longexposure January 16th, 2013
When the lake level breaches the threshold of this structure, the sound must be unimaginable. A volume of water the area of the lake surface, dropping a hundred metres vertically before blasting through the massive tunnel beyond the dam wall.
I knew this place was in the middle of nowhere, but I don’t think I really appreciated how long it would take to drive that last push through the mountains. Miserably winding alpine roads were an unpleasant change from the long stretches of high-speed highway, with more wildlife on the roads than ever. A necessarily late afternoon timing meant kangaroos bouncing suicidally into the road, eager to join their smashed relatives across the bitumen. The final fifty kilometre loop of undulating dirt at least let me pretend I was a rally driver for a bit.
On finally arriving, though, with the funnel mouth easing into view, it was worth it, and worth having ventured so far from civilisation in general (I don’t think ski resorts count as civilisation). Thumbing its nose at geography, creating a new topography, this structure is something truly worthy of awe.
I think my own thoughts were something like “wow, this is really big.”
The classic approach to this place is to abseil in, which really would be something, but I was travelling light and had no such gear on hand. Lesson learned: don’t leave home without everything you own.
Curiosity satisfied, and alpine roads quickly becoming a memory, I was left with a thought: Australia has two of these spillways. I plotted a route to the other.