A change of scenery

El Questro
Thursday, June 28, 2007

We decamped quite early and headed west to El Questro. The roads were dirt and a bit rough after all the rain and Adrian drives like he's doing a grand prix even when pulling a trailer. Sitting up the back is quite uncomfortable and bouncy and my neck is quite sore from the constant jerky movement.
We arrived at El Questro after being bounced around for 50kms on dirt roads - a lovely little oasis decked out with proper showers, a bar and a large communal fire area. We set up camp and rushed off again to walk Amalia Gorge.
We seem to always be in a rush. We no sooner finish breakfast than it is all packed away and a second coffee is out of the question. Adrian starts the bus engine to hurry us along before we even get all our gear together. No wonder we forget things like hats and sunscreen.
Adrian sets a cracking pace and most of the group manages to keep up, but I like my walks slow and steady, so I lagged a fair way behind. My right knee has never been the same since a skiing accident and an operation some years ago. A few times the lead group stopped and waited for the slow ones but as soon as we caught up they would take off again - not giving us time for a breather. Adrian also had a habit of starting a talk on the flora or fauna without waiting for everyone to be present.
I didn't really see the point of rushing, you don't get time to look at the stunning scenery or listen to the birds or absorb the peaceful atmosphere. Several times I stopped to take photographs and the group ended up way ahead - just as well the track was well marked. I didn't mind the solitude at all as some mindless gibbering can spoil an otherwise great walk. After a couple of kilometers we reached a beautiful waterfall and rockpool where most of the group went for a swim. It was a bit too cold for me but the BOSS braved the water. One of the guys nearly broke his neck by falling off the slippery rocks - just as well he wasn't hurt as getting him out of the gorge would have been a very hairy exercise indeed.
After lunch back at camp we rushed off once more to walk another gorge - Emma Gorge. Again the group raced off up the path and overtook a group of oldies from a different tour.  A few of us liked the pace of the oldies better and stayed back to chat to them. They had just come out of the Bungle Bungles which was good news for us. After another few kilometres walk over rocks we came to another waterfall and another rock pool. All the oldies stripped off and dived in but once again I stayed dry along with the whole rest of our mob.
GEM had words with Adrian about walking so fast and starting talks before all the group was together so he let the others go ahead and he stayed back and walked behind me. He really is inexperienced in this guiding stuff. It was even more annoying having him hurrying me up from behind so I purposefully slowed my pace even more and told him several times to go ahead of me but he wouldn't. In the end I just stopped and took some video and told him to get out of my shot. At last I was alone again and enjoyed the fantastic afternoon light on the gorge wall.
Back at the camp the BOSS and I enjoyed a great icecream and some quiet time away from the rest of the group. We had showers in very nice facilities and Adrian had cooked a very hot curry on our first open fire. It was lovely sitting around the campfire (although I would have loved to add the damned didgeridoo to the flames) and all that was missing was marshmallows. We went to bed early and froze - it was 5 degrees at night - our sleeping bags being woefully inadequate.

01 Amalia Gorge
Amalia Gorge
02 Amalia Gorge
Amalia Gorge
03 Amalia Gorge
Amalia Gorge
04 Very cool snake
Very cool snake
05 Emma Gorge
Emma Gorge
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