|Pilbara - Karijini National Park - Weano and Hancock Gorges||May 12 - 14 2018|
|Today's expedition is to the gorges in the centre of the
We have a map on a pamphlet from the Parks Visitors' Centre. The gorges aren't named on our large scale maps.
The drive is about 50 km each way. No matter how early we get up we will be "late".
Parks people have been burning off. This patch near the road is still burning.
|The gravel road heads about due west, over a ridge and
across a plain.
Then it heads north for access to where four gorges meet. A bit like the visual equivalent of three tenors.
|A few corrugations to slow us down. And a lot of concentration made the day a bit tiring.|
|The area is referred to as the Weano Recreation Area. Just
as we are are camped at the Dales Recreation Area.
We headed first to Weano Gorge. A "walk along the edge and back through the bottom with a pool at the end" deal.
But first one of those oversize black-faced cuckoo-shrikes. Smaller than a crow, a bit smaller than a magpie, but larger than other cuckoo-shrikes we've seen.
|When we reached the bottom of the gorge, the easy track at the northern end, we spotted some conglomerate.|
|Not particularly deep. Gently sloping as we walked south-east.|
|To the pool before the "Handrail Pool".
Another of those "we should have" moments, but we didn't know how deep the water was and hadn't thought about how to keep the camera dry.
|We exited the gorge up a steeper track. And headed for the
Junction Pool and Oxer lookouts. Not far, we'd completely misjudged
distances by assuming the scales of the park maps were consistent. Scale for
Weano is half the scale for Dales.
Too many shadows, this is looking south east into Red Gorge. Hancock Gorge joins Joffre Gorge which then joins Weano Gorge to flow into Red Gorge.
Shortly after Red Gorge joins Knox Gorge to flow into Wittenoom Gorge.
We think this is looking south east into Red Gorge, with Weano Gorge behind our left shoulder and Hancock/Joffre Gorge behind our right shoulder.
|Looking down into Joffre Gorge. Presumably the junction
To our right, out of the pic, is a narrow bit of Hancock Gorge.
|We climbed down the concrete, then two flights of steel,
steps into Hancock Gorge.
The tracks are identified with classes. Hancock Gorge is "Class 5". For very experienced bushwalkers. A high level of fitness and agility is recommended. So far we've been up to "Class 4". Its really a matter of calibration, we won't really know what its like until we try one. Up to then we just know its a bit more difficult.
|The gorge narrowed. And the bottom is wet.
But we are tough ..... we think.
Its possible to stay dry on the ledges, but of course becomes increasingly difficult.
|Eventually there is little option.
Our feet are wet in our wet shoes and the rocks are nicely polished by water and gravel so are slippery for us.
So we put the camera in a plastic bag and tie that to a bit of string round my neck so as to leave both hands free.
Swimming backwards resulted in a couple of navigation errors but eventually we realised the pool was only chest deep if we took care.
The camera stayed dry.
|We pushed on. With a pause to look back at the couple who
seemed to be debating whether to follow us.
Perhaps we should mention that there is a small tour group in front of us, and a very nice Scottish/Australian lady who didn't like water, so was waiting for the group to return, and described a bit of what was ahead.
|We reached "The Amphitheatre". This is the exit.|
|Which was narrow enough to have a foot on each side.
Labelled "Spider Walk".
Interesting that the polished rock looks a little like what we called Jasper in Weeli Wolli Creek a seeming lifetime ago. We will continue to learn.
|And so to Kermits Pool.
The tour group were just leaving, to have morning tea in the amphitheatre.
The distance from the first water isn't great. About 50m. Just "interesting".
As expected, we are confident "Class 5" is no more difficult than many places we have experienced in our 50 years of bush walking. Extra care.
|The water is comfortable but cool. With no sun I was
becoming a bit cold out of the water.
Ali ventured into the pool and had a look through the next bit of passage (the orange bit in the middle of the pic). "Ali in Wonderland". There were three more small, descending, pools visible to her in the narrow passage.
It was one step too far for the camera in its makeshift waterproofing. The strata on the left were slippery.
|The amphitheatre looked much the same as we retreated
through the Spider.
Just a slightly different angle for this pic. The curve of the Spider Walk is cleverly designed to entice the curious.
To be honest we weren't sure we should have gone as far as Kermits Pool, but having been there we think this gorge is something special.
We suspect we fluked the lighting. Or maybe its always like this.
|Retracing our steps was easier than entering the gorge, as
it always is when one knows what to expect. Just had to be careful not to
Climbing up the steps revealed tired legs, the accumulation of several days of exercise that began with Mt Robinson. And lungs that could almost not keep up. A sort of competition between legs and lungs as to which would be the constraint. Neither and both. But a couple of stops on the way up and we pronounced it "easy".
We returned to the lookouts to see if letting the sun move round a bit would yield better views.
We had a little luck. The view into Red Gorge was a bit better, though still lots of shadows.
|But looking directly into Joffre Gorge, below us is the
junction with Hancock Gorge with Kermits Pool off to the right, was
Joffre Falls is about 4 km upstream, we'll drive round instead of walk.
|And here we are. From the lookout, looking south west into Joffre Falls.|
|If one is to look carefully there is a clue to the scale of
There are two people about one third down the falls.
Not falling ...... the top two thirds of the falls is nicely stepped. They stopped just above where it got steep.
We try to imagine what the falls must look like with water cascading over the steps.
We decided walking the 200m from car park to lookout would be a reconnaisance. We are tired. With a 50 km corrugated drive in front of us. We'll plan walking in Joffre and Knox Gorges for another day.
|A quick look at Knox Gorge from the lookout. Looking
south east towards its source.
We don't have pamphlets for Joffre or Knox. Just a mention in a general pamphlet. But we do now have photos of the very good signs at the beginnings of tracks to aid our planning.
|On the way home we avoided driving over a goanna.
We often see their tracks, this is the first we've seen the goanna on this trip.
Our planning for tomorrow has a distinct tendancy towards "day off".
|Pilbara - Karijini National Park - Joffre and Knox Gorges||May 15 2018|