TUESDAY 20 JULY KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, drove the almost 70kms to the Weano Gorge area. This is a most spectacular part of the Park. At Weano, four gorges radiate: Weano, Joffre, Red and Hancock Gorges.
John and I had camped here, back in ’93 when that was still possible, and there were hardly any people about! How things had changed in just over a decade.
From the car park, we walked to Junction Pool and Oxer Lookouts. The views from both were incredible – they seem to take you right into the very heart of the Pilbara.
At Oxer Lookout, it was possible to walk out on a narrow neck of land to get a really extensive view from the end. I allowed M and John to do that!
I had to admit that I found it rather surprising that people were still able to walk out to this point. There were warning signs about the risks, but I suspected the time was probably not too far off when it will either be banned altogether, or there will be protective fencing.
We decided to try the Weano Gorge walk, which John and I had done in ’93, when we reached as far as the Handrail Pool, beyond which one needed to swim and have specialist climbing gear.
There were heaps of people about. I hate school holidays! But I guess that this, along with Dales Gorge, are the two iconic places in Karijini that everyone visits now. I liked it better back when Karijini was not on every tourist’s radar!
Obviously, being a gorge, there was a steep route down into it, before the walk and scramble along the base. There was quite a bit of water in the bottom of the gorge, and one had to keep to the sides, scramble around on ledges – or get wet feet.
I got part of the way along – not as far as last time. We came to a point where we had to climb around the water on a little ledge. With the camera, and carrying the day pack, I couldn’t be bothered taking the risk of slipping into the water, so I opted to stop and wait there while the other two went on. Also, I thought there would be water running in the chute section that I knew was further up, and it would be slippery. It was. John stopped there, but M went on, all the way to the Handrail Pool.
After that, went back the same way.
Had a little sit around at the pool that was further along from the path down – watching some kids swim. Then we tackled the climb back to the top.
We did not even think about tackling the Hancock Gorge walk! We’d done some of it in ’93 and I remembered it as very steep, and with a route along the base that involved climbing and ledge work. That gorge was where an SES rescue worker drowned, at Easter, after rain further back created a flash flood.
We drove back around to Joffre Gorge and Lookout. Had lunch there.
Some revolting grub of a tourist had crapped at the edge of the path! I wondered if it had been someone camped there illegally overnight?
We began the walk down into Joffre Gorge.
Got about half way down, and then it became too much climbing – and too high up – for me! John wasn’t too keen either. So M went on alone and got down to the bottom.
While she was doing that, I explored around the top – it was really pretty above the Joffre Falls.
Joffre Gorge had its own unique characteristic, in that the walls had the appearance of rock stacks, and there was a lot more vegetation growing on the walls.
M was pleased she’d managed the climb down and back up the gorge, but admitted that, in places, it had been close to her limits!
Our last venture for the day was to the lookout over Knox Gorge. This was a great lookout, where we could look straight down into the gorge. We watched some walkers down in the gorge. It seemed very deep.
The day had not been just about the various gorges visited All around us were the captivating panoramas of the Pilbara.
Back at camp, John topped up the Truck fuel from the jerry cans.
We had yet another glorious sunset.
After tea, sat outside enjoying our surrounds and talking over the highlights of the day. It became clear that the other two were challenged by the idea of walking Knox Gorge tomorrow. The fact that we had not done so today was really niggling at them. So it looked like that would be part of tomorrow’s agenda.