We went to Woods Reserves at the south tip of Canberra on Sunday with a large group of Chinese people. After a mouth-watering BBQ and banquet session, 3 men decided to set out to hike to the Gibraltar Falls while 3 wives was going to take the rest of family and drive there to meet them later. I was one of the wives and I was told that the hiking track was only about 2 kilometres distance from Woods Reserve.
So off they went, with their cameras and very limited preparation for a decent hiking. It is not supposed to be hard anyway. So we drove to the lookout of the fall, waited and waited….for almost 2 hours. They still didn’t turn up. The wives and family got a bit worried. The sun was going down, the chill was taking over the place in the mountain. The wives couldn’t imagine what bad things could possibly happen on 3 intelligent adult men within such a small range of mountain/valley scope. However, we realised that the walking track was closed from reading the sign at the other side of destination and the trail was rather rough and narrow, as well as pretty much adjacent to the cliff edge.
Vivian escalated the whole situation and added more tense into the whole scenario. She fell in sleep in the car initially then woke up crying and wouldn’t stop calling “dad” for about an hour, which was very unusual. I had to take her down to see the fall to distract her attention. It’s bit hard to manage to carry a 2.5 yrs old climbing up and down on a narrow cliff edge stony path. She was so upset (children often have more intuition than adult) that I started to feel very uneasy in the mind about my missing husband. I think this was the second time I had this feeling. Last time was in Thailand in 2000. My husband went out to the sea driving a motor boat on his own and the boat ran out the petrol, so he stayed alone in the middle of nowhere in the water for quite some time until I managed to get local guys to search him.
Anyway we tried to call them, which was of course a waste of time as we know, there would be no reception at all. We sent SMS, the same deal. One of the wives drove back to the Woods Reserve just in case they headed back. One wife even sent an email, asking me whether they would get the email. I rang the Namadgi Visitor Centre, they are closed on weekend. The father of one man went down the track and started to shout really loudly to the valley, trying to reach the son. I did too, so did Vivian. No, I don’t think we got any echo. I guess our next step would be calling the police if they still didn’t show up in the next half an hour.
Finally, One wife saw one of the men. However he was completely on the other side of the waterfall. He was trying to climb up on the edge of the cliff with all the falling waters. “What?? Spiderman?” At least we know they were still OK.
At least another 40 minutes of waiting. They came back safe and sound. One had pants a bit wet. Apparently they couldn’t find the walking track and had to climb up along the fall cliff to get back to the “mother ship”.
We were all relieved at the end. Vivian was happy too. Now I can’t bear the thoughts of all the bad possibilities. And I am glad that I don’t need to. Well, who can live without a tie in the world? Or completely free of all constraints and attachments?
P.S. The waterfall photos taken by my husband to show me that at least they had done something in their little adventurous journey.