Day 16: Emma Gorge to Bindoola Falls - Katherine to Perth 2022 - CycleBlaze

August 3, 2022

Day 16: Emma Gorge to Bindoola Falls

I had a very quiet and peaceful night, admiring the stars once the mosquitoes had died down a bit, and the crescent moon had set. 

I wasn’t in that much of a rush to get to Enma Gorge around 7 so watched the sunrise, made breakfast near the creek and then headed up the hill. There’s a water crossing heading into Emma gorge but I could walk the side again. It was quite discombobulating to ride into the middle of the resort breakfast service. I paid my $12 for a  permit, used their lovely and convenient toilets and set off on the “challenging” walk up the gorge. My bike shoes were a bit slippery but I figured I  had a several decade advantage on most people eating breakfast that could compensate.

Creek on the way up the gorge
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Turquoise pool
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Emma gorge waterfall - the pool is too big for the photo!
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I was the first one in the water, of the eight of us there that arrived around the same time, so I had it to myself, lying back and watching the water droplets fly over the edge of the cliff. It was very cold. 

I didn’t stay too long as I’m keen to get going but it was also a good move cause at least 80 people must have passed me going the other way. It was a big pool but not that big! 

I stopped for a coffee & muffin & internet and will ride out west now, see how far I get!

I rode out from Emma Gorge into a little bit of a headwind which was not in the plan. Still, the escarpments running along the northern side of the road were worth taking a long look at. There was a caravan convention at the El Questro turn off. I stopped to see if there was signal but there wasn’t. I did collect a lot of admiration from a group of women on a tour though. 

After the turn off, traffic died down considerably. The second car to pass me stopped in front of me, and as I was looking suspiciously at it, the driver said “hey Clare”. Turned out to be Ricky, one half of the couple who had given me ice cream in Wyndham. He and his travelling companion (exact relationship unclear) Karen were in two vehicles because they don’t live together and came up different ways. Karen has decided she doesn’t want to drive the Gibb so went left from El Questro to take the sealed road. Ricky was sticking to plan to spend four weeks on the Gibb! 

The “gravel road” sign passed quickly by as I kept rolling on new tar. The country opened up to the southern side with spectacular views. The new section of tar lasted a good few ks, then there was a section they’d graded down ready for tar, then the section they were working on with this crazy detour that didn’t seem big enough for two cars, let alone a caravan and a truck, but they made it work. A guy driving the water truck to damp down dust gave me a cold bottle of water and told me to make sure I camped out of sight of the road. 

After all these roadworks, I arrived at the Pentecost river. Ricky has pulled over just off the road so I could stop and have lunch with him. He even gave me his chair for an hour. There were lots of people camping up the river. There were no signs of crocodiles.

After a lovely sit in a chair and chat, I said farewell to Ricky, who’s planning to camp there a few nights, and pushed my bike across the crossing. 

I couldn’t quite keep my feet dry but my ankles didn’t get wet in the once mighty Pentecost
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Then it was onto the dirt Gibb, I thought. The 9k to Home Valley went pretty smoothly with only a few people on the road in the afternoon. Then soon after the home valley turn off the bitumen returned with a steep hill. I had to stop halfway up. It was steaming hot. I was approaching the lookout where I could see a big bus and dreaming about pulling up and them giving me cold water but they pulled out just before I arrived. All the tour guests waved at me from the window. Thanks for nothing.

The view from the lookout and a breeze and phone reception made me feel better
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It was very warm continuing on, as the breeze didn’t seem to be blowing on the hill. At least it was all bitumen through the range and down the other side. I was counting down kilometres to the Bindoola Falls Rest Area where Vince stayed. It was down a track leading off the middle of a parking bay. People had obviously driven down and camped. I pushed my bike further on to the rocks at the top of the falls.

Crap photo of lovely pool underneath my campsite
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I had spent too much time at the river so did not have time to explore, only to set up my tent on a tiny bit of sand, find rocks to weight it down and cook more pasta and pesto before the mosquitoes came out.

Rocky camp at sunset
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I did feel a bit more vulnerable I being in a publicly accessible and signposted area but obviously no one came down.

Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 1,012 km (628 miles)

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Vince McCarthyHi Clare. Did you swim in the pools? I washed but was too scared to swim in case of crocodiles.
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