Monday. Day nine. 0945. Middle of the desert. Love it. Just passed four camels. Going up and over sand ridge at the minute. Have decided to push down the gas pipeline track to see if I can avoid the rough track back. Working on a hunch that there will be a track in from Mt Cecil back to Warrawagine.
This morning was a bit of a non-event. Very cold. Lot of moisture around. Was the usual story about the bear and the moose. Look out for the bear and the moose will get you. Was worried about dingoes when I went to bed last night. Got up this morning at 0425 and just as I was about to head off noted a herd of camels blocking my path. Couldn’t see the bull so took care and gave them a wide berth. But kept walking toward my destination. About a half an hour in noticed that there was cloud on the eastern horizon and likely to bugger the photo. That proved correct. In fact it was a thick fog pushing in from the east rapidly. Climbed to my chosen spot but got nothing so then made my way back to camp. The camels let me know they were around before I got a visual. Could hear that all-too-familiar gurgle that they do in their throat. So now just taking care not to get stuck on sandhills given the extra weight inn the trailer. But fun. Love it out here.
Did a radio interview with the ABC Rural Report just prior to leaving last night’s camp. Lucie Bell. Nice girl. Was funny doing it from the middle of the desert given that it was a bit of a miracle that I was getting signal.
2130. Just pulled up for the day. That turned out to be a very big day, though mostly fun. Decided to follow the gas pipeline track not marked on the maps to get out thinking that I could then track west and pick up a track leading into the station. Idea was to protect what are new tyres on the vehicle from the many stakes.
Well that idea was a fail. Ended up costing me nearly 300 kilometres to get back to the station and countless sandhills. The only downside was the countless stopping to secure the motor bike on the trailer I was towing. No matter how hard I ratcheted it down the undulations and countless juvenile termite mounts on the track that I kept hitting shook it loose. At one stage I lost the tail-board of the trailer which necessitated a retrace of about eleven kilometres - pain in the bum - and then back again. I came out somewhere near Telfer and then had another 150 or so kilometres just to get to the station homestead.
However, the sense of isolation and freedom amongst the sandhills was wonderful. I only got anxious when I thought I would come out at Telfer and that would have meant I’d reach the station after dark. Passed another four camels early in the drive and then settled into sandhill after sandhill. Was a bit concerned at first because towing trailer and carrying weight, but turned out to be okay as had dropped the tyres to 20psi the other day because of the thick sand I was passing through.
Country looked not too bad though have seen it more lush. That was back in 2011 after heavy summer rains.
Jumped into the Oakover River on the way back to the station for a wash. Water freezing cold but invigorating nevertheless.
I’m fortunate to be able to do what I do. Settling right back into the swing of things up here. Love this country. Had a nice meal at Warrawagine with Scott and Annette and they’ve said I’m okay to use the trail bike again when I come back in ten days or so. Scott commented that the last few days were as cold at night as he had seen it out in this country in the last 12 years. Was good to see them again after a couple of years. They offered me a bed for the night but I declined. Now that I’m back in the swag, even if I’m not getting a lot of sleep, it’s good to stay in the groove.
Shortly to bed. Need to map out a plan to accommodate the adverse weather coming later in the week. Bit unusual. But flexibility is key out here.