WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER MOUNT SURPRISE
We got up fairly early again, to go back out to O’Briens Creek.
On the way, stopped in the village for fuel – 76cpl – and a big block of chocolate, to take out to Sam in appreciation of his help.
We went straight to Sam’s to give him the gift, before it got too melty – the day was heating up.
Then called briefly at Diggers Rest. Sam had suggested we drive up to Blue Hills, to the north, and try fossicking up there. We double checked the route, on our mud map, with Gordon, then set off.
The track was the roughest one we’d encountered in our time out here, with a couple of very rough jump ups. I walked the worst – on the pretext of taking photos of Truck meeting the challenge! Which it and John did beautifully. There was an extensive view to the south from the top of the second jump up – can see how the place got its name as we were quite high up.
As we’d been told, there was a little sign by the road that indicated we’d reached the Blue Hills area. It was about 5 or 6 kms from Diggers Rest. As it was just sitting propped up by a rock at the road side, John picked it up for a photo shot.
It was different to the country where we’d fossicked, down below. That was mostly centred around the creek. Up top it was much harder to tell where to look for topaz. There were areas of quartz pebbles and small stones in places scattered across the flat ground, and little creek channels. But there was nowhere obvious that was diggings. The big bushfire had burnt across here, so at least there was fairly open ground.
John specked around in the areas of the little creek gullies. As I really didn’t know where to look, and got a bit bored after a while, I wandered off to look at the scenery and take photos. But still kept my eyes on the ground. In an area of quartz wash on the surface, by a burnt bush trunk, I found three big, clear pieces of what I thought were quartz and pocketed them. Showed John when I wandered back near him – he admired their size and we thought they were worth hanging on to.
It became very hot in the exposed, rocky area and so we called it quits, after having lunch. Going back down the jump ups was a little fearsome!
Went back to Diggers Rest to return our sieve to Gordon, as we think we’ve done enough fossicking. I showed him the pieces of quartz I found. Was astounded when he said they were blue topaz! The best! Three great big chunks of same. What a fluke. I told him how I’d just found them sitting on the top of the ground. We concluded that they must have been under a thick bush, that got burnt in the recent fire, thus exposing them. You can be in the right place at the right time……What a good way to end this little adventure.
Back at camp, there were neighbours in the next site, with quite a big van. It seemed a bit saggy at each end. They are also planning long term travel – in their case, ten years or more. Right now, I’m aiming for five or six years for us. They went out in the late afternoon to fossick.
I made curried tuna and rice for tea, and we opened a tin of apricots.
It was a very hot and still night.