My arms are splayed to each side and I have each hand gripping a protruding rock tightly. My left foot is wedged on a tiny ledge on the left rock wall while my trembling right foot frantically searches for a stable foothold on the right-hand side. This is the Spider Walk in Hancock Gorge at Karajini National Park. The Gorge walls are so close together here that you have to ‘spider’ crawl your way along the walls and over the chute of water churning below. My heart was literally in my mouth and I was operating on pure adrenaline (scared shitless). I’m sure my pounding heart was echoing down the chasm but my spidee senses kicked in and I thank goodness that I was born with long legs.
I’m not an adrenaline junkie, this was just part of the ‘class 5’ walking trail into Hancock Gorge to see Kermit’s Pool, and I point blank refused to let that little bit of fear prevent me from getting there. Kevin was fine; he thrives on danger and does it with a big grin (it’s a man thing).
Prior to this we had just completed an equally daunting descent into Handrail Pool in Weano Gorge. Aptly named as you need to grip a plummeting handrail secured to the gorge wall to descend extremely steeply to an icy pool below. I thought it couldn’t get any worse than that in Hancock Gorge. I was wrong. But when it was all done and done safely – what a totally awesome, exhilarating day.
I’m so glad we didn’t leave this trip until we retire when we would have no longer been capable of such adventure. We are on the cusp now with knee issues and balance being not quite what it once was. Each step these days is done with a lot of thought and both these walks required a lot of mental fortitude and strength. Making like a mountain goat on skinny rock ledges and slipping and sliding over slimy submerged rocks an icy cold stream that never sees the sunlight. I do love a good adventure.
Karajini National Park is lovely and the walks range from a mild ‘class 2’ to the somewhat challenging ‘class 5’ (although young kids were doing the number 5’s and I only saw one cut knee). The myriad of Gorges in the Park all have lookouts on the gorge rim to see the views (for those not up to the challenges with a number 4 or 5) but it’s a little bit thrilling to descend into the arteries and veins of the gorges, wade or swim the bitterly cold water and be dwarfed by those staggeringly high iron rich walls closing in around you. It makes you feel alive and gives a connection to the heart and soul of this beautiful, well-hidden landscape. Stunning place is Karajini.
The days are sunny and warm; not quite warm enough to submerse yourself in icy water (but we do it anyway because you just have too), but the nights and early mornings are bitterly cold. The kind of cold that you don’t want to move from that toasty warm spot in bed at night and you wake up with crampy legs. I think we are starting to leave the North of Australia behind us now.