Thrilling. Walking up and up into a narrowing Gorge with immensely high walls getting closer and closer. The wind pushing and pulling all the while. Cold winds. Beanie and thick winter jacket winds. The sun was striking strong out on the flat lands but its rays were yet to infiltrate the Gorge. Looking back and westwards to the flat lands, I was surprised by the intensity of the contrast between light and dark. You would have noticed that aspect in the video at the end of the last blog post. And yet all was visible as I walked.
Gradually the wide stony track narrowed, descended then wound over a small creek and up and around through vegetation and onwards (in the following photos, the widening gap at the end of the Gorge provides some indication of distance travelled).
Over a few boardwalks finally I reached the viewing platform at the end of the walk allowed me to hold on (against the ruffling of the wind) and experience the end of the rocky Gorge. I looked up and the sunlight was beginning to hit the top of the Gorge walls. The sun line lowered as I began the trek out of the Gorge.
As I retraced my steps, the driver caught up with me and relayed some of the information he had shared with others. Since I had one-on-one time with him I was able to ask the questions important to me. Then, as we crossed an exposed part of the rocky track, I was blown violently into the driver on the lower side of the hill – thankful he was in the right place to halt my movement. Completely lost my balance and grabbed the air and the ground without falling. The strength of the eddies and gusts were most surprising.
This was a simple 2.6 km return walk, and an easy walk but certainly not suitable for those with mobility or balance problems. Documents suggest the walk takes an hour. I believe we were there for longer – savouring the moments, feeling the environment. Just being.
With a driver who continued to surprise. I was the only obviously Australian on the bus; the others seemed to be tourists from Asian countries. Had we heard of Banjo Patterson, the driver asked. I responded with a yes but the rest were silent and looked blankly seemingly unaware they were being spoken to. Unperturbed, the driver explained the significance of Banjo and then began to recite his poetry. Starting with The Man from Snowy River followed by Clancy of the Overflow, he continued on to The Road to Gundagai before concluding with Mulga Bill’s Bicycle. I have a vague feeling The Geebung Polo Club might also have had an airing that day. The driver’s pacing and intonation was excellent, and I was impressed with his memory and delivery. My fellow bus travellers persisted with searching their mobiles for god knows what. Seemingly it was a cultural expression too weird, too unexpected, and too foreign. For me it was an additional element in a package of accidental experiences; one that layered riches onto my visit.