Friday, June 27, 2008

DAY 246: Day off at Edith Falls

Thurs 26th June 2008
Sunny, 29 deg C
Elevation of /destination 142 m
Distance to date 14620 km (9137 miles)

It was much colder last night than lately, and I put socks on in the night and coccooned myself inside the sleeping bag to get warm, so I didn’t jump up at first light, but waited until it warmed up somewhat before getting breakfast. It has been a very peaceful night.
I set off on the 3km walk around the lake, which climbs steeply over a very rocky path onto the high ground which ends in the ‘cliff’ above the circular lake. All kinds of trees and plants are in evidence, not to mention a plethora of birds, many unseen but just heard, and some calls I didn’t recognise. Some of these questions were answered by a man who caught me up and stopped for a rest where I was sat admiring the view (there are seats at the top of all the slopes with lovely views). This guy was from Katherine, around my age I think, and he was walking and birdwatching. I quizzed him about some of the birds, but he was a mine of information about all fauna and flora, and also about Aboriginal culture. We had a lot in common and had a good hour identifying trees and shrubs; I only hope I can remember half of it! He is currently working on the mines at Mount Isa - 2 weeks on, 1 week off.
At the top of this walk there is a plunge pool and some people were determined to have a splash, such as the 2 goose-pimpled females in the pic. It did look very inviting, but I had plans to swim in the big lake this afternoon when the sun is high and it’s quicker to dry off and get warm. It’s not cold like UK-cold though - even an evening swim when the sun is low is quite tolerable.
It was brunch time on my return and the kiosk did a good ham and cheese salad sarnie for me, at very reasonable cost, with the inevitable Double-Shot Paul’s Iced Coffee and blueberry muffin to accompany. How I love my treats!
Afterwards I found somewhere shady and started typing today’s blog. This place is very relaxing, and I know I’ll be tempted to stay a third night, but I’ll review this later. I’m just about ‘on schedule’ but think I can gain plenty of days whilst crossing the wastelands of northern WA; less so if I decide to ride the 710km gravel Gibb River Road across the Kimberley, which will take at least 12 to 15 days at my expected pace. I’m definitely looking forward to getting away from the Stuart Highway and lorries; there shouldn’t be nearly as many once I turn west at Katherine in a few days time, and of course I should have the SE wind behind me again if things stay the same.
Well, the swim was good, and whilst drying off in the sunshine I got chatting to a couple from Tamworth, Qld, who are ‘on the road’ indefinitely, having sold their motel business. After this I did a few chores including mending last week’s puncture, and then repeated the edge walk going the other way around. The late afternoon colours made the scenery different from this morning, and this time I took the binoculars and did a bit of birding - I identified a few Honeyeaters that I hadn’t seen before, but also a small snake that someone reckoned to be a poisonous Western Brown. There were few people around as sunset approached and it was very tranquil sitting watching the wildlife and gazing across the tree-covered bush from my high vantage point.
When I got back to the tent 2 more cyclists had set up near me - brothers Tim and Will from Newcastle, NSW. They too are cycling around Oz and currently heading north to Darwin, then back, anticlockwise, the way I am going. As we chatted yet another cyclist rolled into the camp; he didn’t see us and I didn’t see where he went. You don’t see any for weeks, but all of a sudden there are hordes....
I broke off chatting to cook dinner before attending a ranger talk about the area at 1930, which turned out to be very interesting, and the couple from this morning brought me a beer, which was kind of them. I didn’t make a note of their names unfortunately, doh. By the end of the talk it was getting quite cold, and it was hot cuppa and sleeping bag for me while I type this up. Tomorrow I can hopefully upload at Katherine at last, which will be a relief.
My left knee is quite painful sometimes, mostly in the early morning rather than later, of whilst riding, and I may get a pressure bandage for it. It started all of a sudden a few weeks ago seemingly after pedalling hard whilst clipped into the pedals. However the saddle sores have disappeared and all I get is just a soreness around the seat bones, as would be expected with so many hours in the saddle. A fat arse would help as padding, rather than just my skin and bone lol.

