FRIDAY 2 JUNE OPALTON
Last night was another really cold one. Today, like yesterday, was sunny but with the cold wind.
L’s friends left this morning, and L went off to Winton.
John wanted to use the GPS and the Queensland Outback regional map we have, to find the old diggings area south of the Mayne River. He pre-set waypoints that he’d worked out from the map, into the GPS. However, the map was too small for him to pinpoint locations, and the tracks were not marked accurately on it, anyway. So his locations were not exact. This annoyed him and put great pressure on me to try to navigate with inadequate resources!
We set off, taking the track south. The first turnoff was supposedly 14kms south of Opalton. Because this didn’t match the GPS waypoint, John thought we were on the wrong track. This view was reinforced when the next supposed point was also not there. I thought the track was the right one and the positions were simply consistently out by a little to the south.
John took several side tracks, trying to find his entered waypoints, and we tracked and backtracked in the maze of tracks around various diggings. At least it was all quite scenic.
Eventually, we got back onto the original track and reached a long waterhole which we assumed was the Mayne River. Later, we found out that this was called Mailmans and there used to be a coach stop there. We had lunch there, with lots of birds around.
From there we continued roughly south, eventually fetching up where John was aiming for. It was an area of jump up mesa country and much open cut mining, but there did not appear to be anyone around.
We saw some emu wrens in the spinifex – lovely.
By this time, it was too late to do any serious fossicking, so we turned back for camp.
We got back to the Mayne River alright, but took a couple of wrong turns to the north of it. When we had been twisting and turning in that area in the morning, John had stopped me from marking waypoints on the GPS, as it was “cluttering up the memory”! So we were relying mostly on memory, here.
We came across a substantial camp, that we hadn’t encountered this morning. It had gardens and all. We had to check the way to Opalton with the man who was there. Even so, we took one more wrong turn.
I calculated we did about 40kms on wrong tracks, over the day! Out of the 141kms we drove.
I really enjoyed the scenery we drove through – it was a worthwhile outing just for that.
It was nearly dark when we got back to camp.
Tea was fries and battered oven-fry fish – cooked in a frying pan though.
After tea I read a book I’d borrowed from the Outpost.