Kununurra! Holy Shit! And the Beginning of the Gibb

  • 11/21/18
  • Time: 08:01HR
  • Weather: 93 sunny/ 51% Humidity
  • Wind: NW 8mph
  • Elevation: 59m/193ft
  • Coordinates: 15.7708S 128.7376E

Kununurra! Holy Shit! Gibb River Road prep packing in the AC of Georgie Chisms house in Kununurra. Last night she took us out on her boat, went freshie spotting with a big torch! Saw first freshie! Swam in beautiful warm water, crushed beers on the boat. Grilled out. Got new boots @ shelf supply store, kinda a ranch apparel store.waiting on a chain slide to be flown in for Axel’s bike should arrive on 1pm delivery. Killer breaky of acai bowl iced latte. Drank w/ Australian Cowboy last night. Aussie bars are funny as hell. Biking is rough, I’m terrible. Bought 20L jerry can to make the 400km+ trip to Gibb River Station. Should be fun afternoon!

There are somethings about this trip I wish I could forget. Like how I complained way more than I should have about being a terrible motorcyclist. I also wouldn’t mind forgetting a few of the crashes I took. But something I never want to forget is the feeling of diving head first into the warmest lake water I’ve ever been in knowing full well that there are crocodiles in the water. That being said, they were just freshies. On Georgies boat we cooked steaks and hot dogs, chugged beers, and for a brief moment forgot all about the road. Kununurra was a beautiful small town with a pretty rugged vibe. Poised at the north eastern mouth of the Gibb, it acts as a gateway guarding the path. The town people took the roll seriously and we were told not once but at least 10 times about the same two deaths that had occurred out in the Kimberly on the Gibb in recent weeks. This only seemed to embolden Axel and Mia’s sense of adventure while I become significantly more nervous about the whole prospect. Driving off into the Australian outback felt more and more like driving off the edge of the world.

The day leading up to our departure for the Gibb were perhaps some of my favorite of the trip. We heard more about salties the much larger cousin the freshie, both crocodiles, than we did at any point on the trip. Stories of 15-18fts haunting local docks and boat landings. Tails of idiot tourist getting grabbed after wadding into the rivers unsuspectingly. But although we heard all about them we never did see one, much to my chagrin. Something about a man obsession with the macabre and the deadly would fit nicely here but I think its easy to understand my disappointment with not seeing a salt water croc from afar. It was here in Kununurra were Mia and Ax both fit themselves accordingly with genuine outback hats made from kangaroo and were I copped Ax-Mans OR sunhat, once again, much to my chagrin.

The road was waiting and we were eager. Georgie set us off with clean laundry, a full belly, and a quick tour of the surrounding area before we were off and headed to the dirt track watching the bitumen disappear behind us. From this point on, for me, the trip became far more real as we slipped further and further away from what felt like civilization. For Ax and Mia I think this is were things just started getting fun.

11/22/18

  • Time: 18:51HR (its dark)
  • Weather: kinda windy, hot sweaty and clear skies
  • Elevations: 1409ft/ 429.67m
  • Coordinates 16.9170 125.7737

On the Gibb River Road! And its hot as hell I’m pouring sweat while I write this the page is smudged w/ dirt. Road dirt for the first time these last two days, one big river crossing. One near fall @ 60kph, that was rough, I kicked the ground. Learned dhow to siphon gas out of a 20l jerry straight to my tank, all the water holes are dried up, headed to Cape Lavik tomorrow 300km on dirt.

Three days on the Gibb for me was summed up in a single entry. But it hardly does it justice. This was my first time riding on dirt, my first time crossing water, my first time seeing roos! On night one I was charging away from our river cross towards our camp for the night. The road cut through a forested area with a large clearing in the middle and in the middle of the clearing was a large bull. Cattle in Australia are all on the open range there are hardly any fences. So when I crushed through the clearing and stirred up the big bull he was all but furious when Axel came through after me. The bull charged Ax and Axel for a brief moment thought he was gonna be crushed under angry hooves. With a little luck he made it past and we found ourselves spreading out looking for a good space to make camp for the night. The air temp was up near 90 and 100% humidity. The ground was hotter than the air and made walking incredibly uncomfortable after the consistent breeze of being on our bikes. But clouds had started to gather in the sky above our heads and our hopes were raised and for a little rain.

Rain clouds start to gather over the Kimberley in WA

But on the Gibb rain does more than inspire hope for cooler temperatures. It also sends chills of fear down your spine because one of the dangers of the Gibb is the rains. From November to May is the wet season in Western Australia and in this arid landscape when water falls it also runs. The soil doesn’t do much in the way of absorption which means that the rivers rise quick. So, once the rains start, the rivers that are peppered across the Gibb begin to rise and can trap unwitting travelers on islands surrounded by fast flowing water which may or may not contain salties. So when rain started falling that night cool us down, a bit of reality began sinking in as well, that our trip could get a whole lot longer than we planned.

Published by kjameshansen

Living life however it looks. I've got one eye and more ideas than I know what to do with. I'm currently living in Boulder, Colorado between adventures, but still managing to have more than the average bear.

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