DAY 245: Bush camp to Edith Falls

Weds 25th June 2008
83 km @ 14.0 km/hr
Sunny, 30 deg C
Elevation of destination 142 m
Distance to date 14620 km (9137 miles)
This was a very nice bush camp - peaceful, airy, and the small hill between me and the road deadened the noise of the overnight lorries somewhat. Bush-crashing creatures are hardly a surprise though they do make one jump at first, given the silence. I had a great campfire too, lots of good firewood nearby, and a nice low hollow a few metres away where the fire would have been hidden from sight. Only negative was the recently-burned bush which gave a nice coating of black over everything, but I managed to wash my hands this morning and just covered my black feet with black socks lol.
I was away at 0830 and the SE-er struck up in front of me right away, and it took over an hour to Pine Creek, just 12km away. Traffic was heavy again, but the landscape is very nice - rocky hills, gently winding and undulating road and a variety of trees thinly spread.
I had a few things to check out at Pine Creek - internet (library only, not open till 1, so no go); cafe (delicious ham salad sandwich), groceries (well, just bread and biscuits to get me to Katherine via Edith Falls) - unfortunately after all that I forgot to top up water bottles, and didn’t remember until I was 5km down the road. I did have 1.5 litres but that wasn’t enough to EF, and there was nowhere to get any in between. Never mind, I’ll manage somehow, I’m certainly not going back for some.
The heavy traffic was pretty tiresome - at least 60% is caravans and motorhomes which are pretty benign, but much of the rest was roadtrains. Ironic that the goods train I saw yesterday heading south had many empty container wagons just begging for some road freight. There is little in the way of a tarmac shoulder on this road but there is good flat gravel mostly, which is no trouble for me with my 2” tyres to ride on.
After around 20km I spotted a car and caravan in a layby so took my opportunity and went to ask them for water. No problem of course, and we had a good chat about places we’d been - this couple were from WA and I knew the places they were referring to - they are going my way so I may see them again. Around 1230 I was ready for a pitstop and looked out for somewhere shady where I could lean the bike - and soon saw a telecomms cabin between the road and railway line which was perfect for the job. I made myself a comfy seat from some pieces of wood and settled down to my peanut butter and apricot jam butties with lovely fresh bread bought in Pine Creek. The flies were the only downside as usual so I tried to sit out in the warm wind as much as possible - they are very determined though. Funny how it’s the face they go for - maybe there are more minerals and vitamins there compared to all the other exposed parts. Recently I have been sat talking to people who seemed not to be bothered by them whilst I was covered, and this must be due to me sweating more from riding.
Since Pine Creek the wind has been kinder to me, it seems to have shifted more to the left side such that it is not in front of me any longer, which adds both to speed and morale, and by 1430 I had reached the left turn for Edith Falls, another 20km to go INTO the wind now, heading due east.
The first 6km were tough and uphill, but therafter easier as the wind started to die off and I got more shelter from rocky outcrops and little rises in the road. The lack of lorries was bliss, things being much more peaceful now. I was soon arriving at the Falls area camping grounds and YES there is a kiosk! ...So iced coffee straight away as a reward for my efforts, and I paid my $8.80 for a nights’ camping. I was given a nice little pitch right next to the kiosk (too near for temptation!!) though not overlooked, and well away from the Wicked Campervanners that I followed in here lol. Only downside was less shade than preferred but never mind.
After setting up I went to look at the falls, and was blown away by the landscape - a circular lake some 600m diameter surrounded by 100m high pinky-brown cliffs and the falls at the far side - breathtakingly beautiful, and with a quiet peacefullness about it that incites awe and a sense of privelege in the beholder. I have seen some amazing landscapes here, and this is definitely one of them. It’s only about 50km from katherine Gorge and there’s a footpath between the 2 sites for the hardy walker - a 3-day or so trip. There are several places where there are steps or platforms to enable access for swimmers, and there were quite a few in the cool water, some swam all the way across to the falls; a bit far for me.
I spent the evening picking out pictures from the camera for the last 10 days - I haven’t uploaded since then and this will save expensive internet time when I get to Katherine; don’t know why I haven’t done this before. There are about 3 days I spent in Darwin when I didn’t take any pics.
After a late dinner, at about 2030, the camp was in darkness and silence and it didn’t take much encouragement for me to have an early night.

