Hope I'm not Trampling on Sacred Ground

Published: February 27th 2022
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They wait listed us for another tour when we first arrived here, and it's on today. As was the case with yesterday’s tour we didn’t ask too many questions, so we still don’t know anything about it. We go to reception to find out whether any vacancies have come up. They ask us which tour and we look at them blankly. They tell us that it must be the Explosion Gorge Tour, and then proceed to describe it in great detail. It sounds fantastic - a cruise along a remote gorge followed by champagne and cheese at a lookout watching a spectacular sunset. We’re salivating. Unfortunately this doesn’t last too long. They check again and it seems that there still aren’t any vacancies, so we won’t be going. It might have been nice to know this before they told us how good it was.

Most of the staff at the hotels and restaurants in Darwin and Broome seemed to be from either Spain or South America, and we’d got very used to saying "por favor" and "gracias" whenever we ordered anything. We’ve been saying that here too, and getting some very blank looks back. We’ve now realised that in contrast to the other places most of the staff here seems to be Aussies, supplemented by the odd Kiwi, American and South African. We wonder why this is. We conclude that it must have something to do with visitors to our shores being a bit freaked out by all the stories they've undoubtedly heard about the snakes, crocs and other nasties that inhabit the less populated areas of our great land. I s'pose it is slightly less likely that you’d get taken by a croc in the main streets of Darwin or Broome than out here in the remote Kimberley. That said I seem to vaguely remember noticing a lot of Spanish speaking young ladies in skimpy bikinis swimming at Broome's Cable Beach, which is reputedly swarming with crocs, so I’m not sure that that theory really holds up. The mystery remains.

I decide I need some exercise. I told Issy a few days ago that I wanted to climb up one of the nearby peaks, but it seems that there aren't any tracks up any of them. She told me that they're all sacred aboriginal sites, but I’m pretty sure she’s just making this up to stop me from trying. I haven’t seen any signs and she gets a bit evasive when I try to quiz her further. I head off down the track into the resort and come across another more rudimentary track leading off it. There are really two rudimentary tracks, one on either side of a small three-strand barbed wire fence. Both the track and the fence end at the base of a hill. I think it’s now time to go off-road adventuring. I bash my way through scrub and over rocks and scramble my way very slowly up the hill. I hope I don’t break my leg or get bitten by a snake. I didn’t tell Issy where I was going, mainly because I had no idea myself. It does however feel very good to be in amongst nature. I’m in rugged bush in one of the remotest places on earth. I feel like I may well be the first human being to have ever walked on this particular bit of the planet. This feeling lasts until I trip over a bit of wire, which it seems is an extension of the fence I was next to a few minutes ago. Hmmm. Maybe it’s not as remote and untouched by human hand here as I’d hoped. I wonder what the fence is for. It’s not in a good state. If I’d lifted my foot a bit higher I wouldn’t have even known it was there. It wouldn’t stop any cows wandering from one station to another, and anyway they told us a few days ago that none of the cattle stations up here are fenced; cows need water so the stockmen know that they’ll never go too far from the nearest creek. Maybe Issy wasn’t kidding, and it really is fencing off sacred aboriginal land. I wonder which side of the fence I’m supposed to be on. I'd always thought that tourists who disrespected the wishes of the local people were really selfish and rude, and it seems that I might now be one of them. The views are spectacular, but I think now might be a good time to leave. I decide that it might be better if Issy didn’t know too much about where I’d been so I take a quick dip in the hotel pool to wash away some of the blood from my shredded legs…


5th March 2022

One step after another
Hope you find what is out there that a wander can do. Sometimes it is your thoughts that carry one through. Enjoyed your blog.
12th March 2022

Wow, roads of every size, shape and colour, deserted and crowded. Great collection!
5th March 2022
The road into Emma Gorge

Follow that Road
Makes a nice addition to our 'Follow that Road' thread in the Photography Forum. Check it out.

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