We stopped upstream to dry off a little and to eat our late lunch. After being so chilled in the water it was lovely to bask on the sandstone slabs and warm up. Most people don’t go swimming in the gorges because the water is simply too cold to stay in comfortably for any length of time but I have a personal philosophy that if the water is there then it has to be gone into: fully submerged.
And, unfortunately for my poor husband, I mostly insist he adopt this policy. He isn’t as keen but I do not put up with his excuses – the man grew up in Canada, for God’s sake, and learnt to swim in glacial lakes. He insists that is the reason he isn’t keen now; I tell him that the water is much warmer here and he can ‘suck it up, buttercup!’
One of the reasons I think the immersing is important is because we don’t have showers with our bush camping. We carry a canvas reversible bucket and one side is used for washing dishes; the other for washing people, with the aid of soap, flannel and a discrete covering. You can get surprisingly clean with what I call a ‘whore’s bath’ but you can’t really wash your hair and that does accumulate a lot of dust so it is nice to go for a full body rinse. Not a wash. I would never, ever use soap or shampoo in a river system and, in the past, I have not been shy about telling off others who I’ve caught doing it.
Kalamina Gorge isn’t too steep to climb out of so we didn’t take too much time or get too hot and sweaty doing so; feeling fairly fresh, we decided to stop in at the Visitor’s Centre on our way back to the campsite. The Karijini Visitor’s Centre is operated by the Banyjima Aboriginal people, traditional owners of the land, and has a wonderful cultural interpretation display. The actual building itself is designed to look like a basking lizard from the air,
and is symbolic to the local people. The tail represents their history, the head the future direction of the traditional owners and the Law is centred. It has high oxidised iron walls to mimic the steep sided gorges within the Park; a feature which is also safety minded, due to the many bushfires that sweep through the area.
They have showers you can access (for a fee), a pay phone (cell phones do not work in the park) and a limited range of souvenirs and maps. And, also, ice-cream! Can you guess which we availed ourselves of?
Then back to camp in the late afternoon. Definitely beer o’clock and after the beer it was nap time.
I love camping so much.