We were lucky enough to have a second Queen’s Birthday public holiday this year thanks to the Lovely Anna Bligh (former Qld State Premier). We decided that we’d make it a 4 day trip instead simply because we could.
Having ourselves organised early Friday morning, we were on the road by 0810. The forecast for the 4 day break was occasional showers and storms for Saturday and Sunday, but we weren’t worried … they did say “occasional”. Traffic was minimal, so we made good time to site, arriving around 0945.Once in the front gate, there was no sign of our hosts, so we made our way to our campsite and set up. Since we were here for a good while, we were sure to come across Sue or Pete at the homestead or on a trail ride, so either way we weren’t too worried. We weren’t going anywhere so they’d be able to track us down easily!
After clearing away a few cow turds and positioning the camper just so, we got into setup mode and were quickly done and sitting back enjoying the serenity of our site. We’d had some fun deciding on our menu for the weekend … and some more fun trying to fit it all in our fridge / freezer … but were confident we wouldn’t starve … but now to decide what to eat first for dinner. We settled on chicken stir-fry, so now we needed to defrost the chicken portion. Once it was out and in the sink to thaw … how should we fill our days?Glenn has bought along some loppers with him this trip, so we could clear away some lantana and give ourselves easier access to the creek. And there were a few broken off lantana stumps around the campsite, so we set about making it more comfortable with the loppers. Once that was completed, it was time for a drink and a sit, then we’d hit the creek to ensure it was still there, which of course it is … we can hear it ... just.
Around 1125 after leaving a note on the table, using our newly made entrance to the creek bed, we head down and then make our way further along to find a suitable place to swim the dogs or at least get them very wet. Either way, we are enjoying the day, having a good time in the fresh air and loving life. We start to lose track of time which is fantastic … leaving our time in the capable hands of the position of the sun on yonder hills and filling the rest of our day with whatever tickles ones fancy.I’ve found an idea for our pantry that Glenn is putting into practise with his far better cutting skills – steadier hand perhaps? He’s bought some foam and we’ve been slowly working out where the mugs and most used pantry items should be placed, before cutting out their allotted positions. This way they aren’t rolling around, getting broken, and everything is always in its place. It’s a top idea, stolen from someone who stole the idea from someone and so on and so forth back to the original idea creator. It’ll be a work in progress for us until we have it just right though.
We’ve collected some timber on our wanders today. Being that the creek was in flood 18 months ago, there is ample timber about to keep a fire going constantly, but we collect just enough for tonight … which gives us something to do tomorrow.
Once the sun heads too close to the rise of the ridge, it must be time to start cooking dinner, so Glenn prepares the OzPig and I prepare the vegies for stir frying. I whip out the wok and dinner is on the way. We’ll be eating with what appear to be the smallest beetles I’ve seen in some time. They keep landing in my drink and I’m not sure they are completely edible, so I’m scooping them out rather than watch them back stroke. I select an appropriate bug deflection device to apply to the lid of my alcohol receptacle and the bug issue is then sorted on that count … not sure what I can do to stop them heading down my shirt or ending up on my dinner as I’m forking it in … arh never mind. What’s a bit more crunch in one’s day?
We’ve heated water for showers and before you know it … bed time alas!17.2AH
29.09.12Next morning my internal alarm goes off at 0730. No, it’s actually a noisy coffee maker, but I’ll forgive him if it’s hot and tastes okay, which it is and does. So I’m out of bed and thinking about breakfast. Got heaps of leftovers without the small crunchy beetles, so he heats that whilst we discuss today’s agenda.
Glenn suggests we head up to the main campground and then up the ridge to the old house. I suggest a wandering up the creek to a large swimming hole where we can spend an hour or two doing nothing much. Plans made, we eat breakfast, do dishes, make camp look cleaner and ready the car for the uphill trip, before putting the dogs in their box and making our way to the main campsite, via a short cut from Dead Horse Dam.
I note as we enter the main campsite from the west, that there are camper’s onsite. Two Jayco’s in separate camps and a camper trailer and tents in a third. All bar one appear active, and I can see a dog and hear another (the camp with no-one home … there’s a rule about this but seems these campers aren’t aware of it). We head to the uphill stretch and Glenn decides it’s time to Air Down so he gets out the Straun Tyre Deflators that Santa got him one year and we begin. As always I snap off a few photos of the camps, before assisting with the recapping. We are on our way up!We get to the top corner that can be seen from the campground and notice a gate that wasn’t there before, so we have to get out and open it. As there isn’t enough ground in place for a proper gate, Pete has used star pickets to hold it in place and we end up putting it against the wall of the track before moving further on. As we won’t be gone too long, we leave it open. This section is very steep (even walking it) and I feel it’s going to be rather interesting for me on the way down.
Once at the very top, we head on a track to the left. We are looking for the old house and I only have a Google Maps printout I’ve bought with me … I can’t find the map that Pete so carefully did for me the first time we were here alas. Driving along for a kilometre or so, we come to the crest of a hill that heads down along the ridgeline. The view is spectacular in all directions (my photo’s just don’t do it justice), but I feel this is the wrong way, so suggest we turn around and head back to the intersection. Once there, we veer to the left once more and head along the correct path to the old house. If I remember correctly, it’s roughly 1890’s or so and although still standing, is in a state of disrepair. To the west of it are a set of old yards, long since forgotten. Checking out the old house on foot, we realise the 4 poster bed is still there and standing. It’s seen better days, but it’s a wonderful thing to behold … and I try to imagine what it would have been like living here on the very top of this hill with its sweeping vista to the east.
