The trip is relatively uneventful and we make our destination by 1030, heading directly towards our chosen camp spot. As we pass a vantage point of the house, I see some people watching our arrival so I give them a wave.
The first hiccup is getting up a small bank on one side of the creek. It’s slippery and we can’t get up it at all, so out comes the winching gear. Thankfully we have a handy tree to assist us and we make it up the bank.
Packing all the winch gear away, we decide to go ahead on foot and check out the track to camp. This leaves the camper and car in front of Dead Horse Dam. The track ahead isn’t pretty. There is one section that we’d have some issues with immediately and Glenn doesn’t wish to risk a rollover with the trailer on, as this track isn’t level and has no bank to save us if things went sideways. If it hadn’t rained in the last day or two we’d be fine. So now we must find an alternate site.
Returning to the car, Glenn scouts up ahead on the long back track that takes us from here to the actual campground, but deems that too wet as well. He says he had issues on foot so doesn’t wish to even give it a try.
So what now?
As Glenn was coming back down the hill he noted a potential site on the other side of Dead Horse Dam, so we wander over to investigate. It’s a flattish, grassed area, with a large tree on the western side. It has views down to the next crossing and seems to be what we require. It’s big enough to put 2 or three campers on, and so it’s decided we are home.
A few rocks at the entrance need to be moved for easier access. Then we have to move some fallen timber, do a bit of landscaping as there are scotch thistles dying here and there. Cows have obviously been here recently as well so there is some shovelling to do.
Once in and setting up, I wonder how we’ll get the camper out without doing a thousand point turn, but decide to worry about that later. The tree is giving us some good shade so this is where the Kid puts up his tent.
We have the awning up and are thinking about other things when Pete & Sue drive up the road. They head into our camp and pull up at the entrance. It’s good to see both of them. Sue has her grand-daughter with her, and Pete has two new pups. It seems the country hasn’t been kind to his animals of late, with both dogs and a cat succumbing to either ticks or snakes. He also mentions that he’s been losing some goats, but is unsure exactly how, and has had to shoot a horse recently which was upsetting for the guests in the house (obviously not people of The Land). We chat for an hour or more, patting the pups to help socialise them and at Pete’s request we also let our dogs off the lead. There was a lot of barking from both dog families in the beginning, but now they are happy to run and sniff. Sue says she must get the young one home for some food and they leave us in peace to continue our setup.
It’s hot, sweaty work and once organised, we all sit in the shade and enjoy the view.
Another reason we were late this morning is that we discovered that the lead we use to plug the camper into the electricity wasn’t actually plugged in. Turned on yes, plugged in no. So the camper has been running the fridge since we got back without any assistance. The batteries were nearly flat. So one of the first things we’ve done was put out the solar panels. Glenn is worried that we’ll be without a fridge through the camp, but I’m not.
You see I knew that 2x 120w folding solar panels would be much more than we needed to run our camp during good sunny weather. I’d opted to provide for extra assistance during overcast days when we’d need all we could get. I’m happy to report that my solar panels did the job nicely. By the time we leave this site, we’ll have full batteries and been onsite running a fridge, water pump, and lights for 3 days. Gotta love that!
Apart from checking out the closest water to us which is directly below us at the bottom of a rather steep hill, wandering the area around us, we are just happy to sit and be contentedly in the outdoors where the only sounds are cows and birds.
Upon his return, he has trouble describing to us where exactly he’s been other than “walking along the creek”. If he’d been bitten by a snake or injured himself, we’d have a 50 / 50 chance of finding him, which I find alarming, but Glenn seems okay with it.
Glenn & I spend the rest of the afternoon chatting while the Kid listens on. Of course there is ball throwing, frisbee chucking, drinking and relaxing. Apparently we have a sling shot with us, so we are required to head to the creek to find suitable rocks for slinging. Back at camp, each person has a go with varied success.
