Tuesday, 8 January 2013

River Pool on Silent Hill

Rothbart and the Toad King
For a couple of years now I’ve driven past a road sign pointing to a river pool, with a picture of someone swimming. Every time I saw it I imagined a deep still rock pool, or possible natural rock slides under waterfalls like the ones I grew up swimming in. I had a rare couple of hours free the other day, so on the spur of the moment I turned off and headed down the highway to the pool. It felt like a mistake very quickly.
Burned out abandoned ute? CHECK.
The signs quickly pointed me off the highway and down a narrow winding dirt road through the mountains. The speed limit was 30 kmph but every now and again a huge truck rumbled by in a cloud of dust at 80 or 90, overtaking me on a road barely wide enough for a regular car but somehow not plunging off the edge into the ravine. I was fearful of the surface and dark rainclouds began to close it. I started having flashbacks to a traumatic experience when we tried to dive to a campsite high in the mountains and got stuck on an impossibly narrow winding road with a sheer cliff on one side and forest on the other. I felt like I might get stuck in the same situation, but I decided to give it another ten minutes before turning back, and just as the time was up I saw a sign for the pool.
Rather than the rock pool I had imagined, it was more like a regular outdoor swimming pool beside the river, although on closer inspection it seemed that the water would feed in from the river when the pool was open.
The river
Promises of fun
but no fun to be had
The combination of remote mountain location and complete silence except for the crows somehow made the bright colours and dry shower heads seem sinister.
I pulled google maps up on my phone to see if there I could keep going and come out the other side of the mountain rather than going back the terrifying way I had come, and lo and behold it turned out that the road I was on climbed the mountain and joined with the very same frightening track we’d got into trouble on looking for the campsite. The way back was scary, but nothing on the danger of continuing into the forest! I turned around and rode home.
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  1. The video definitely illustrates the creepiness you speak of...


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