Saturday, April 18, 2009

Aaah, the camping life

I was quite sad to leave my temporary home of Lakeland and hit the road again. On the one hand I see so much of unexplored Australia stretching out ahead of me but of course I'd really become close to a lot of people during the weeks I'd worked on the farm. I really started missing them as I drove the long highway.

I had a bit of an adventure soon after leaving - a car had lost control on the highway, skidded and spun and ended up in the ditch beside the road with three mangled tyres. The driver and four passengers were clearly drunk and obviously idiots, but they were 30 km from anywhere at 10:00 pm so I felt I had to give them assistance. First they wanted a jack. Obviously this wouldn't help them much. They then wanted a tow. I said that that would stuff the rims badly. The driver said he didn't care. So I towed their car (which made a horrible noise) on its rims for about 25 km to the nearest roadhouse (closed of course). As luck would have it I saw three snakes on the road as I was towing, but wasn't able to stop to have a look at them. The driver said that if I could give him a jump-start he'd be able to drive slowly on the dirt road from there to the aboriginal community. Another car pulled up, with some mates of theirs, and they all suddenly lost interest in their car and just began having a big old chat. I clipped on the jumper leads, started their car and drove off with barely a 'thank-you' - I was ready for bed and not in the mood to put up with their idiocy any longer. Still, what could I do?

Last night I camped at Davies Creek near Mareeba again and was reminded of the reasons I love the travelling and camping life. I reached the campsite in the late afternoon and had time for a swim in the cold water (rainbowfish, perch, turtles, shrimp) before setting up camp. I ate my dinner and enjoyed a mug of wine on the rock bed next to the creek as it got dark. Bandicoots began bouncing across the clearings and fossicking around the grass hummocks for a feed. I was lucky when another mammal streaked across a clearing to a patch of trees and rocks right next to me where I got a good look at it - a beautiful northern quoll! It regarded me from the shelter of a rock before shooting off across another clear patch to a different area of cover.

I went for a walk up the creek and encountered numerous waterfall frogs (Litoria nannotis) clinging to the cascades. Uperoleia mimula called occasionally from wet areas up the hill. It was a beautiful night and I felt keen to go on experiencing these sorts of things as I contine travelling.

Before I left lakeland I got an email about some volunteer work with platypuses down in the Hidden Valley area near Paluma next week so I've been getting that organised. Should be fun!

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