|Hancock Gorge from the top.|
Deciding to tackle Hancock Gorge and the "Spider Walk" first, this 400m Class 5 walk started with a short and sharp bang involving an almost vertical ladder. The gorge itself still looks rather benign, even with its narrow ledges just above the creek. But there comes a point in this short walk where you realise the 80 minute timeframe for 400 metres is completely justified. The first is where you take off your shoes to wade through about 30 metres of cold water (easy), and then when you're clinging to a rock face over the water, edging along for another 50 metres or so. This took a really long time, with Fiela having to coach Marguerite across narrow and slippery ledges while he stood in water on a narrow slippery ledge. It wasn't steep or high, but the knowledge that the water is cold, the bottom rocky and the camera in my backpack expensive, well it was a long 50 metres. Di and Kit were right behind us and she fell, camera and all.
|Looking back at the first harrowing bit of our Hancock Gorge Walk.|
|The Ampitheatre in Hancock Gorge.|
|All nonchalance, ready to tackle the Spider Walk.|
|Looking back up into the Spider Walk.|
|Fiela guiding Marguerite through. Meanwhile I can't even get the setting on the camera right|
We finally made it to the bottom and marvelled. It wasn't hard to picture the sheer force and volume of the water which must career through this small chasm, weathering the rock every Wet Season and enchanting visitors during every Dry. Fiela jumped in for a well deserved swim, but again, chicken shit here doing the writing couldn't face the cold. Enter Stage Right Di and Kit who dived in like they were doing their morning laps at Bondi's Icebergs. They congratulated us on getting the kids down to the pools and told us a bit of their travel story, culminating in the tidbit that they had a Landcruiser ute (bakkie) to which they had affixed a roof top tent, travelling up to Karajini from South Autralia for a few months holiday (NB more chicken shit action as I related our story from the lofty heights of a Jayco Swan). Here they were, people in their sixties, doing it their way, throwing themselves into the experience and having a blast in the meantime. This seemed vastly different to the insulated crew we'd encountered from Broome and 80 Mile (and a few before that), whose daily past times were fixed to the day of the week and the time of the day.
Perhaps this is the point of difference: The Uys Huis was travelling for the purpose of seeing and doing, whereas an element of the Grey Nomad lot seemed to be travelling for the purpose of existing somewhere other than where they normally existed. What had happened to their sense of adventure? Of meeting new people? Of experiencing something out of their ordinary? And yes, again, 20 years after they'd done it the first time? So perhaps my beef isn't with those with grey hair who are travelling, but rather with those travelling with a grey attitude towards those and what is around them- and this extends to lots of people we've met on the road, not just Grey Nomads. Afterall, we're all on life's highway, it doesn't hurt to smile and wave.
So anyway, Hancock Gorge was beautiful, we looked, we walked out: it took almost two hours with a swim (for an 800 metre round trip).
|Into Weano Gorge. This also involved some ledge walking but since I'd already been up to my waist just to get to them, it seemed much less harrowing than our Hancock efforts.|
One more gorge to go people, and then it's time to make for the coast.
|The Uys Huis Hero, carrying the younger Uys Huis Troops.|
|The pointy end of Weano Gorge- around the bend in the rock walls is Handrail Pool.|
|Some crazy toddler halfway up a rock wall. No wait: that's Caesar.|