DAY 244: Adelaide River to bush camp 12km N of Pine Creek

Tues 24th June 2008
102 km @ 13.5 km/hr
Sunny, 30 deg C
Elevation of destination 162 m
Distance to date 14537 km (9086 miles)
I really should have got an earlier start this morning, since I would like to ride the 202km back to Katherine in 2 days, and the wind is strongly against me, but on a cool early morning the sleeping bag was just too cosy and it was 0915 when I hit the road. I did manage to ring Lyn before I left though, who was glad to hear from me after a long spell with no e-mails. NT is a bit of an internet desert - outside the few big towns it’s difficult - so the blog will just have to wait.
As expected progress was slow with the SE wind fresh to strong right in the face. I wasn’t too pleased to be back in the traffic again either - the Stuart Highway is busy here, and there are lots of road trains to dodge. Weather was good though; I’m getting to like it hot now; 30-33 is perfect riding temperature for me, even going slow and uphill. The flies couldn’t stay on me with the wind direction, but snatched a feed of sweaty nutrients whenever I went through a sheltered cutting. The road wound slowly between and around low red broken mountains, and rose and fell gradually, with one or two longer, steeper climbs. I took these at around 6 or 7 km/hr in the headwind. Scenically, very nice, though partially lost on me as I plodded slowly along.
Hard rides like this are a mental challenge, and one of my strategies is to break the day up into chunks, and reward myself after completing each one.
First bit was the 34km to a rest area, which had table and shade - and another touring cyclist! Glen, from Sydney, came to greet me, having stayed here last night. He’s riding from Sydney to Darwin and then hoping to catch a ride on a boat to Indonesia to start a tour of Asian countries, and hopefully the Himalayas too. We had a good old chat for longer than I intended to stop, but recognising that he and I have a lot in common - he would like to work for a charity like WaterAid for example - I lingered. What a shame we will be living so far apart, but we exchanged details and will keep in touch I hope. His website is, and I look forward to checking it out - Glen has some great ideas about life ‘n stuff.
I dragged myself away knowing I still had a long struggle with the wind yet, and went through a bad patch mentally, not helped by a psychopathic road train driver who clearly didn’t mind killing me, he came so close for no good reason. This got me very angry, and it took a while for me to settle after that. This second stage was to the Hayes Creek roadhouse, where my reward was not only a Barraburger and Snickers bar, but also another touring cyclist! This time it was Oliver, a Frenchman and retired policeman from Lyon, who is cycling from Uluru to Darwin. He is around my age I think, and he’s here for 3 months all told. He spoke good English so I didn’t get a chance to practice my French with him. He had met Glen at Edith Falls, and like Glen said it was very beautiful, so I may pop in for a look before I get to Katherine - the side trip is 20km off the Stuart Highway. Oliver was staying at the CP at Hayes Creek, and I was tempted, but really needed to get more km in today otherwise I’d be forever battling against this wind - I just want to get it over with! So I headed off again.
The next ‘chunk’ was to another roadhouse, however I discovered it has closed down. Luckily I had enough water to wild camp, since I couldn’t reach Pine Creek before dark. The colours deepened as it got later, and if anything this enhances the beauty of this ancient landscape; I always enjoy riding after 5 or so - and there was a bonus since the wind dropped around this time, and my speed nearly doubled. This helped get me over halfway to Katherine, so I was well pleased with that. The sun was down, but still plenty of light, when I found a secluded site hidden from the road my huge rock formations - only trouble was the bush has been burnt here so everything is black - including me now. There is plenty of wood though, and I have a lovely fire going which I don’t think anyone can see, and the smoke is heading away from the road too. It’s gone very quiet now the wind has dropped; the stars are out in force with no moon yet, and there’s the odd rustle of leaved as some unknown creature is moving about near me - ah, the wonders of the bush! And now I’m off to put the billy on, then early night and earlier start tomorrow.

DAY 243: Buley Rockhole to Adelaide River

Mon 23rd June 2008
78km @ 13.3 km/hr
Sunny, 31 deg C
Elevation of destination 46 m
Distance to date 14435 km (9022 miles)

