With over 20,000 square kilometres of bush in Kakadu National Park, we chose to stay as close as possible to waterways; the thrill of simply filling my bottle from the fresh creek did not wane.
When we did have to ascend to the escarpment to get past an overhang, I noticed how instantly relieved I was when we came back to the river’s edge. Imagine those first white explorers, setting out from Sydney to see what they could find… the bush both delights and terrifies me, and water is an essential comfort.
As you can see, the views were stunning, and these are all unedited, with no filters, just snapped on my smartphone.
But I haven’t told you about the Big River Crossing Fiasco have I?
So ‘off-track walking’ means there’s no path; you have to meander/explore/experiment to get ahead. Luckily my companion had lots of energy and enthusiasm for both map-reading and ‘I’ll-just-leave-my-pack-here-and-see-if-we-can-get-through’ reconnaissance missions.
You can see it’s not an easy landscape at times.
And then the moment arrived when we decided we had to cross the river, as the walking looked gentler on the other side.
‘Let me go first,’ I said. ‘It’s about time I did some leading,’ I said. ‘I’ll roll my trousers up to my knees, hold aloft my boots & precious phone, and just wade across… it looks quite shallow here,’ I said.
Famous last words.
‘Ooh, the sandy bottom’s a bit soft, I’m sinking! No, wait, it’s OK, it’s just up to my knees, it’s fine… well, it’s halfway up my thighs, but that’s cool…’
‘It’s reaching my hips now, shit, my backpack’s going to get a bit damp on the bottom, but I’m halfway across…
‘Damn, up to my waist now, surely it can’t get any deeper; I’ll be damned if I’m turning back…’
‘No, I will NOT stop, so quit yelling at me… OK, it’s up over my chest, but I’m within 2 metres of the edge… and my boots and phone are fine…’
‘Made it! Hello? I made it, where are you? What do you mean “going back and the long way round”, you wimp. Fine, I’ll wait here and wring everything out, including my bra…’
Then after 2 mins walk, we realised we had to go back to the original side after all… and yes, we both went the long way round this time.
With gratitude for my stubborn streak, & the quick-drying Australian climate, G xO