Nitmiluk Day 1

Hey again. I was doing a two day hike in the beginning of the week in Katherine Gorge, Nitmiluk National Park. So now I’m just transcribing what I wrote the first night I camped there.

Inexperienced and unfit I made it. Walked around 50km in two days, with a backpack. So here we go:

I have just finished watching the sunset over the eight gorge and I’m sitting in my tent alone writing this. Darkness is soon upon me and I can hear a buzzing sound of the insects outside. Right now I feel a little bit of fear (First time camping alone in middle of nowhere), lonely but quite content and satisfied that I was able to make it this far.

Challenge

To start of my story I have to rewind a little bit. It started when my employer told me that he wasn’t going to put me on the schedule this last week in Katherine. So what was I supposed to do? Katherine is not the most exciting town to be in. I have been wanting to take a hike in the gorge for a very long time and this was my chance.

This was suppose to be an adventure, a challenge and a small test for myself. In a way this opportunity was perfect. My gf is working and I don’t know anybody else who wants to do a hike in the gorge. Freedom. I like to be alone and I always wanted some hiking experiences.

My plan was to hitch hike to the gorge, walk to the end, do all the gorges on my way back and hitch hike back to society. Easy and simple.

Way out

I started to let people know because people asked me about it and I was looking forward to it. It was getting a little bit nervous the closer the moment came. And honestly I got a lot of excuse if I decided not to do it. My gf wanted to do the hike as well. So I could have waited for her to do it together at the end of the week. People offered to drive me there. (But hitch hike was suppose to be an experience in itself so I kindly declined). They offered me to borrow their car. My employer ask me if I wanted more hours in the last minute. Everything would have made it easier or have been an excuse I could have taken.

Off I go

Finally the day arrived and I was prepared. I took my backpack and hit the road. I didn’t hold up my thumb at first. Don’t really know why. I felt hesitant for some reason. A part of me said just do it! So I did it. The first car just drove past. The second car drove past. So I kept walking. Didn’t hold my thumb up for a couple of cars. Thought like, ”What if I don’t get picked up?” started to arise. I ignored those and started to put my thumb up again. Then a waste car stopped and asked me where I was going. The gorge, I told him. Common in. So I jumped up and he drove me to the gorge. Awesome, first challenged done!

Apparently I had to register if I wanted to do an overnight hike. So I did that and paid a deposit. The lady gave me some information and I asked for a map and then I was set to go.

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It was really a beautiful day to take a hike. Not a cloud in sight and a gentle breeze. Everything felt good.

I changed my mind and decided to do the butterfly gorge today and then walk to the eight gorge. I walked to the beginning of the gorge and started to head down. Apparently it was some kind of rainforest vegetation, so it was really nice to get into the shade. It was almost like some kind of ”the lost world” movie. Where they are looking for a lost civilisation or some myth and they have to walk through some tropical forest. It reminded me a little bit of Karijini.

Halfway down I started to see butterflies. With a little bit of imagination I could almost believe that they were showing me the way when they fly there in front of me. This, was how a hike is suppose to be like. Too soon I arrived at the end. The trees started to get fewer and in the front I started to see the river and the main gorge. It was almost to perfect.

The river was in a dark blue colour and as a frame I saw 30-40m steep cliff on both side of the river, racing towards to sky. It was so calm and peaceful. If I would have time I would have been staying there the whole day. But I had my plan and other things to see so I ate my lunch and started to head back again to the interesection.

Minions of hell

I was heading for the eight gorge. Everything was fine. Then the next moment I was surrounded be millions of flies. They were buzzing around me and some of them bit me. I was going crazy! At least the track was easy, pretty plain and wide. I picked up a branch with leafs and hade to swing it back and forth in front of my face. It was like if the devil himself was trying to stop me from finishing my quest.

But I had decided what I wanted I nothing was going to stop me so I continued on. My backpack felt heavier and heavier, almost like the flies was dropping stones in my backpack. I was starting to feel tired and thirsty. But I kept going and I reached the next leg. I had reached the start of Jawoyn valley. I decided to set up camp and then do the walk later. Only two km left and let me tell you. This was the longest two km I ever experienced I didn’t even notice the enviroment the only thing I concentrating on was to set one foot in front of the other.

Salvation

The flies start to become fewer. And I just kept on going until I finally arrived at the eight gorge. This was almost the same as butterfly gorge but different. The the tropical forest just climb the cliffs down to the river. By the river I drank and ate and relaxed. It felt like heaven. Took a swim. No other living soul. Just me and nature. Can you imagine? I stayed there for a while and rested. Then I looked for the campsite and set up my tent. After that I went on a walk back in time. I was going to look for the ancient aboriginal painting that were in the Jawoyn valley.

There was no problem this time. With no backpack I moved much faster and during dusk it was less flies. I took the walk into the valley. And imagined aboriginal 7000years ago had walked the same path. Saw two paintings and then headed back to camp. Took a last look over the eight gorge and here I am. Sitting alone in my tent writing about my day.

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