Published: May 23rd 2009May 18th 2009
Circular Pool, Dales Gorge
This water is freezing cold, there has been no sun on it for a month.
We awoke at 5.00am to our Dingo chorus, it was really rather lovely, we thought they may be asking us to “name that tune.” It still felt very cold, but it would soon warm up when the sun comes up.
Andy got up at 7.00, the cooker had packed up entirely so we had no early tea, Andy just took the cooker apart to try and fix it, he found that the jets were blocked so got a pin and unblocked them, success we have a cup of tea, better late than never, but for a new cooker we wonder why we have blocked jets, could it be dirty gas?
We prepare ourselves for a short hike this morning, they are within walking distance of the camp, so we will go for a short walk to scope out the gorge and then come back for lunch and then do a bigger hike in the afternoon.
On the way out to the Dales Gorge we popped round to say goodbye to the Travelin Trueys, sadly they were moving on today. Heading for Port Headland and Eighty Mile Beach, Ken wants to do a few days fishing.
They are almost ready to go, however the boys help Ken hook up the caravan while the girls chat about stuff, Jodie passes me a book to read, Chocolat, which I have not yet read and I have not even seen the film.
We discuss the gorges and the walks an Jodie convinces me that we have to swim in the pools, I am already wearing my bikini “just in case”. We discuss also the journey from Newman to Marble Bar, we had both been considering going to Newman to investigate the “secret world war II air base” and the worlds largest open cast mine, yes larger than Kalgoorlies Super Pit. However neither of us has been able to find any information on the air base and we do not really want to make the journey unless we know what there is to see.
The other problem is that there is a dirt track from Newman to Marble Bar which we also wanted to do, however it is a 300 kilometre journey on unknown terrain (for us), we do not know the condition of the road and have not been able to find anything out up here, we
Walking distance from campground
need more localised information, but none of us has a phone signal.
We still need to decide what to do, and if it is worth the 400 kilometre round trip if the Marble Bar road is out of action. Marble Bar is reputed to be the hottest place in Australia and in fact is in the centre of a shire measuring 377000 square kilometres that is larger than New Zealand. There is not a lot to do in Marble Bar except to see the large strip of Jasper that early pioneers mistook for a piece of Marble.
Again we say our goodbyes to the Travelin Trueys, it has been great to catch up with them and we hope to catch up in Broome or Darwin, we are all following a similar route, but our timings might be different, I think they are planning a week in Broome but we may not stay quite so long as we need to get round to Darwin, we will stay for a few days and look around the area and catch up on ourselves again (not to mention a big pile of washing that is covered in red dust).
up to the lookout, the view is stunning, and we wander around the path that takes us along the cliff top. It is hot, we seek shade in the few trees around us. Kirsty spots a Brown Falcon, it is just sitting in the tree and is looking around, I manage a few photos before walking on, but this Falcon appears to fly off ahead of us and find an even better photo opportunity.
After lunch we hiked off to the gorge and followed the path down into the gorge towards Fortescue Falls, it was a steep walk down but a very well trodden path, we get to Fortescue Falls and see loads of people laying in the sunshine on the different levels of rock that are on either side of the falls. The pool below the falls has plenty of water and it is very cold, people are swimming. We decide here to walk further back up the river to Fern Pool, where it is apparently warmer, only slightly though, the water from the waterfall is the warm bit!
When we arrive there we find a beautiful oasis in the middle of this gorge, a boardwalk has
been built which has a ladder leading down into the water just to make it easier for people to get int.
This place is as busy as can be, there is still a good deal of sunshine on the water, however the bit that you climb in is fully in the shade and feels very cold, you cannot see the bottom of the pool either. Before I know it Andy, Kirsty and Andrew are stripped off and in the water. However I am a bit slower (I hate cold water) and I have my camera bag, with so many people I am not likely leaving it lying around, if this lot got stolen I would be quite upset.
So I take photographs of the others, there was a family by the pool and they did not have a camera, the dad wanted a picture of him and his daughter (who could only have been about 5 years old) in the pool. So I took pictures for them so that I could email to them when we are back in network range.
