Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day 14: Being Flexible with Plans

Despite having felt pretty good during the previous days' walks, on Day 14 my foot began aching only 4kms into the hike, which felt like we hadn't even left camp yet. Annoying, but we had technically planned to only walk 10km more to Mugla Camp.

Orange break amongst wildflowers on the way.
However, by the time D and I pulled up to Mulga Camp in the mid afternoon, Englishman, GUF, and Rugby had finished lunch and were raring to push on to the next camp at Simpsons Gap, which would mean a total of 24km walk for the day (and a pretty late arrival to camp at best). As I sat exhausted by pain on a (surprising and convenient) picnic table bench, it was clear I couldn't manage that. So once again we decided to split up; the energetic oldies would race to Simpsons Gap, then spend the whole next day resting there, whilst D and I split the walk over two days, and we'd all sleep together the following night at Simpsons Gap. Thank goodness we had the ability to split up like this, because it was really helpful for my painful feet.

So off the other three went, while D and I relaxed and scoped out Mulga Camp, which had two smallish water tanks, two rather battered picnic tables, a drop toilet, no specific shelter, and approximately 76 trillion flies.

Not 15 minutes into our quiet lunch, I asked D, very puzzled, "Do... do you hear a truck??" AND SUDDENLY UP RATTLES A TRUCK out of nowhere, seriously where did they come from, and out leap two brawny blokes who start chatting whilst dismantling the campsite around us holy crap. They're like, "You weren't planning on staying the night here, were you?" Welp, not anymore.

I had almost forgotten what trucks were like.

Dude started up a generator in the back of the truck to run a power saw to saw off the bolts holding the picnic table together. Amazing.

So, after filling up all our water bottles and still feeling rather disoriented, off we walked to find a different place to camp. Our trail book indicated a campsite only a few kms farther along the trail called Arrenge View. We found a dilapidated signpost with this name on the side of a hill, with no flat space in sight (but, indeed, a mighty find view of Arrenge Bluff). We trudged on for what felt like forever, with my feet hurting more and more and more, until we realized we must have passed whatever used to be the Arrenge View campsite (because there definitely wasn't a campsite along the way now). I was exhausted and bitchy with pain, but D decided that we had to turn around and go back to the creekbed we'd passed to camp in the soft sand. Was he seriously telling me I had to retrace my (incredibly painful) steps? D very carefully cajoled me back down the track and he deserves a medal for being so nice to me.

I am finally sitting down, hence the strained smile. Also, there are about 50 million flies here too.

Checking out Arrenge rock from our creekbed campsite.

View of Arrenge rock, with D's slippered feet propped up after a long day of taking care of me.

To be continued....

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