Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life is like a box of chocolates, Don't miss out on the good bits before all that's left is the orange cream that no one likes.

Its been a while since I updated on the crazy world of CS. Its not that its been tame and there is nothing for me to talk about I think its that life has been a little too crazy and I have had a hard time slowing down. I like to remember the good times though and writing helps me with that, plus I hope to inspire others to join me on the CS path and create adventures of your own, or even just to visit me in Darwin and see what an amazing place I live in.

Possibly the last trip of the winter season was Koolpin Gorge last weekend. Apparently I have been here once when I was 10 but I have no recollection. I count it as a new experience and like all new experiences that first glimpse of something incredible makes it all worthwhile. It reminds me of the first time I saw the rocky mountains having been picked up from Calgary and driving through the flat plains, seeing the mountains appear over the horizon to me was one of the most intensely beautiful things I have seen. Growing up in Darwin everything is flat, dry and dusty. Now I was creeping up to this incredible horizon, with snow on the peaks and my breath was taken away. No photos could do this justice. Then after living there for 12 months whilst still being beautiful the magic was not as strong and I was inspired by the people that visited me and that sparkle in their eyes as they saw the beauty of the Rocky Mountains for the first time.

So for me Koolpin was magical, and when I saw the reactions of the surfers beside me as we crawled over the rocks dodging possible death by crocodile and the gorge came into view the whole world seemed to stop and I felt like I was seeing one of the most beautiful things in the world.
Koolpin, is not to be missed, ever.

Koolpin Gorge.

I have a hard time describing its beauty but it is up there and makes me understand why Kakadu is so prized. We also stopped that day at Ubirr my favourite rock art lookout with stunning views of the wetlands & Jim Jim falls now more like a trickle but incredibly gorgeous all the same.
Us jumping for joy at Ubirr Lookout.

Jim JIm. Not flowing but beautiful all the same.

It was a weekend of beautiful things, I realise how much I love Darwin and surroundings. How lucky I am to have such untouched wilderness within a few hours drive.
Ok this post is getting a little sappy.

Koolpin was also the last weekend we would get to spend with Philipp, a charismatic German surfer who secretly wormed his way into our hearts. Whoever his parents are they did an amazing job and I really have nothing to fault on this guy – except he is incredibly slow. Since I am impatient this doesn’t work to well and caused a few arguments by me. Anyway Philipp is a great guy and you would be lucky to meet him. Still I think he is bent on killing himself as I saw him jump from a height of about 30 metres. He mentioned the pressure on his knees was felt but other than that he was ok.

Spot the German Statistic...

We spent most of Saturday swimming and drinking beer.
The we explored a little further up the river and came to some nice waterholes behind the actual swimming gorge, in the lower pools near the campground there had been several big crocodile sightings and it was warned not to swim there.

The whole gang enjoying the beautiful water

View from the top of the falls.

Saturday night was were all the entertainment started, around midnight we headed down to the gorge for a swim. Its about a 20 minute walk and there are no sign posts, you follow the river and have to cross at some point but it goes back and forth and can get confusing. However we had no problems finding the gorge and decided to begin the night by jumping from the waterfall, about 15m high and a half hour walk through the bush and down a cliff to get to it. We started a fire by the water, had a shot of Johnny walker black and then four of us Philipp, Simon, Mick & I began the trek. Being pitch black and no moon, the stars were amazing but the walking was hard. Since we were jumping no one wanted to bring torches. Luckily I had a waterproof headlamp. So as the leader, drunk and falling over constantly it was a pretty eventful trip. We made it, despite one hairy part where we had to slide down a cliff ledge and for us shorter people (mick and I) it was a bit of a stretch but luckily everyone made it and then the four of us stood at the edge of the waterfall looking down at the blackness below us.

“Everyone has a number” Philipp said and assigned me number 2. (hehe) “When you jump and come back up shout your number out so we know everyone is ok” ok we shrugged all four of us jumping at the same time, this could be interesting.

Somehow in the dark no one hit anyone and the rush of falling 15m and not seeing where you were landing was exhilarating, if not for the half hour walk I would do it over and over again. As we all surfaced you could hear the shouts of happiness and ONE! ONE! FOUR! TWO! TWO! THREE!!! OW OW. Then we found out later Mick has leant forward to look and smacked his face on the water. Huge grins on our faces we swam back to the fire and warmed ourselves up, another shot of whisky all round. Philipp pulled out the guitar and we chilled out there in the gorge.

At some point we decide to call it a night and I walk back with Mick, Heidi (from Austria) and Daniel (an Army guy friend of my other friend). Daniel is leading which is good because I have NFI where I am, directions are not my friend. We are crossing some rocks and he drops the glass bottle of Johnny as he stumbles breaking it and slicing a huge chunk in his hand to the bone. He rips off his shirt and wraps it around the wound but the bleeding doesn’t stop and it starts to get frantic as he gets panicky. We are lost. “I know where we go we cut through the bush here and then over the ridge is the car park” He takes a turn from the water and next thing you know we are fighting the bushes, rocks & thorns as we walk blindly through the bush. I am trailing slowly at the back much to his disgust and whispering to mick “this is ridiculous we are walking through the bush of Kakadu at night. People die like this” Sadly I don’t want to be in the bush by myself so continue to follow.

20 minutes pass and the spot he told us we were heading to fails to appear, I finally just shout. “Stop this is retarded” he cuts down to the water, swearing only to discover the water is flowing in the opposite direction of what he though it should be. He is freaking out, the blood is still coming and I start to laugh. “Shut the fuck up Stop fucking laughing” he swears at me frustrated (I had been giggling most of the night). When I swear back “No you shut the fuck up relax, you got us lost, it sucks but being fucking angry about it isn’t going to solve the situation. To me this is hilarious, and tomorrow it will be a story. Everyone is relatively ok and that’s all that matters right now”
He and Mick sit down “We need to camp here tonight”

I look at him, his hand is still bleeding. “No this won’t work his hand needs bandaging properly. Lets back track Im sure I can find where we need to go Come on, follow me” I turn towards the way we came not really wanting to be on my own hoping they follow. They do. After about 2 minutes Daniel cuts down to the water to have a look, “Fuck” I hear.
“What’s up?” I cut down beside him “Oh shit, I know where we are”
“Me to” he mumbles “this is where we were supposed to cross”
And literally minutes from where we were about to camp is the path back to the campsite.

4AM I’m guessing we stumble back into the campsite and bandage Daniels hand up properly.

Still bleeding after an hour. the LIFE THREATNING wound ;)

We all crawl into bed tired, in pain but happy to be back.

I learnt, never expect a bleeding AJ to find your way home, never look down when jumping from high places, and stumbling over rocks at night carrying a glass bottle is a really stupid idea.

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