I awoke around 7 and decided to have an early start - Adelaide River against the wind might be slow going, and I wanted to have a look around a few places on the way also. In the cool light of dawn this campsite looked a dry, dusty and dismal place. It was full of backpackers overnight, and they all had campfires, and I could hear the cracking and tearing as they demolished the nearby (living) trees for firewood, this in a protected NP. I have to note that many were British. There was litter all around too, and I tidied as much as I could around my site. No-one came for any money again; that’s 3 free nights in a row.
It was a steady climb out for 3 km then gentle undulations into the SE wind (it used to be my friend lol). After 8km I stopped to look at the thin, flat, N to S oriented magnetic termite mound field, and read the information boards. These magnetic mounds, up to 3 or 4m high and 1 to 2m wide, are so positioned to minimise the sun's heat in the middle of the day, but cathedral termite mounds are round, more volumous, and temperature is less of an issue. Apparently both species need to control body temperature carefully, and this is simple in cathedral mounds, but those in the magnetic mounds have to move to the east of the mound in the morning to ‘warm up’ on the warm, sunny side. It was interesting to read that termites eat more grass than all other grass-eating animals such as cattle, sheep and ‘roos put together!
I plugged on into the headwind, slowed down to single figures regularly as the road wound uphill, but it wasn’t an unpleasant ride in the early warm sunshine. Hundreds of vehicles poured into the NP but there was little going my way i.e. out of the park. I had a couple of close calls where cars wouldn’t wait to get past me, and they duly got the dreaded finger.
I stopped briefly at Litchfield Caravan Park for iced coffee, and by noon was entering the uranium-mining town of Batchelor. I found a nice fresh crusty roll at the roadhouse cafe and sat reading the paper for a pleasant, shady hour, then tried to upload to the blog, to no avail. The internet at the Butterfly Farm was incredibly slow and the mouse was faulty, so I gave up and didn’t pay ($8/hr for that service!!). I called in at the VIC where well-informed volunteer David chatted about route options and other stuff. He recommended the Coach Road to Adelaide River; mostly gravel but very quiet and 12km shorter - and this was good advice. I told him about the 2 feral dogs that came into my camp at Walker Creek, and he thought that they might be formerly illegal pig-hunters dogs that got lost, and then interbred with the dingoes. This makes sense as they were the same colour as the dingo only 50% bigger.
Off on the Coach Road then, south from the town with the airfield on the left, on deserted tarmac for the first 8km before the change to a well-maintained gravel surface. After 7km or so of endless winding and undulating past the odd house and fruit farm the road became a narrow track. The quaity deteriorated somewhat but was very enjoyable nonetheless. I only saw a handful of vehicles all the way to Adelaide River, and the road twisted and turned all over the place through nice Savannah forest; sometimes the track almost disappeared from view, and I had to check a few times that I was still on the right road by means of the PDA maps and GPS receiver - this shows me where I am on the 250,000:1 Austour map. Thus reassured, I could relax and enjoy this trip through some very wild and remote country - this is a great route for cyclists; much preferable to the windy and busy highway route. The track was only slightly corrugated with a couple of short sandy patches and quite a bit of stone - all can be worked around with a little care.
For the last 90 minutes I saw no other vehicles, and I landed in Adelaide River just 1km from the caravan park. I need a CP tonight since I need a good shower and somewhere to wash some clothes, and also to charge depleted batteries, after 4 nights wild camping. I plumped for the $15 roadhouse / hotel park, which has welcoming green grass = luxury! Also plenty of temptations too - beer, chocolate, barra and chips etc., however I was camped quite near to the unfenced highway and didn’t fancy leaving all the stuff behind, so I cooked another delicious rice dish, and followed up with a couple of beers and bar of chocolate from the roadhouse.
When I first arrived at the roadhouse, hot from the road, I had a nice surprise - A couple asked me was I ever in Smokey Bay in SA - and I affirmed; turns out they recognised me from last November, when they were staying there same night as me! She remembers talking to me in the campers kitchen, and I was only vaguely aware that I’d seen them before. I forget his name, but she is Kate - I gave them my card and it would be lovely to hear from them. They haven’t been on the road since then, but are up here on another holiday - what a coincidence, and what good recognition skills!

DAY 242: Walker Creek to Buley Rockhole

Sun 22nd June 2008
58km @ 13.2 km/hr
Cloudy, sunny later, 31 deg C
Elevation of destination 130 m
Distance to date 14435 km (9022 miles)