The guys get out of the pool and suddenly I am encouraged to get in, oh
Take note of the many layers of rock.
no! I am ready with my bikini on and watch every one else jump in, but I am not that brave. Jodie told me that there was only one way to do it and that was quick. This is aboriginal land around us and therefore there are rules and one of those rules is not to shout or scream in the pool, it is almost like a joke really as some people getting in make some sort of shrill because the water is cold.
I climb in gingerly on the steps and acclimatise I have words of encouragement from my fellow team members, Kirsty shouts “take one for the team Caroline! “ I hang around on the steps for a short while, I am not even up to my waist yet, suddenly I felt something around my ankles and realise that the fish are nipping at the dry skin I have on the back of my heel. “Get off!” I shout and shake my feet to clear them away, but I guess the best way to do it was to just get in and swim.
I plunge myself in further, it was a bit of a shock in
the very cool gorge water, momentarily it took my breath away, but I was still hanging onto the stairs, somehow I felt a little bit fearful of letting go and succumbing to swimming the pool that I could not see the bottom of.
I remember Jodie’s words and the others were standing on the boardwalk urging me to do it, so away I went, swimming toward the sunny part of the pool. It was beautiful, refreshing and yet warm in places and what a magnificent feeling of freedom and being in such a beautiful place. I swam over to the waterfall, I could feel the warm water pelting down on me, I did not stay for long as the rocks were slippery and I could feel my feet already slipping so I swam off, the boardwalk seemed such a long distance away, but it was not going to take long before I was back.
I stepped out to a few cheers and “did you enjoy that?” “Yes, it was fantastic, how refreshing and what a great feeling.”
We went up to the top of the boardwalk to dry and get dressed, it seems that someone left some
lacy knickers on Andys rucksack and clothes, but nobody claimed them, so someone will be missing something tonight.
Andy and I are going to walk back to camp, we have done enough for the day and we want to type up some blog, even though we have no network at all, we still need to keep up with our writing, otherwise it is too easy to forget what you did yesterday (as we frequently do!)
Kirsty and Andrew carry on through the gorge towards Circular Pool, where you can also swim, but it is much colder and the pool has not had any sun on it for about a month now, so I really would not fancy my chances at getting in there anyway.
Back at camp we see a piece of paper shoved in the spout of our kettle, it is a note from the Travelin Trueys. It seems that Ken has used his Sat Phone to try and find out information on Newman and the road to Marble Bar. I quote “Hi Guys, Ken rang Newman Info Centre using Emergency Sat phone) She said road is really bad not been graded for ages lots of corrugations. Trucks coming through are doing 30k's/ hour. Hope this helps. Happy travelling. p.s. your 80k/hour theory is up the sh*tter!! TT's"
We see the family that I took photographs of, they come back to camp with us, I download the photos that I took of them in the pool straight onto her laptop, they are thrilled with the results. They introduced themselves as Chris, Sandy, Sharaya and Lars. Sandy tells us that they have to be in Tom Price by 9.00 in the morning to do a “School of the air” session for Sharaya. School of the air is used for kids who are travelling or live on very remote places of Australia. They need to contact the teacher every 3 days for a lesson, which we think is over HF (High Frequency) radio.
Andy and I sit down and have a cup of tea and a rest, I type up the blog, tonight we don’t have to cook, Kirsty and Andrew have invited us to their place to dinner, their place being a Statesman Caravan in site 35 next door to us. We wondered if we should drive?
Kirsty and Andrew appear at about 5.30,
hey have been gone a while, but tell us that they walked up to Circular Pool, the water was freezing, they did not go in. Kirsty tells us that the pool was riddled with Flat Worm.
It is soon dark and the Dingo’’s are hanging around hoping for a feed, but they will be unlucky, we pop next door and make ourselves comfy, we hear a couple of Dingo’s having a scrap nearby, but it is too dark to see anything, we suspect they are fighting over territory. Dinner is served, what a great meal we had sat outside looking up at the stars in the sky. The sky out here is magnificent, it is so big, there is no light pollution and you can see so many stars.
We retire inside the caravan for a cup of tea, however we are all exhausted and by 10.00 we are in our respective beds, listening to the Dingo Chorus in the distance. They seem to have a howl roughly every hour for the next 3 hours.
It is a bitterly cold night, but not feeling quite as cold as last night.
There are more photos below