Star date: August 2004
"Do not go where the path
Go instead where there is no path
And leave a trail."
Hello Dear Family and Friends!
We are traveling down our own path, away from "the norm". It is who we are. Who we have always been.
It is easy to go where there is "no path" in Western Australia. This is wide open country. So much space and so few people. It feels like you have entered another dimension. It starts with crossing the state border. Time changes 1 1/2 hours! Go figure. The dry outback landscape has been changed by a large dam on the Ord River. This created the largest "inland sea" in Australia, Lake Argyle. The water from this massive lake has turned the area around Kununurra into lush farming land. We stayed on the river near BarraBarra mango and veggie farm. We were lucky enough to happen on to a local Aboriginal festival serving kangaroos stew for all and dancing in the park after dark. It could have been anywhere. A not so good local band, a few people dancing, others mostly talking and having a good time. We spent a long time talking with a 38 year old Aboriginal man who drives trucks at the massive Argyle Diamond mine. He has risen above the rut of substance abuse that so many of his friends are stuck in. He knows that there is so much to be done to help these lost people, but what?? The same question arises everywhere that substance abuse is prevalent, irrespective of the color of skin.
From there we headed to the local swimming hole, Molly's Spring. Gorgeous! (After driving 32 kms through the hot outback towards Broome, you turn right down a side road (almost 4 x 4) after Yearling Creek.) Hidden back in the escarpment is a waterfall with a cold, clear pool underneath. We spent 2 nights there and only had other people there the last evening, (so we just drove out further across the savannah). Joseph hiked up to the mountain above one morning and we both climbed up the falls the next day and luxuriated au natural in the double pools on the edge where the waterfall cascades 50 ft down to the rocks below. The evenings were magical. We had a large fire and cooked our meals. There we sat in our chairs, in love, mesmerized by the magic of the fire, a large golden harvest moon, twinkling stars, the stream gurgling behind us, a gentle breeze, and crickets and frogs chirping in chorus. Does it get any better??? We keep asking ourselves this question and then we happen on to another amazing place or experience. Australia is definitely a remarkable and unique place.
The Aboriginal people have been here for 30,000 years or more. We find many ancient Aboriginal cave paintings on our explorations. In this area only, there are also the Bradshaw cave paintings. While the Aboriginal paintings are roundish and simple in design the Bradshaw art is quite delicate with figures being tall and elegant. Very distinct and different. They have been carbon dated to 18,000 years, making them some of the oldest in the world. Some of the figures even have head dresses that are associated only with tribes in Africa and other far places. This remains a mystery to scientists and archeologists. Who knows where they came from? And where did they go? The world is full of exciting mysteries such as these. Egyptian artifacts in the Grand Canyon? African drawings here? A good series of books are titled "Forbidden Archeology" by R. Cremo. Have a look. We will read the one we brought on Asia before we head to China.
One of our favorite trees up here is the boab. This tree is only found in Africa and Madagascar, (and it is up here near these rare African-type cave paintings????) The boabs are fat, enormous trees with, what looks like the roots coming up from the top of the tree. When we were in Tanzania, Africa, they had a myth about a god getting mad at the trees and planting them all up side down! That's how they look. And they grow in clusters or "family" groups. With an imagination like ours they quickly take on all sorts of roles and characteristics. For instance we parked next to "Bob" one night. Bob offered us shade in the late afternoon and dropped a couple of his nuts on our roof during the night. We opened the nuts and took the dried pulp and mixed it with water. It is high in Vitamin C. We made boab chai ( tea from India) and enjoyed it the next morning with our breakfast. Bob was a real buddy! Oh! Oh! Are we starting to sound like Tom Hanks in Robinson Crusoe?
Highlights were: jumping into the deep cool pool at the Grotto after a hot hike in; finding farm fresh fruits and veggies in the middle of the outback; the owner of the Wyndham Croc farm that looked like a croc when he smiled; the tacky 60 ft concrete croc in Wyndham with the plaque showing where 12 people had been "taken by crocs" in the area (pays to be really careful when near the water!); the Afghan cemetery, where Afghan settlers, who provided important transportation links with camels in the 1800's are buried - the graves are large because the lead camel was often buried with his master (maybe Bin Laden is here, Bin who????); after breaking down in Turkey Creek making it back to Kununurra and feeling the kindness of the local folks at the Telecentre Network, the library, the pool, the local grocery store. Gunter, in Darwin, shipped a recon motor and the Blue Dragon had a heart transplant. (when life gives you lemons make lemonade!) Perth or Bust!!
And so it goes on the road...................... We think of you often and send you our love across the miles. We hope that this finds you all happy, healthy, and making new paths once in awhile. Thanks for the great emails that keep us in touch with those we care about. Take care and Keep Smiling!!!
Love, xoxoxxoxo Nancy & Joseph
A cool dip under the falls at Molly's Spring.
Relaxing pools above the falls.
"Bob the Boab".
We weren't the only ones who saw boabs as friends.
A cave full of Aboriginal paintings.
They arrived in a cloud of dust then disappeared down one of the many 4x4 Outback roads. Married 57 years, still enjoying life and making their own trails! Good on ya!