the high walls of the gorge. These walls were very narrow which forced you to push against the sides with your arms while your feet found a foothold. You've possibly already seen the spider walk in an image I've posted to facebook, but whether you realised where the path was I don't know.
The image I originally posted to facebook.
The place where this photo was taken was as far as I got. So yeah I didn't make it quite to the end, but hey, you can see the "Stop! Go no further" sign in the centre of the photo so I would say that is a pretty good effort. Josh did make it to the end and you can see him in the picture.
Then we had to go back the way we came.
Which wasn't very fun.
So I took some pictures of waterfalls on the way back to cheer me up.
Probably one of the better waterfall photos I made that day.
On the way up.
On the way back to camp.
Once we were back at camp, our day wasn't over. Well, Josh's could've been over but I managed to convince him to help me.
You see, if I was attacked by dingoes I figured it would be better to have Josh there with me as well.
As the sun was setting we went out to Dales Gorge one last time.
The view from above Circular Pool.
The old and the new.
Taken from three-way lookout.
Gorge-ous** * * no?
Even though the sunset was nice...
...It wasn't the main reason for being there.
In the end we didn't get attacked by dingoes and returned safely to camp for our final night in Karijini.
So that's the end of our trip north. Goodbye.
Oh, but we were still 1700kms away from home. It wasn't over yet. Stops on the way home included Mt Bruce, Carnarvon, Kalbarri and a Jurien Bay sunset.
To be continued...
*I'm very sorry but that pun just works so well.
**So, So well.
** * My uttermost apologies
** * * Last time, I promise.
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