FRIDAY 15 AUGUST ADELS GROVE
Day off for us. Not much of a sleep in because of the genset noise.
This morning, a big, lovely, quiet, generator was brought over from the Mine, on loan. Everything worked again, even better than usual. But the majority of the icy poles were beyond salvage.
The cook freaked out – too much of her vegetable stock had been sold through the shop!
L and R – friends of the bosses – arrived from Isa, bringing with them some stock to replenish what had not been ordered – soft drinks, some biscuits. But we were still under stocked in some things. It really was an impossible ask for the boss to juggle everything. V and I had tried to help by doing a check of stock each week, and writing down what was needed for the shop, for her to order. But she still tended to forget where she was up to, when interrupted – usually by the baby.
There continued to be a really big cloud build up through the day. It apparently then rained at Mt Isa, at Thorntonia and at Riversleigh, but passed to the east of us, fortunately. We did not need red mud around the tents!
I packed some sandwiches for lunch and we put one of old F’s repaired canoes up on the roof rack and headed off to the National Park.
Launched the canoe from the new ramp and paddled off up through the Middle Gorge. This time, I took my camera, in one of the plastic barrels from the canoe hire.
We made our way through the impressive, tall, red walls of the Middle Gorge, then carried the canoe – very carefully – along the path around Indarri Falls, and relaunched it back into the creek.
Paddled on along the Upper Gorge, through the narrow constricted section that tricks some into thinking that is as far as they can go, and on to the much wider section of creek below the Upper Gorge Lookout.
The end of that wider part really was as far as could be canoed, 3kms from the launching ramp. We beached the craft on a sandy bank beside the creek and set off to explore further by foot.
We walked upstream, along the side of the creek. We mostly followed tracks that had been made by feral pigs, through the spinifex and scrub. These were quite passable to pig height – about thigh high on us – but a bit dense and prickly above that height. But we could see where to go, at least.
We found lots of very pretty little water holes, alternating with rapids sections in the creek. I used two rolls of film on today’s jaunt!
Reached the tributary Carless Creek. This had flowing water, so we concluded it must be spring fed, too. It originated somewhere just to the east of the Musselbrook Mining Camp, we thought.
We’d probably walked along side Lawn Hill Creek for about a km when we reached the tributary, then walked some way alongside this, before running out of pig trails to follow and finding the bush bashing a bit hard.
Ate our lunch sitting beside a little water hole in this creek. We were so quiet and unobtrusive, just sitting there enjoying the peace, that a large feral pig wandered down the bank opposite us, just doing what pigs do.
These pigs were such a problem in the Park – and at Adels, in particular out around the rubbish dump pit. Cook’s husband regularly took a rifle out there, late in the day, and sat up in a tree, waiting for them to come in scavenging, and shot as many of them as he could. This may have discouraged them from the pit, to some extent, but did nothing to alleviate the broader issue that they posed over much of Australia. What really worries me is the prospect of human disease, spread by pigs, getting loose in Northern Australia.
After lunch, made our way back the way we’d come. John was using a stick to push aside the vegetation along the track, and accidentally hit me in the eye with the stick. Luckily, my glasses didn’t break, but it hot at such an angle that I developed a black eye, which later became the cause of some comments!
We came across a plant with distinctive black and red seeds. M later identified these as a poisonous native pea species. Around here, they were known as Black-eye Susan.
On a narrow part of path, a dragon type lizard suddenly rushed at me from the side. It was clearly in attack mode and gave me quite a fright. It was a pretty little thing, with a really long tail. It actually tried to bite me – ferocious little tacker.
Retrieved our canoe – happy to see it was still there. Very few tourists canoe quite up as far as where we left it.
As we paddled back down the gorges, saw a couple of freshie crocs, sunning themselves on logs over the water – they were looking quite fat and healthy.
We left the canoe with the rest of the hire stock at the Park, so didn’t have to go to the effort of getting it back up on the roof rack of Truck.
Showered and had a pleasant happy hour sitting watching the resident birds and feeling happy with the world.
Then went up to tea. There was fish for tea. But there was not enough left after the guests were served, for the staff to have a proper meal – we were given very tiny serves. How hard was it to count out pieces of frozen fish, this morning, and get it right?
Even the poor meal could not spoil what had been a delightful day.