I don’t know what it was (maybe the large dinner just before our strenuous hike to see the sunset last night), but I was having terrible stomach pains last night. Every breath was painful. It felt like I’d been punched in the guts. Anyway, horrible night sleep, so I wasn’t feeling so fresh this morning. But, at least the pain has gone away!
We tried to leave nice and early, but didn’t start hiking until closer to 9AM – temperatures were already starting to rise… There are many hiking options available, depending on how keen/fit you are. We’re neither, so we went for the first of the longer hikes, the Windolf Walk. The usual route is up to the first lookout (the one we hiked last night), then through 2km of rather bland hiking, before joining another trail for another couple of kilometres of walking. We skipped that first section, and went for a flatter initial route (though, just as far to walk in total). For us it wasn’t a very exciting trek, but we pushed on through any boredom. I’m sure rock/plant/hiking enthusiasts love it, but I’m more about the view, and there wasn’t much to be had, especially since this is my second time doing this in the last 12 months (thank-you, Boeing).
The end of the official trail gives a beautiful view of the end of the first gorge. It’s rocky and large in all dimensions. Being the second time that I’ve been here and experienced it (and with all the canyon/gap/chasm/gorges that we’ve been seeing recently), I wasn’t as blown away and in awe. Don’t take it the wrong way, it’s a beautiful sight and worth a visit, just some of the lustre had worn off.
There is a trail from the end of the walk, Pat’s Lookout, that takes you down to water-level. It looks like they’ve tried to stop people using it (it’s not on the maps, and the first few trail markers have been removed), but the trail is still easy enough to follow, and there is nothing stopping you walking it (or requesting that you don’t access the area), so we climbed (and, really, in places it was like easy rock climbing) down to the bottom of the gorge.
From the bottom we could follow the shore to a small set of rapids that we could use to cross to the other side of the gorge. There are some rock paintings, but it was quite difficult to make them out. There is also a nice swimming hole, but by the time we’d sat in the shade and had a small lunch break we were feeling quite cool, and not really in the mood for a swim in cold water (and wet clothes for the return trip).
There is a small pontoon near the jetty for the tour boats that you are allowed to swim from, so still hot from the hiking, we had a quick dip (well, I did, I had to coax Risa out) and returned to our campsite for some lunch and well deserved rest and relaxation.