Friday, 22 August 2014

Bells Gorge

A typical Kimberley scene.
So I think at this point of the trip I've mentioned I was over the Gibb River Road. Whilst it is an absolutely wonderful and beautiful adventure, we'd been bouncing our way through swathes of red dust for three weeks and with all the injuries we'd sustained to our rig and ourselves (Fiela looked like he'd been in a fist fight with his toes, every one had a scab on it. And Marguerite looked like a pauper with scrapes and bruises all over her-the hazards of completing a gorge walk every day), I was done. I think our time at Charnley River, whilst peaceful and rejuvenating, had made it clear that this love affair with the GRR was turning sour.

Bells Gorge, busy even at 5pm.

So when we were met at the Silent Grove National Park campground by an overly officious volunteer,  needless to say I was unimpressed. But we set up in the busy campground and headed down the road for another walk. Ho hum.

Bells Gorge in the late afternoon.

Bells Gorge is beautiful, even the walk in is lovely with just enough hard bits to make you want to have a swim when you get to the end. Marguerite had clearly picked up on my funky vibe; forgetting her hat she had to wear one of Fiela's and complained she looked like a boy for about 15 minutes non-stop. She forget she's not really supposed to walk through water with her shoes on and so just strolled straight through one of the creeks. A gust of wind blew her hat off into the murkiest bit of the creek which I rescued after lots of quiet but forceful swearing and "oh yuck"s. She walked bare foot and head the rest of the way (and of course stubbed her toe spectacularly on the way back).

Bells Gorge.

So what was I saying? Oh yes, the gorge was lovely but far from child friendly, with smooth, steep rocks beckoning young bottoms to ride them over the cliffs and into the water below. We had  a quick swim, marvelled at the bits of plastic and food left lying around from a days hard work of being a tourist attraction, and walked back out in the afternoon light.

Finding a place to rest amongst smooth stones and cliffs.

I took a few quick photos from the top while Fiela trudged on with the kids and even now I can clearly see the beauty of Bells Gorge in the after glow of a glorious Kimberley day. The reds and faded greens were perfect, even a heron came to feed on the waterfall with no pesky tourists around to frighten it. And I could also see my mood for what it was- I was finished with the Gibb River Road. I would not be walking to any more gorges, no matter how great the swimming hole was supposed to be. I would not be taking another detour, I could not pay for another night's accommodation for the sake of a lukewarm shower. I love you Gibb, but we need some time apart.


This was completely solidified when, through the smoke of everyone's campfire, the  cold of the shower and the noise of a full campground, I almost cried with relief when Fiela and I realised we only had enough cash for one night's stay at Windjana Gorge National Park and would have to head to Derby (civilisation) the day after. Two more sleeps!? Yes, I could stomach that.

Yes alright it is an incredibly impressive waterfall and gorge.

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