Dinner tonight will be chicken stir fry again. As always, this particular meal goes over really well with all campers. It’s already defrosted, so Glenn and I prepare dinner. Glenn’s going to cook, but we need to put together the OzPig first. We’ve been collecting suitable timber from all over the location today. If it fit the Pig, it got collected.
27.12.12The morning dawns bright and hot. Today we are going to wander down the creek and head for the large waterholes we swam in last time. I know the dogs will like it. I have some concerns for Jack and his arthritic lack of rock hopping skills, but I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s had his booster shot so here’s hoping the effects have kicked in by now.
But first it’s breakfast, dishes and get organised. Then we need to wait till The Kid awakens, has breakfast and gets organised, not long after which we are on our way. I’d planned to walk, but Glenn has other ideas, so we all pile into the ute and head to the end of the track. We realise once there, that turning around will be interesting, but let’s worry about that later.
We head over rocks and find the easiest to access of the two pools still about the same height as last time we were here and immediately Telashi is swimming. Crazy dog barks and growls while she’s doing it … hilarious to see the first time. Kiah wants to go in but worries when her feet don’t touch. The Kid realises he’s forgotten his camera and goes back to the car.
We head a bit further upstream to the deep long hole with the caves and The Kid catches up to us about half way there. This is where the boys leave me. They head further upstream for awhile and I sit in the shade of a cave overhang watching whilst the dogs swim, sniff, wander, investigate, keep looking out for the boys. I note some birds sitting on a high branch and swap lenses to take their photo. An Azure Kingfisher comes down and sits on a branch across the creek so I get his photo too. I begin to think we should have two handheld CB’s so I could find out what the boys are doing exactly and about five minutes later I hear a not so distant Cooee. I guess we might not need it after all, but I discuss it with Glenn upon their return. Mine’s only 2.5w , so maybe two that are stronger would be more appropriate. It also means that we wouldn’t have to run the one in the vehicle quite so much when The Kid is with us. It’s something to consider anyway.
After a short rest and a drink, we head back slowly to the car, ensuring that Telashi has another swim along the way. I leave the boys to figure out how they will get the ute turned around. Probably with a lot of rock moving and a 72 point turn. Heading back up the track we drove down, just me and the pups, is rather peaceful. I make plans to beat them back to our last campsite and do, but not by much. When they arrive, The Kid is driving. Guess that’s why it took so long. He’s a nervous driver, probably more so with his dad in the passenger seat.
I’ve been collecting some OzPig sized timber along the way and we now put some into the camping box on the ute. I get to drive us home. I’ve never really 4WD’d before and Glenn panics a bit here and there, but I bring the vehicle home unscathed – we all knew I would right? It’s roughly lunchtime. I crack out the watermelon. Dinner tonight will be T-Bones with veg so we get them out to defrost. Not much else to do now except drink, chat, wander, be merry and throw that ball.
A lot more relaxing and drinking occurs. The Kid traverses the reaches of the creek where we can see him with Kiah in tow. Telashi wanted to go, but didn’t want to leave me alone back at camp. When they return, I take both dogs and Glenn up to the waterhole as far as we can see from camp, leaving The Kid and a sleeping Jack behind.
The water here is cool and just over my head against a natural rock wall. The entry is gravelly and some weed grows well at either end, leaving the centre as easy access for swimmers – namely me and Telashi. The water is wonderfully cooling on my sweaty person. Telashi returns the ball to the bank for another throw. I’ve been bouncing it off the wall and letting it fall where it may. Glenn thinks it would be fun to see her reaction should it get stuck in one of the small cave like openings, but can’t get it far enough up the wall to do so. Good thing too as we only have one ball with us this trip. It started off a bit on the brown side, but is coming up a dirty green now with all the water fun. It’s also starting to de-fur so we’ll have to think about replacing it sooner rather than later. Once we’ve had our fill we wander back down the track to discover that Jack is in a complete panic as to my location. He’s woken up and couldn’t find me and started to fret I think. He’s stayed at camp with The Kid which is good, but runs (as best a dog can do with bad arthritis) to greet us along the track that runs past Dead Horse Dam.
