Deep in the Kimberley
29 July 2012
I just turned to Lisa and asked her if we were on holiday. It’s a question we asked each other a lot when we started our trip. Her answer was “no, this is our everyday life”. We are getting to a stage in the trip where we are starting to recognise that this lifestyle could become normal for us. We are in a bit of a limbo, on one hand we know that this trip is relatively short, we are not going to be travelling for five or ten years, but on the other, this is more than a holiday. We are often doing things that many do on holiday, and we are definitely surrounded by many people here who are on holiday, but this is different. This is our life for the timebeing. We are very fortunate in at least a couple of ways; to be in a position to do the trip; and to both be in a place where we want to do the trip and to have made it happen.
Our front room tonight is deep in the Kimberley, it is well lit because it’s almost a full moon and we have a fire going. We had one of my favourite meals, jacket potatoes and corn on the cob done in the fire. Tastes great and saves on the washing up! Lisa even managed to dig up some marshmallows, so for the first time on the trip (five and a bit months) we toasted marshmallows on the fire.
The Kimberley is a remote area in northern WA, a land of boabs, ancient sandstone escarpments, and corrugations! The main highway skirts around the south of the Kimberley, but running through the centre, and the only way to get here is the Gibb River Road. Tonight we are in Michell Falls Nat Park, about half way along the Gibb and then to the north on a literally teeth rattling road for about 240km. Even all those corrugations and rocks are worth it already. A cool swim usually turns any day around, and after we pulled up we went for a wonder and had a dip at the top of a little waterfall cascading over a sandstone overhang. We found a spot in a deep pothole above the falls and shared it with a lazy water monitor lizard baking in the sun. Taking a peek over the waterfall I saw that there was a big overhang, and a set of caves below, we thought it would be cool to sit behind the falls looking out, so we had a look around and soon found a path down. It was an awesome spot, looking out through the small waterfall, who’s droplets were lit up by the sun. We soaked up the view of the river framed by the top of the fern filled cave and the tumbling water. It had a magical wonderland air to it, we could imagine it being a good place to live in days gone by. As we were leaving Lisa spotted paintings on the far side of the caves, it was if we had just stumbled across them for the first time! This was the second major set of aboriginal rock paintings we had seen in this area, and as always they remind you of the long and continuous human culture that still holds on in Australia. We later learnt that some of the paintings we had seen were over 17,000 years old, and there are undoubtedly older ones.