|Nature's Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia|
The sun wasn't that hot. The track wasn't that long. The going wasn't that tough.
And yet, all along the short walk to Nature's Window, people were dropping like flies.
Despite the detailed warning signs above the steep staircase accessing the track below the gorge rim, the walk to Kalbarri National Park's favourite attraction looks deceptively easy.
|View from Nature's Window over Murchison River, Kalbarri National Park|
Nature's Window is a mere 400 m (1312 ft) from the car park. AND hikers straggling along the track towards the knot of people on the ridge below are clearly visible from the trailhead. AND the light breeze above the rim keeps the temperature mild.
So who WOULDN'T assume they could knock this walk over in shoes more appropriate to, say, streetwalking?
Without water?? A hat??? Or a reasonable level of fitness????
|From Nature's Window Ledge, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia|
Below the rim, the temperature in the gorge is much higher and the sun beats down mercilessly with no breeze to cool the air. It's hot. It's stuffy. And the return walk is relentlessly uphill all the way.
Just like the warning sign said.
But surviving Nature's Window is easy.
Wear real shoes.
Take your time.
And don't, under ANY circumstances, attempt the walk with a hangover!
Or use the countless spring wildflower photo opportunities as an excuse for multiple rest breaks ...
While awaiting our turn for the obligatory Nature's Window photo, the staggering view of the Murchison river far below, lazily curving around the rocky spur on which we stood was a momentary distraction from the bickering English honeymoon couple already in the fast lane to divorce.
And the backpacker with an impossibly complex camera that would have captured the amazing panorama superbly had he actually known how to use it.
And the bogan family from hell endlessly conversing about the sneakers they'd be buying when they got to Bali …
|Spot Nature's Window carpark from the Loop Lookout! Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia|
A few kilometres away, the Loop Lookout put Nature's Window into perspective. And also showcased the aggressively scenic – with a far greater risk of heatstroke – 8 km (5 mile) Loop trail winding down to the river below and starting and ending at the Window car park.
Next visit we'll take the necessary precautions to walk the Loop trail! Leave early in the morning. Carry food and water. Wear appropriate clothing. Don't walk with hung over backpackers. And leave the stripper shoes at home ...
|Another cliché shot of Nature's Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia|
But for now, we're content with surviving Nature's Window!