Bickleys go Bush'n'Beach
Garry, Mike and Justin undam Manning (Garry's Blog)
King Leopold Ranges, Western Australia
Manning Gorge is one of the more spectacular waterfalls along the Gibb River out of Mount Barnett Station. We did the trip with two families we met along the way. Mike and Renae and their two girls (Kirsty and Jade) and Justin and his daughter, Mia. Emma (Justins wife stayed at camp with their two boys, Charlie and Sonny and our Heath.) The walk is about an hour in when you come around some cliffs and the falls are visible from quite a distance. An intricate river system surrounds you and the falls are the backdrop and quite magnificant towering to some 20 metres. We all scrambled down to the water, hot from the walk and although there where a few people there it appeared uncrowded due to its size. We took turns jumping in from varying heights. It was an amazing day. We all sat down to eat lunch together and shortly after we decided to go for another walk to the top of the falls. Camryn, Mia, Jade and Kristy came with us leaving Renae and Gina to relax in front of the waterfall. To get to the top of the falls we had to first swim across the river then climb up the face of the cliffs next to the falls. Several people had gathered to sit on the cliffs in this spot because it was in the sun and in the flow of the waterfall. The water trickled pleasantly past them. We decided we wanted to see the river at the top of the falls where the water spilled over the cliffs so we ventured out of sight from where Renae and Gina sat and to the back of the falls. Justin ,Mike the kids and myself followed the river a short distance to where the water was being damed by a rather large tree, and as all boys would do you either dam or undam the river at every chance you get. We did the latter. The tree was about 1 1/2 feet in diameter so it took the three of us to move it. As we did we heard an almighty scream that was Mike screaming that his fingers were caught between the tree and a smaller log that was jammed against it. After we got Mike's fingers out of the jam we started trying again to move the big log. This time we succeeded. As we cheered each other on we then realised that the huge log was now flowing down the river and into the waterfall where people were sitting and swimming. Justin and I ran on either side of the river trying to catch the log only to miss twice. Then the log jammed on a rock and we could drag it to the side. We all had a good laugh with a bit of relief. We then started to come back down the river to the falls to have one last jump off the falls and a quick swim before heading back to camp. When we came around the corner and seen how much the river had increased in speed and volume we started laughing at each other. We got the kids down and started on our way back. At this point we realised that those people who had climbed out on the waterfall to sit in the sun were now sitting in a raging torrent of water with no way back to dry land. So, keeping with our boyish behaviour, we jumped in and left them for dead. As we approached Renae and Gina they were discussing how the flow of the water had increased so dramatically since we had been gone.