Well that completes the AM mission for us, so we reluctantly head back down the hill. Something I’m not really looking forward to. The drive down is steep and I’ll now be on the side that falls away to nothing but views … Ha Ha Ha! Getting out of the ute to put the gate back across was fun and I was happy to get back in and head further down to flatter ground. Not overly scared as such, but my heart was beating faster … I think it’s the fear of what could happen rather than what will happen that gets me. I’m much the same near cliff edges too and always say a mantra “Please let today NOT be the day that this cliff edge gives way” before I get on hands and knees towards the edge. I’m okay with heights (really I am), but not edges / ledges with no handrails or anything. I’m afraid of the “what could happen” … that’s my story of which I’ll be sticking with.
We descend from the campground the same way we came up … the short cut via Dead Horse Dam and notice some people on foot in the valley below us. They sure are keen as they are heading up the steepest part. Once down at the dam we pause for a moment to observe more people along the creek, some climbing cliff walls, some walking up the track, another swimming with a dog … but all having a restful time. We continue back to camp and are ensconced in our chairs to find it’s just after 1100.
Leaving another note on the table at 1120, we head further upstream than we’ve been before and find some excellent swimming holes and the day progressively gets more and more overcast. We keep hearing what sounds like a car horn, so Glenn goes to investigate alone. Okay he’s not alone … he’s got 2 dogs trailing his every move. I stay by the creek with old Jack and take some photos of the area awaiting his return. It’s heralded by the entrance of my youngest dog and Glenn is about 1 minute behind. Seems the horn is actually a gum tree rubbing a limb against another tree and not the rolled vehicle with trapped occupants requiring first aid assistance that I thought.
We head back to the larger pool and sit around for awhile watching the dogs swim, sniff, and other such doggie activities. They really love the trip so far as do I. It comes time to slowly saunter back to camp to think about a late lunch, passing the long ride horse riders on the way. We’ll need to collect some more timber for our roast dinner (not really but there is ample lying around so why not?) and generally do nothing much unless we want to. I’ve even got a mud cake planned for dessert if there is room!
We listen for the RiverFire fireworks but neither hear nor see them, so listen to the radio for a bit whilst they would be on. By all reports they were fantastic and the FA18 Super Hornets were marvellous … even doing a dump and burn which I believed only the F1-11’s did.
Next morning dawns a little overcast, but fine. Just the odd, light, overnight sprinkle … if you could even call it that. Breakfast, then dishes.
After breakfast, we tackle the draw foam once more and find that we’ll have to find some different containers to put sauces and the likes in as they are too tall for the pantry itself and take up too much room lying down, so we don’t want to cut them in till we’ve investigated our options a bit more. These are our “staples” and will always be in the pantry. Other things can be stored as required at the back. So the work in progress halts till we find the right sort of containers. But we fit the foam in place and will have to wait till we are properly organised.
So this leaves the rest of the day to fit yet more relaxation into. Don’t know how we are going to cope! While we are attempting this another long ride goes past. The riders are always so friendly, but don’t stop.We do more walking along the creek, collecting of wood, drinking, laughing and swimming.
After lunch we head back to the large swimming hole for another good dog doggie time and we even get in the water ourselves. It’s freezing and just over a metre deep where I stopped. I even get up a few strokes to the far bank and back. After a short while my body adjusts so it isn’t quite so cold, but it’s still rather cool. This would be excellent in summer although the walk back to camp would seriously alter any benefits of the cooling down you’d get. An hour or more later, we start the walk back to camp and notice that the day is becoming more sun filled as it progresses.
Reheated roast and veg for breakfast, dishes done, so we must start the slow pack up again.
Kiah is intent on something in the lantana behind our camp, so I head over to investigate, only to find I can’t see what ever it is very clearly, but it’s making it’s way closer and closer. I’m thinking lizard or rabbit, small cow, but am not prepared to see a snake head rolling over in the long grass. I can see the underside … lovely white … large scales … so I call Glenn over to have a gander. He’s been folding the end wall we had up in case of torrential rain. Once he’s beside me, the snake appears again, slowly making its way up the lantana. It’s a coastal carpet python, but there is still rustling in the grass below it. Another one or a different type altogether we don’t know. Glenn wants to go in there (he’s snake mad bloke having one himself at home) but as we can’t see the other snake I ask him not to. Could be a brown or red belly … could just be a girl python too, but why take such a chance?
Once the slow pack up is done, it's after 1300 and we must go unfortunately. We've still got a bit of time up our sleeve, so we stop for another wander through the creek closer to Dead Horse Dam. I suggest to Glenn that I grab a few photos of him crossing the creek ... just in case some 4WD magazine calls me and wants our story! It'll never happen right? Can't hurt to get a few shots of the road train we have regardless and heading through a genuine 4x4 section of the creek can't hurt at all.
I suggest we do a run by Heifer Creek on our way home as it's only a few kilometres up the road from where we are. As we pull in we start counting the campers ... a few caravans ... a couple of tents ... a few vehicles set up for camping bush style ... But now we must head home. It's starting to sprinkle a bit and looking very overcast. Won't hold my breath for rain though we could really use some.
Back home in good time to unpack and get organised for work tomorrow. That's another great trip done and dusted. Now to start planning the next weekend trip away.
Trip Kilometres: 281
Trip Duration: 96 hours