The canine gatecrashers didn’t return, and I had a peaceful night. I decided to move on, and slowly packed up; however I couldn’t find my 3 bungee straps that hold my tent on the rear rack. I must have left them back on the path in, and though I went back to look, they weren’t there. I did have a spare luckily, and a few small ones, that will just have to do for now. I carried the bags and bike separately back to where I could fit them back onto the bike (across the waterfall and up some steep steps lol), and was out onto the road by 1030, and straight into a 1km 9% hill. Today’s ride was very nice, twisty, hilly road bordered by cycad palm forest and red rocky outcrops.
Unfortunately I had yet another puncture after just 7km, and it was on the only patch on the tube again. Was it another duff patch or something sticking in the tyre at that same point? I fitted another tube and also put a thick patch inside the tyre at that point, and it was OK after that, although of course I don’t know whether it’s the tube or tyre now do I?!
I stopped to look at the spectacular Wangi Falls, and had an egg and bacon roll and 2 iced coffees from the welcome kiosk. I was offered a sandwich by a couple sat nearby, which I gratefully accepted, and recounted my adventures yet again. During the next few hours I dropped in at Green Ant Creek (beautiful), Tolmer Falls (80m falls drop into huge canyon, nice), Tabletop Swamp (no birds) and Florence Falls (dramatic). There was a NP campsite at the latter, where I had intended to stay, but it was full so I’ll have to wait a bit longer for a shower. I carried on to Buley Rockhole, which isn’t the best of campsites, but had to do as it was late. After setting up I still had time to go for a dip in the plunge pool - cold water and cold on getting out - but very refreshing.
Today’s ride was excellent; quiet road; some shade, interesting scenery - great. There are 3 x 9% (or so) hills on today’s stretch, all around 1km long. Hardly French Alps....

DAY 241: Day off Walker Creek (Litchfield NP)

Sat 21st June 2008
Sunny, 30 deg C
Elevation of destination 99 m
Distance to date 14377 km (8986 miles)

Awoke to the cascading falls on a cloudy morning. I slept without the outer cover so had a nice breeze all night - unusual because the wind normally falls at night. I was just about warm enough in the silk liner. After breakfast I got cracking with bike matters - primarily sorting out the slow puncture from yesterday. I removed the tube after marking tube and tyre so I could see exactly where the puncture occured on the tyre, so as to see if something was still stuck in there. Using a calm pool down at the river to test for leaks I found a very small hole in the tube, but was unable to find anything still in the tyre at that point that might have caused it, however I went right around the tyre, inside and out, to see if there was anything else stuck in that might cause a problem later but I found nothing. The original tube that went down yesterday also had a small hole right on top of a previous patch - weird - so I patched the 2 tubes and also checked my 2 other spare tubes - and 1 of these had a large rip (?) so I will dump it. The other spare tube is fine, so I still have 2 spares, which will do.
I also set to to clean all the red hard-baked clay off the bike, picked up from the wet road yesterday, and gave the chain another good lube with the White Lightning ‘self-cleaning’ lubricant that I paid a hefty $16 (7 pounds) for in Darwin last week.
Bike stuff complete, I had a peanut butter and jam sarnie for lunch then set to to clean all the panniers, which were quite grubby. There is a kind of slatted table about 2m square at the campsite which is ideal for working on, and sitting on too, although I put the Thermarest chair down first, which is very comfortable.
I went to explore up the track after this, and very much enjoyed the beautiful walk - up and down little granite rises and winding around and above the edge of the river - Pandanus and other tropical trees all around. There are several places where you can swim in the river, but I waited until I reached the 8th and last campsite at the end of the path to see which was the best - it was the last one, where there was 2m deep water for 25m or so, where the river was a good 5m wide. It’s easy to get down into the water too on the smooth rocks. The water feels very warm; wonderful, and although I felt a little cool on coming out, the sun was out by this time, and I was warm again in seconds. Last night whilst I was dangling my feet in the river something nipped me - little shrimps as it happened - only about 40mm long. The information sign here says this might happen but assures that ”’s just some small creature who thinks you’re detritus - welcome to the community....” - cute.
I saw only about 6 other folk whilst walking and swimming but there were about 8 young English tourists larking around at the waterfall near my camp. I walked towards them to get back to the tent and it seemed as if they weren’t even aware that I was camping there - it’s that secluded.
I went for a late swim as the light started to fade, and as I came out spotted a large lizard lay on a rock (pic) - about 600mm (2’) long. I carefully moved close to get a pic without disturbing it.
I have been trying to charge my mobile phone up using the 2 solar panels I brought, to no avail. I paid £70 each for there 2 and the very few times I’ve tried to use them they’ve let me down - I might as well send them home again and cut my weight down. I can usually find a 240v outlet to plug in my AA/AAA 15 minute battery charger.
As I was cooking dinner I heard a loud crashing over the noise of the waterfall, and next minute a large dog ran into the camp and stopped a few yards away. He was quite big, around a Doberman size with tan colouring, and he stood eyeing me, panting from his run. Was he running to the smell of food cooking? Pets are not allowed in the NP at all, and it was clear to me that this was a feral dog. Next minute another, identical dog ran in too; they looked like siblings. I was somewhat taken aback, as I have heard stories about how such wild dogs can hunt in packs, and how they have threatened humans. My reaction was to pick up a stick and stand to my full height, shouting loudly - this seemed to work and they backed off, loped away, and in fact I never saw them again thankfully. I erected the outer tent, just to give me a feeling of greater security. Maybe the fire had a deterrent effect too?
It was very windy and the wind turned so that the smoke and sparks kept blowing in my face, so I retired to the teny earlier than last night.