It’s now time for dinner and some more relaxation I think.88AH – a new camp record that I doubt we’ll beat for some time.
28.12.12The morning dawns a bit grey and since I’m the first of the campers up and about, I decide to return to the deep hole at the end of our view. I take all three dogs with me. Once Telashi has swum and Jack and Kiah have sniffed their fill, we continue up the track to the yards we passed on the way in. That done, we return to camp to find Glenn up and boiling the kettle for coffee’s.
Today we’ll go for a drive up to the main campground to see what’s to see. Once The Kid has awoken and made himself ready, we head off. I’ve got the GoPro recording all the action, but it certainly doesn’t show the steepness of the tracks or the sudden drop offs beside the track. Once at the main camp ground which is a steep drive above Ma Ma Creek, Glenn decides we need to see the old 1800’s original home on this large block. As we turn the car around to go up the very narrow track to the summit, I’m glad I’m on the good side going up. Glenn agrees that going up is much easier on the heart than going back down. We approach the gate ½ way up and stop to open it. It’s held in place by 4 star pickets and a rope and the only thing it’s going to deter is horses and cows. I find the wasps making a home in a hole on the rock wall more of a deterrent and leave the boys to open the gate.
Back in the car and we get to the tricky bit of the track. We need to follow the narrow, precarious track around past some rock boulders and up a rather steep section covered in loose rocks whilst turning almost 360 degrees to make it to the top. This particular part makes me very nervous coming back down as the road disappears ahead of you and there is no ground beside you … just a great view of the valley – which makes me glad Glenn is driving. Once at the top of this part, we turn back on ourselves again and head further up the hill but with good land on either side and it’s about 1 more kilometre to the old house.We stop and check it out again, then hop back in the car to head down the hill once more. Back at the main campground we are immediately surrounded by horses. I guess they think we’ve come with food. Everyone hops out to say hello and give them a pat, but we find they are more interested in the dogs in the box than they are in us. Not sure how the pups feel about that but they remain quiet for the most part, with only Kiah giving one loud bark.
After we’ve had enough of the horses, we head back down the main track to the campground, which passes the 1940’s house and the brick guest house (which you can hire). Past them and down the bitumen drive to the creek once more, where we take a left turn and cross the creek twice before we make it back it back to camp near Dead Horse Dam.
Relaxing is so hard to do. It takes much energy and concentration but we give it a good go for a few hours.Then we hear thunder in the distance and thoughts turn to packing up camp. The Kid gets his tent down and gear mostly stowed before the rain reaches us. All we can do now is wait it out and hope it clears up enough for us to pack up dry which I’m rather doubtful of.
After an hour or more of rain, it’s decided that we’ll just pack up anyway and put it up at home tomorrow to dry it off. Now we pack and fold in earnest to get things done. The boys turn the trailer around by hand at my suggestion and then we put the ute in place to connect it on. Everyone in the car and we are on our way.
As we go back down the cutting from Dead Horse Dam to Ma Ma Creek on the bush track, the wheels slide. We’ve got no grip and the trailer pushes us down the cutting. My heart flutters recalling the backwards slide at City View. Glenn is able to control the vehicle well and finally we are in the creek. Rain makes the black soil so slippery. We saunter down to the next crossing, but find we have difficulties getting up to the next part of the track. Seems Glenn might be going a bit fast for it and we lose traction a few more times. He eases off the peddle, and we amble along. Last thing we need is to slide towards the drop off and fall into the rocky creek below. My heart still pounding in my ears and we make it back to the cattle yards and relative grassy safety. From here it’s plain sailing all the way home.
We are greeted along the way by more showers, but with clean wheels on bitumen we shouldn’t slip or slide.
Once near home, we are greeted by torrential rain of such that we even delay unpacking the car or trailer until the following day. I check the rain guage and we’ve had 40mm in under an hour.Tommorrow we’ll do all those things we normally do when arriving home, and pull the trailer out to set up and dry.
Trip Kilometres: 285Trip Duration: 72 hours