Sunday morning was brilliantly sunny, and swag or not, when you woke up, it was impossible to go back to sleep on that hard ground. My tentmates and I were getting up by somewhere between 6:30 and 7, but I think we were the latest to get up. Breakfast was in the process, as bacon sizzled in the pans, and bread was being patiently toasted on sticks.
We had bacon and eggs, cooked over the fire, and for afters, Andrew brewed some billy tea. This is done by boiling water in a metal tin, which has a handle (like a bucket, but smaller). Tea leaves are dumped right into the can, and the can is put on the ground, to let the tea steep for a minute.
Then, Andrew grabbed the handle and swung the billy (tin) around and around, like someone playing Around the World with a yo-yo. Yes, that’s right, he swung that can of boiling hot tea around and upside down, but so fast that nary a drop spilled. I wish I’d known what he was about to do, I would have tried to get a picture of that. He said it was supposed to draw the tea leaves to the bottom of the tin, but that he had spun it too fast to work properly. I decided to take his word for it.
I enjoyed my tea, and didn’t notice many tea leaves in it. There was an incident, when I set it down on the eski (cooler) for a minute, and something splashed next to my mug. For a second, I thought I’d sloshed it, or somebody else had spilled something nearby, but no. A bird, right over my head, almost pooped in my cup. I had bird poo splattered on the side of my cup, but thankfully, it didn’t go in. So, I could only drink from one side of it.
A goanna (type of Monitor lizard) came wandering by, and they thought it might be the one that swiped some of our bread, in the middle of the night. After that, we packed up our campsite, and Andrew doused the fire. Bush fires are no joke out here, especially when it’s still the dry season, so you have to make sure the coals are completely out. The resulting ash cloud from the fire-dousing blew all over the camper, and Loz had to wipe all the ash off of a sleeping Baby D. But he looked adorable, ash or no ash.
Now, I’ve checked the map of Blackdown, and I can’t remember if there was a name for the area we hiked to next. Anyway, wherever we ended up parking, Andrew took us into the bush, and we didn’t walk for too long. Once we reached some large rocks, it took him a little while to find the Aboriginal paintings. But when he did, we all hurried over to see them. There were handprints surrounded by red coloring, as well as what looked like emu footprints, up where we couldn’t reach. So, we had some interesting discussions about whether the Aborigines had to stand on several people’s shoulders, in order to get an emu drumstick up there. Yeah, we have discussions like that. : )
Then, further down from there, we had to do some cautious climbing down a LARGE tree branch, in order to reach the ground, because the rocks were too steep to jump from. After that, a couple of the guys found some pretty huge rocks to climb, bracing themselves in a crack between two or three rocks.
We returned to the cars, and for our last jaunt, we parked by Mimosa Creek, and started hiking downstream. For most of it, we were able to stay on the rocks, but at one section of cliffs, we had to make a pretty steep trek through the bush, before continuing on the rocks.
When we reached our destination, on the edge of another gigantic cliff, most of us sat down in the shade to rest and drink lots of water. But several people disappeared, and for a while, I didn’t know where they’d gone. Then I heard voiced above our heads, and realized they’d been climbing some of the huge rocks behind us, and Andrew was rigging up a rappelling rope.
Most of us stayed around to watch Caitlin and Sam climb up the rock face, but then some of us slower ones decided we needed to get a head start on the rest. When we reached the cliff where we would have to detour into the bush, we realized we hadn’t gone close enough to see what was under the cliff. So, heading further in, we found a waterfall and a pool, which were quite lovely. But soon, we were hiking up the steep incline, once more. The rest of the walk back was uneventful for us. We got back to the cars, had some snacks and drinks, and decided to head on to the Horseshoe Lookout, and take advantage of the glories of running water and real flush toilets.
For those of you who think you’re too clever or mature to do something stupid, please remember that accidents happen even to those that would never expect it.
While we were enjoying some well-needed munchies, after reaching the vehicles, the rest of the group had stopped to cool off and take a short swim. One of the guys dove into a pool, and swam up into the shallows. He’s still not sure how it happened, but he inhaled a bunch of water, and just remembers floating in some sort of dream, thinking that he should wake up, but unable to do so. He wasn’t aware that he was in danger of drowning, and he’s still not sure how he managed to flounder to the surface. As he wasn’t splashing around like he was in trouble, just floating there, and he’s an excellent swimmer, the rest of them just thought he was goofing around. Until he surfaced and realized what had happened, they didn’t realize, either.
So, just a caution to those reading, pay attention to what your friends are doing when you’re swimming. Even the best swimmers can have something go wrong, and you may not realize until too late. Our weekend could have ended very differently, but thank the Lord, it didn’t.
And we rounded out our weekend by one last meal at the Lookout, and then headed home. Every one of us was in need of a serious scrubbing in the shower, and as for me, I was still craving soda, which explains why I drank about… three of them, that evening. And for those interested, I never do that.