Monday, August 04, 2008

DAY 278: Day off at bush camp 31km N of Auski Roadhouse

Position S 22 07.207; E 118 47.207
Mon 28th July 2008
Sunny, 32 deg C
Elevation of /destination 466m
Distance to date 17078 km (10674 miles)

I slept like a log last night - whatever traffic there was, the sound was well muted by the ring of mountains around me, apart from a narrow gap where I came in. It didn’t take long for me to decide to make this a rest day - well, I have easily enough water; in any case I could filter some from the spring if desperate, and plenty of food too. I didn’t get out of the tent until the sun was well over the horizon then went and tossed some more kindling on the ashes, and with a couple of puffs it leapt into life again. In no time at all I had made tea and was toasting a muffin on the end of a sharp stick. The fireside was very cosy in the cool (10 deg C) early morning, and I sat around watching the Spinifex Pigeons and savouring the beautiful setting, until the sun was full on and had crept over some trees, at around 0840 where I was sat. After washing the pots in the spring water I went on patrol in the hils surrounding camp and did a big circle of around 4km. The early light really brings out the colours of this amazing landscape and the camera was snapping away all over the place. The ground is littered with fractured rock - weathered by millions of years of heat and cold repeated every day. The stones are quite sharp and one has to walk carefully some of the time. I was surprised how many wild flowers there are up here, each desperately clinging onto life in the harsh environment. Spinifex dominates all though, and there’s little for cattle to graze on here. I did see 2 last night though, who bolted on seeing me. The roads have been unfenced for days and the cattle just wander wherever they want to get food. There have been many roadkilled animals along the way that stink to high heaven.
From the tops of the hills I could see the Fortescue River valley far to the south and west, which is where I’ll be heading next, with more rocky red mountains in the further distance. These mountains are part of the Chichester Range, which Karijini NP is within. Back at camp a small group of vividly-coloured Red-backed Fairy Wrens were flitting around in the big gums nearby. Later on I shall sit quietly near the spring-fed water hole and see what comes and goes - as far as I can see there’s no water anywhere else around here. I’ve already seen plenty of bees drinking here, and also some large black and red wasps.
On returning from my walk I found a shady spot under a big old snow-white barked Ghost Gum and sorted images from the camera ready for uploading - this saves costly internet time, and the Dell Axim PDA does it easily - including rotating and cropping the images if need be. I deliberately chose SD card format for the camera so I can use these in the Axim, and it has made life very easy.
After this I gave the repaired fuel pump a go - and despite a bit of stiffness it worked OK, so I boiled up some water and had the rest of the packet of garlic mashed potato with a mug of tea. This is a lovely shady spot in the mornings and mid-day so I stayed here and started typing up my diary for today. One hour on at 1445 the sun has crept around and I will find another similarly cosy spot around the corner.
I also rechecked my 3 spare tubes to make sure they were OK, and they appear sound enough.


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