Day 22 and 23:
Oh we were so exhausted yesterday following our tour. Gone for 11 hours and many torturous steps later we were back to Gina's comfy confines. Luckily we had organised some salmon for dinner so it was a glass of wine and grilled salmon, perfect after a thoroughly lovely day.
We were picked up by Trevor, our guide, also a young dad and his 9 year old daughter started our adventure. Firstly we had to drive 100kms to pick up another two couples, quite elderly so I thought okay I can do this if they can.
The roads are interesting in this area. A Marandoo massage is how Trevor suggested the type of road, Marandoo being the local mine and the corrugations in the road sure shook the spine and eyeballs about. Our first stop was a lookout, named Oxers, that showed the join of a number of gorges, namely Hancock, Joffre and Knox. Rather spectacular with the craggy rocks and spinifex grasses, snappy gums with their snow white bark (how they stay that colour in this area I will never know) and the bluest of blue sky. Then onto the first serious walk of the day down into Weano Gorge and Handrail Pool. The photos look fabulous as I only made it halfway down, the steps were rough rock and very uneven so I didn't take the chance and needed to save myself for another walk. The oldies got down the first part but did have a mishap with one lady falling quite badly. Over 24 'incidents' have happened this season with people slipping and breaking bones, no helicopter rescue here you have to be winched up cliffs and driven out. Anyway, Wally continued on with Trevor and the young guy and daughter and came to Handrail Pool. Need to sidle along cliff edges holding onto rocks and part rails but they said it was worth it. Eventually they returned (me - I had a book with me so lay in some shelter and read, very pleasant) we had morning tea then onto the next bit. Joffre Falls and Knox Lookout rather stunning, some intrepid young things had scaled the cliff faces and enjoying a swim down there but not for these old lame ducks. We then did a tour of the Visitors Centre, stunning building built of steel in the shape of a Goanna. Other buildings burnt down every year so they have designed this to withstand fire hopefully. Rather well done with lots of information on the area. Trevor took us to a spot somewhere in the wilderness but thankfully with shelter for lunch. This was classed a 'crib' meal as he gets them from the miners camp and is what is supplied to any of the miners for their daily sustenance. Ham salad, bread to make a sandwich, 2 x fruit, cheese & biscuits, sweet biscuits, fruit juice and water of course. After our repast we viewed Circular Pool from a great height, more intrepids dipping their bods in the water and then onto Fortescue Falls. This next major walk was down 282 steps, but they were metal and quite okay to manoeuvre. Oh and the culmination of this walk was a swim, finally, in Fern Pool. We got to the base of the steps and could see this lovely water but there was a steep rocky outcrop to get down, words were in my head about not warning me of this. But Trevor came up beside us and said keep going along a path we are not there yet, so following the Where's Wally Wacky Tour leader we trotted off and found Fern Pool, clothes have never been ripped off so fast, cossies on under -we had been warned. My goodness it was glorious, beautiful maiden hair ferns under a waterfall, the water surprising crisp with a touch of warm and little fish nibbling at our feet. We were supplied with noodles and lazed away an hour enjoying the time. The waterfall nearly dented the scalp with so much pressure, I am sure Wally lost some more hair on top. Eventually we had to go on back 'up' the 282 stairs…erchhhh but so worth it. One of the oldies and stumbled and nearly fallen but Trevor had caught him on his way downwards so all was well.
Our drive back was long and ardurous the Marandoo massage wasn't nearly as much fun late in the afternoon but we had to drop off the 'old ones' back to their accommodation which added 60 kms to our homeward trip. We did over 350 kms for the day and so thankful we paid for a tour as he took us in his van over some hairy roads and showed us places most people don't see. Well worth the $370 for the day. Arrived back just on six so a very long day for us old types.
Today, we have done the washing, well he was trying to get the sheets off the bed whilst I was still in it but it is now only 9:30 and the sheets are dry and back on the bed and all our clothes will be back in cupboards soon. Some shopping planned, Tom Price has a Coles and not much else but we just need essentials. He is talking about going out to Fern Pool again…will I be able to do the steps two days in a row. Oh, my goodness for that swim maybe worth the pain. Apparently, it is only an hour or so drive, 120 kms, from here so we may go after lunch and the road is sealed. If it had been on the Massage road again there was no way I would have said go take a cold shower.
So that is the end of today and yesterdays babble. Will put pics on for your enjoyment and laughter at the white knobbly kneed old bloke.
Love all xxxx