DAY 240: Humptydoo to Walker Creek (Litchfield NP)

Fri 20th June 2008
94 km @ 14.0 km/hr
Sunny, 33 deg C
Elevation of destination 99 m
Distance to date 14377 km (8986 miles)

After last night’s song and dance I slept poorly, but got up just before dawn to hopefully avoid embarassing any early joggers that might come this way, and as the sun came up I was sat at the picnic table at the side of the loch watching the Egret’s coming and going, and the ducks browsing on the submerged weed. The sprinklers only stayed on for about 90 minutes and were quiet by midnight.
A nice early start then; away by 0815. I never saw a soul come into the lagoon park where I was. There was a bit of a headwind once back on the Stuart Highway, and I stopped for an iced coffee at the first Servo, and was also tempted by a home-made steak and bacon pie - which was delicious; all lean chunks of meat.
After 18km I took the right turn onto the pleasantly quiet and scenic Cox Peninsular Road and rode 24km, via the small settlement of Berry Springs, to the left turn onto the Litchfield Park Road. This is gravel for 43km, and my hopes that it would be in good condition were initially met since workmen were converting the first 9km to paved (tarmac). There was only 3km tarred, in the middle of this stretch, but the other 6km were good and flat, however there were 2 short sections being wetted and rolled and the claggy clay flew up and stuck everywhere that the mudguards didn’t prevent access to - so some cleaning will be called for asap. My new chain looks brown with clay dust too. This 43km road is quite pretty; mostly rolling Savannah and Pandanus forest around a twisty road, but once past the first 9km I was too busy watching the road in front of me to take much notice. It was 34km of almost continuous corrugations, with a few longish flat strips where I could get some speed up, however I was caught napping a few times when the flat, hard road became thick bulldust, and on one of these I lost control and fell off. It got worse - I punctured (rear of course) about 24km in, and had to find a shady bit to do the necessary. Maddeningly, despite me checking the tyre inside and out for splinters / the cause of the puncture, and having checked all my 3 spare tubes a few days ago, within 15 minutes of retsarting the tyre was flat again! I can’t understand why, unless there is a tiny splinter there that I couldn’t see. Anyway I got away with re-pumping every 15 minutes or so until the end of the day, about 2 hours later.
It was a relief to get back on tarmac again, and the last 10km of gravel had been a nightmare with continuous deep corrugations and deep sand patches thrown in at random.
I finally reached the NP boundary, then Walker Creek, which was one of several options for camping in this part of Litchfield NP. The information board showed 8 campsites spaced along the creek for 2km upstram; the first one was at 600m, so I thought I’d ride up and have a look, however there were some large steps and no way could I even push the fully-laden bike up them, and I left the bike and walked up to have a look at the first site at least. Well, Site 1 was vacant, and utterly gorgeous! The camping area was set some 50m on the other side of the river, which is about 4 or 5m wide, and access is across the flat rocks forming the top of a 4m-high waterfall. Needless to say I went back for the bags and even though it took a while, it was well worth it. I only saw 1 other couple on the path so I have the place virtually to myself - the self-contained camping area is virtually unseen from the path so it’s quite private. It should be $2.50 a night to camp but there are no special envelopes so I guess the NP folk are not bothering charging.
I quickly set up, then got the billy on, then went to sit in my ‘private’ waterfall for a while cooling off. There are swimming holes further up I think, and the river is deep enough to swim in just 100m upstream from me, so I’ll check that out tomorrow. I’ll definitely be staying at least another night! This is the best camping site so far on this trip.
There’s also a good fireplace and lots of wood to collect everywhere, so I got a good fire going at dusk, which was nice and cheery. I felt so content and relaxed I actually sat by the fire until well after 11. Before that I cooked pasta and salami and had about 4 mugs of tea. The ranger passed with his family early in the evening and seemed fairly impressed that I’d dragged all my gear and bike up the path to this site - well, it was definitefly worth the effort.
I feel asleep later than usual to the noise from the falls, which cancels just about everything else out - not that there’s much else to keep me awake - certainly no humans for several km anyway.