Murchison River Gorge - Day 5
After soaking in the spectacular views, I walked back to the junction and turned right to head Northwards along the 1.2km-long path that undulated through the bush and lead to the Z-Bend carpark
. We quickly grabbed the supplies that had been hidden just off the carpark and continued along the (6km return) Four ways trail (Idinggada Yina). The sand-lined trail lead through the bush, it's wide swathe passing clumps of grass trees (Xanthorrhoea australis
), before winding its way down and around boulders and algae-filled pools and emerging back out into the gorge at a point where two gorges intersected each other - fondly known as '4-Ways'.
It was already 10:30 by the time we reached 4-Ways. The plan had been to meet the others at 11:00 and to head up the canyon if they didn't appear. 11:00 came and went, so the two of us dropped our packs and started walking Southwards down the gorge, in the direction that they would be coming from. We ended up walking just over a kilometre along the sides of the gorge until we came to a point where we could go no further without swimming up the river. The views along this section of the gorge were glorious - great stretches of overhanging rocks with alternating bands of red and orange, contrasted with the deep green waters of the river. We called out and hooted, but all we heard in return was the echo that reverberated back up the canyon and the plopping of fish as they occasionally jumped out of the water in their attempt to catch the insects that hovered over the surface.
The only three possibilities that I could think of that would explain their absence were that they were progressing at a much slower pace than they had originally anticipated; that there had been an accident; or that the swimming was either too difficult or that the water was too cold, and they had decided to head back and take the route that we had taken. We decided that since we were unable to progress any further, the best thing to do would be to head back to 4-Ways just in case the reason was the last one (that they had decided to head back). As we were walking back, a circling Kestrel (Falco sp.
) kept on blocking the sun that was right over our heads, reminding me of the earlier incident with the goat
. Just as a feeling of dread was starting to sink in, we caught a flash of white in the distance, and the dread immediately transformed into a feeling of great relief as I realised that that flash could only mean one thing - that they had just come into view as they rounded the bend in the gorge.