Monday, August 04, 2008

DAY 277: Bush camp to bush camp 25km N of Auski Roadhouse

Sun 27th July 2008
79km @ 13.9 km/hr
Sunny, 34 deg C
Elevation of /destination 466m
Distance to date 17078 km (10674 miles)

It was so very quiet last night; however I woke around 3 and could hear a kind of droning sound far away - I later worked out that it was probably a community generator about 10km away! Sounded quite eerie across the night-silent bush.
On getting up I rekindled the fire easily and boiled enough water for a cuppa, then got going at 0820. Fires are so easy with the wood and kindling being so dry, but one has to be careful not to start a bush fire - I always choose a wide clearing because of this. For kindling I gather a handful of either dry eucalyptus leaves (these burn with a lovely smell of, well, eucalyptus!) or some dried spinifex - both leap into flame as soon as you apply a light, being tinder-dry.
There was little wind today, and what there was, was on the side or just a little in front, also there was more draggy cimbing too, so it felt like very hard work. The road gently undulates, only in these hard conditions it felt more like hilly. The landscape is very open indeed, with no vegetation at all in places, and this looked more like a desert than anywhere I’ve seen here so far. There are quite a few creeks to cross, but they don’t make for good camping spots as it is so difficult to get down from the elevated road - so that the road doesn’t flood as easily in the Wet. The distant, and dramatic red / orange (umber?) mountains gradually loomed closer, until after 60km there was a 9km climb of between 4 and 6% - the biggest climb since the Atherton Tablelands. This tops out at around 500m, and halfway up it is the Bea Bea Rest Area. I popped in here because I needed to cadge some water from a willing caravanner. It’s not much of a rest area - no toilets and little shade. I chatted with a couple sat in the only shade in the place, and although they were short of water they gave me a cold Coke, which tasted beautiful. Another couple nearby did have 4 litres spare, which they happily gave me, plus the guy had a go at sticking the rubber plunger from my stove pump back in place, and I’ll have to wait 24 hours to let it set - he used shoe glue, which apparently stays flexible. Let’s hope it works. I owe one to all these kind folks.
Off again, feeling pretty tired, and another 5km of climbing to the top of the hill, then looking for an early bush camp to rest my weary bones. I’m starting to feel the fact I haven’t had a rest day since Broome, and then only one. I hope to correct this soon though. There just hasn’t been anywhere suitable for me lately. I’m so picky and getting worse!
From the top of the hill there is absolutely no vegetation at all for several km, a real lunar, or rather Martian given the colour, landscape. A bit further on I spotted a line of larger trees set back against the hills, and took my opportunity, and it seems like a good site. Hidden from the road, plenty of firewood so I can cook a meal that way, and even a little crystal-clear spring-fed pool to wash myself, and togs in.
I managed to cook in the hot embers OK, managing (just) to avoid burning myself, and had a nice tuna, veg and garlic mash potato (Smash!) plus glass of pink. The traffic reduced considerably later on and restored calm - this is a little gem of a site; fees like my own little domain!
Tomorrow I have about 25km to the Auski roadhouse, then only another 12km heading south before turning right for Karijini NP and Tom Price.

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