I must be getting on the time zone ‘cos I stayed in the tent until 05:00 this morning. That just meant that I had to rush to pack up my tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag again. I discarded the wrapper (it’s not really a bag) for the mat; it was getting in the way and didn’t help pack it. Once again, my tent and sleeping bag didn’t fit the other half of my bag’s lower deck so the tent went in the car alone. I may not be using the sleeping bag’s compression straps severely enough. After all, the tent can’t get any shorter than the pole bag therein.
We were on the road by about 06:30 and were aiming for a lengthy drive north to a gorge just beyond Marian. En route, after filling up with fuel, we had a slightly more successful side detour than yesterday’s to the Lawrence Wetland Reserve favoured by birders. There were a few dragonflies to play with, though, and it made a pleasant leg stretch. One of them looked like a new species for me; a Palemouth (Brachydiplax denticauda).
By 13:00 we were approaching our destination but needed shopping. Happily, it being a Sunday, there was a shopping mall nearby complete with a Woolworths. Before shopping, Roy called our target site, Platypus Bush Camp, to check what facilities there were. Essentially the answer was none … well, limited. There was a “bush shower” [bush showers are not enclosed but open out onto the bush], though it was cold because of the total fire ban, along with four dunnies and a kitchen area but all sans power. Happily Phil had called in a bought a single burner gas ring with four cannisters of butane, so rudimentary cooking would be OK. There were no refrigeration facilities, though, so we had to be careful what we bought, intending to stay for three nights. I seem to be going vegetarian bush. Arghh!
Our soon to be genial host asked us to pick up three bottles of peach tea cordial for him. Hmmm. “Get one for yourselves”, he suggested. Roy and I bought red wine which doesn’t nee chilling.
Shopping over, we began our final approach. This should be home from home for me. Just look at it, we were heading for Finch Hatton Gorge. I couldn’t believe it, going to a gorge that appears to be named after one of my film heroes. I may get tears welling up in my eyes.
A few hundred metres from our destination we crossed a ford over a boulder-strewn creek. This, of course, was irresistible and we piled out. “Diphlebia!”, yelled Roy! I was getting into some of the Ozzie odo lingo by now and knew this was one of the species I was really hoping to see, a Rockmaster. This looked like perfect habitat for it. My companions have wellies but I had my trusty Peter Storm boots but there was nothing for it, they’d have to get wet. This is why they’d have to get wet.