We had decided on meeting for breakfast at 7 am; I had declared that I’d been up at 05:30 all week, still being a bit on Melbourne time zone and that we’d definitely be awake. At 06:55 Daniel elbowed me awake. I regretted having lost the chance at a sleep-in. Dion was not pleased to be up so early. Ben had been up for hours.
Breakfast at the Karijini Eco Retreat is a continental breakfast; you can upgrade to cooked options. There was a large toaster on a table next to a basket containing a selection of sliced breads and another basket with cold croissants. I dropped in two slices of white bread for me and cut a croissant in half for Daniel, and wandered off to collect butter, Vegemite and a plate. When I returned a Frenchman was frantically blowing into the toaster, in between urgent declaration of, “Fire!”. Dan’s croissant was aflame. One of the managers was very pissed off. I had not seen the sign instructing not to put the croissants in the toaster, that was on top of the cold food serving area on the other side of the toaster. “How was I meant to see that sign!?” I was chagrined, it was nowhere in view when I had looked at the croissants or the toaster. “You should put a sign on the toaster!” I retorted angrily. “It would melt!” The manager stormed off. I took Dan’s burnt toast back to him. Then I returned to put the sign in the croissants, where it would not be missed by anybody else. When we left somebody had helpfully put the plastic holder on top of the hot toaster and it had melted and was delightfully curved, like all the sedimentary rocks in the gorge. By Day 2 there was a smaller sign, not in plastic, on top of the toaster, and a second sign in the croissants.
Kalamina Gorge was beautiful, a lot of hiking relative to the availability of swimming. We hiked to the end, where there was a small pool and a natural arch. The water was cold but we were hot. We hiked back. That night it rained. No stars were visible as the clouds covered the sky.
The Frogs in the Toilet
One TripAdvisor review I’d read about the Eco Retreat had romanticised the presence of frogs in the outdoor bathroom of the deluxe eco tents. The A4 laminated information notice next to the toilet explained the waste water treatment process at the site, and how the presence of frogs reflected on the health of the system. It’s difficult to relax on the toilet when at any moment a slimy little frog might jump onto your bits but we settled into a disquiet co-existence. It was when we checked out that we learned the toilets were also housing snakes, coiled up under the rim of the bowl, waiting to eat frogs. If our toilet had had a snake, it didn’t mistake any of our dangling bits for a tasty frog. Perhaps that’s what the young girl’s screams were last night from across the camp.