Category Archives: journal

Journal entry – Glenelg River to Big Desert, and Silo Art

   I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce J, my new travelling companion.
 

J on Moonah Track, Big Desert Wilderness Area

J on Moonah Track, Big Desert Wilderness Area


 
   At the time of this photograph—approaching sunset, 3 Jan 2017—J was not travelling anywhere, and it won’t take a seasoned 4WD veteran to see why. We did feel some trepidation with the sand becoming softer and deeper as we progressed, and did consider turning back a couple of times before getting stuck in this predicament, but since it was getting late and my camping site guide had promised me that a conventional 2WD could traverse Victoria’s Big Desert Wilderness Park to the Casuarina Campground where I had decided at the last moment to spend the night, I was not about to let my growing fear of the unknown dictate that I turn and retreat—“J is a 4WD… we can do this,” I foolishly fooled myself. In hindsight it would have been sensible to weigh up some of the extenuating factors: I was carrying no tyre gauge, no air compressor, no recovery kit, and I was following my sat-nav directions rather than the directions in the camping site guide. Indeed, there are two roads in and my sat-nav put me on the road that a conventional 2WD can’t traverse.
 
   I started letting air out of the tyres but, not having done this before, did not know what the recommended 18PSI might look like on a tyre sunk in sand in the absence of a gauge. I feared I might further complicate my situation so resigned to calling Emergency – 000, the only number I could call from here.

Call details
000
Outgoing 5m8s 03/01/2017 19:56
Outgoing 10m35s 03/01/2017 19:37
Outgoing Not connected 03/01/2017 19:34
Outgoing Not connected 03/01/2017 19:34
Outgoing 3m49s 03/01/2017 19:29

   Shortly after 11pm that night I had arrived at Casuarina Campground, with assistance from an out-of-town police officer and local farmer. One of the tyres was almost completely flat when we arrived, and another was sitting mangled in the spare wheel compartment after it popped off the rim along the way. The campground was empty, so the local farmer returned in the morning to re-inflate my tyres and I followed him back to Patchewollock along the safe track.
 
   The whole experience was extremely embarrassing, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Roger and Irene for extracting me from the danger I had foolishly placed myself in, and to Kevin at Patchewollock Rural Supplies who gave J a checkup at no cost before we limped off to Mildura on three standard wheels and one undersized space saver to have my damaged tyre replaced and wheel refitted.
 
   I will know in future exactly how to be prepared and what to do if I encounter sand like this again, and since there is always a bright side that will be it, but if I had done a one day 4WD course when I bought J the bright side would have been Casuarina Campground with me with my feet up watching the sun set, and this would have been a journal about the day starting beside Glenelg River at sunrise with beautiful birdsong,
 

then setting out for the Silo Art trail through Sheep Hills,
 

Sheep Hills silos

Sheep Hills silos


 
Brim
 
Brim silos

Brim silos


 
and Patchewollock
 
Patchewollock silo

Patchewollock silo


 
via a dry Albacutya Lake boat ramp to boat ramp track crossing
 
Albacutya Lake

Albacutya Lake


 
topped off with an exciting sandhill adventure. They say you live and you learn. If you haven’t taken the appropriate precautions it’s ‘If you live, then you learn.’


Three Impressions Of A Writer’s Waste Basket

three-impressions-of-a-writers-waste-basket


Journal Entry: Wallabadah NSW

Some photos from the shaded banks of Quirindi Creek at Wallabadah NSW today, teeming with life of all sorts: a rosella chick was stuck on a mangled branch in the water, its parents in a tree above looking pretty worried and warning it back from the water when it tried to wade free. I don’t know if the catfish circling it would have eaten the poor thing, but they looked big enough to make a meal of it.

Meanwhile a variety of dragonflies whizzed about, occasionally stopping on a sticking out stick to pose for each other and flaunt their stuff. A water bug of some sort spun circles in the shallow muck at the edge. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it had it not been for me watching the toe of my boot to make sure I didn’t slip in while approaching the stranded rosella for the best close-up. I briefly considered wading in to rescue the dear thing myself, but the story goes that if you touch a bird in the wild, even to save its life, the rest of its community will shun it thereafter if not actively injure it. It’s handy I suppose to know these things; it makes it easier to live with not wanting to get my feet wet.

For a small donation of $10 you can camp overnight here, behind the First Fleet Memorial Gardens at Wallabadah, south of Tamworth, beside Quirindi creek. And 2 minutes up the road you can get the best coffee outside of Italy, and the best burgers outside of Belgium. That’s what the sign says. I had a ginger beer and took the next side road away from the highway.