*Sigh* I hadn’t realised that the email was sent to another address as well, which thankfully was still fully attended. The phone number also is still current.
My first request for a suitable weekend was foiled by a group of scouts camping onsite J. I have nothing against scouts, it was the thoughts of 50 kids running around and sharing the facilities, that turned me away. I persisted with a list of weekend dates, and found that my very next date was perfectly suitable for a weekend of solitude. We were booked.
The sites gates are locked, so please make sure you give the Camp Manager 1 hours notice of your arrival, so they can prep the site. We did not (my fault) and were parked at the front gates for awhile. We did wander in and have a look around though, so it wasn’t wasted time. Preparing the site for visitors involves unlocking the front gate, connecting power to the onsite pump for water, unlocking the kitchen, den and ablution block, turning on the fridge and cranking up the gas hot water for you. I was awe struck at the facilities you get for the money (per person per day … not per night) … full use of everything should you wish it. You can also hire a canoe for a day hire fee and cruise the Lake.
The facilities are fairly primitive but extremely functional … a lot of the goods and services that have produced them are donated … and the new Den (a fantastic shed the Glenn wished he owned) was provided by the Gambling Community Fund … it’s great to see that benefit from your recreational gambling … but it would be fantastic … because you read this blog entry … that you donated directly or encouraged a business to donate. The Scouts Camp could do with so much more than they have already. Their main storage building is riddled with white ants so no-one is allowed entry to it, but this is where they gain access to the electricity (via long leads) to the water pump. They could use some help there … electricity underground would be a great benefit … and removal (and replacement) of the storage area is a must. It’s an unacceptable risk to all those who have to use it. If you know of anyone with a working ride on mower they don’t need … donating it to the Scout Camp would be wonderful. They could use some better PFD’s (personal flotation devices … lifejackets), a little work done to their canoe trailer, some concreting done here and there, some toilet and shower repairs, a communal fire pit constructed, a chainsaw for timber cutting, some better storage for the kitchen and in the Den, and that’s just what I could see.
As with most places in the Lockyer Valley and surrounds, people have been flood effected in one way or another, and the Camp Manager is no exception, having lost everything themselves … they are still managing the Scout Camp with enthusiasm … and with what little they can provide themselves.
Did I mention they could use some help or donations? Yes … I’m on a mission to help them.
Now the actual reason I was there was to camp. Once the Camp Manager had finished the preparations for our comfort, we chose a spot to set up. Some 40 metres from the nearest power point (all the lead we had) and just below the flag pole on the parade ground. Surrounded by trees and with water view and we set up our site.
Above: dinning room ... Below: Kitchen
Loo block and main buildings
The next thing we did, was check out the Obstacle Course … which could also do with some work done and a few copper logs replaced. We did all of it. I don’t swing so well from the bars anymore, but the rest was fun. I was keeping an eye out for snakes the whole time though … it needs a good mow around it.
We then headed down to the lake and walked along the high water line … which is below everyones property boundary. Lots of black Swans on the lake, a Whistling Kite living in a large almost dead tree next door, Wood Ducks, some Eastern Rosella’s, and of course, the obligatory Crows, Magpies, Butcherbirds and Noisy Minors. The Lake is otherwise peaceful and rather still. The day, although a little windy, is perfect.
Lake Atkinson is, when full, 30,488 megalitres, and is used for irrigation. The wall is 2082m long and rather impressive in length from our side. It is stocked with Saratoga, Spangled Perch, Big Eyed Trevally, and Tarpon (some by the local fish stocking group).
The Other Side
As we turn to head back, we hear a remote controlled airplane off in the distance. We were warned that their was an enthusiast in the area. We are in awe of his ability with the planes. When one gets hot, he swaps it for another. I really can’t believe what he’s getting them to do. Wonderful to see. And although we can hear them fairly well, they aren’t overly loud, and I think it’s much better than Doof Doof any day. Also, I don’t think he can fly them at night. J
Darn! Forgot we planned to have a Lamb roast for dinner, so head back to season the roast. Rosemary, garlic and chilli. Yum! We will need to have it cooked and eaten before sun down and it gets cold. The camp manager had suggested it may get down to -3C and frost, as it did last week.
Glenn decides that we will hire a canoe, so we head up the Den to see how heavy they might be, as we’ll need to carry it quite a ways to the water. We also need to find the key to the lower gate. Glenn thinks they are fairly light and starts pulling one down for us to use, while I hit the kitchen in search of that key. He heads back to grab the ute so we can easily transport it to the lakes edge. We get in a ½ hour canoe ride, and find that we paddle well together without even thinking about it. It’s wonderfully relaxing.
Alas, we need to head back and get that fire started. As the sun sets, I head back to the waters edge for a shot of the sunset over the water, while Glenn pretends to be sleeping in his comfy chair. It’s really peaceful and beautiful. There are caravan parks on the other side of the Lake, and someone has bought their boat. You can hear them way off in the distance through the day, but they aren’t intrusive at all. Right now though, the camp lights are starting to twinkle from across the lake.
That's the camp in the background.
Dinner is well under way, and we manage to eat just before the sun disappears completely. Now all that’s left is the relaxing, but really we’ve been doing that all day. I’m so looking forward to a hot shower and having the heater going inside the camper whilst it’s cold outside. I decide to take a photo of our campsite at night with all the stars in the background. I think it worked out well.
Next days dawns sunny, clear and still. We are awoken by the gorgeous sounds of Magpie calls from the front of our camper. It’s like they are right inside with us, but we find they are spying into our rubbish bag. Glenn scares them off, but they don’t stray far, and their singing calls continue. It’s a family of 2 adults and 3 well developed chicks. It must have been a good season for them to have that many babies. Best sounding alarm I’ve had for awhile.
After coffee in bed, it’s bacon and eggs for breakfast. We have about 10 sets of eyes watching our every move. All are hoping for some scraps I’m sure. I’m not sure how well they would take to bacon fat, but they all get a share of my egg yolks, and poor Glenn misses out this time. The Butcherbirds are very pushy, but the baby Maggies stick up for themselves rather well.
We go for another paddle around the Lake, which takes us almost an hour … even though it doesn’t feel like that at all. Back at camp once more, we lounge around in the sunshine for a while. Its great watching the birds frolic, the swans swimming on the lake, listening to the RC airplanes in the distance ... very relaxing … really. Still have to put that canoe away though. After we’ve done that, it’s time for lunch … then we’ll have to pack things away. Glenn and I both agree that’s always the worst part of our camping trips … packing it all up to go home. Not sure why, but it always seems to take twice as long as setting up … sometimes even longer.
Just before we pack the last things away and close the camper up, I give the Camp Manager a call, so they can come and lock things up. Back on the road by 1415 alas
Trip Kilometres: 167Trip Duration: 48 hours