Saturday, 23 July 2016

Half-lap Day 81: Karajini -> House Creek

Tony was up first and rode his bike down to the Fortescue Falls lookout to watch the sunrise. There were no clouds today and he said it was really beautiful. I got up not long after he left and started the pack up – as always our stuff had spread everywhere in 4 days, and we wanted to travel a fair distance today so didn’t want to linger.

Pack up went quite smoothly, the kids didn’t get up early but we were able to do quite a lot while they were still in bed, then once they got up we quickly put away the beds and folded up the tent. Caitlin rode her bike over to our friends to get our ice, and brought it back to put in the fridge. The ice we’d bought was still mainly frozen and all our things still cold, so we hadn’t lost anything by the fridge being out of power for 2 days. She also had a look to see if she could see the family we met at Circular Pool on the first day – she found their site but they weren’t about.

Our friends came past around 9.20 to say they were leaving, and they took our rubbish with them to drop off in the rubbish trailer. We planned to meet in Tom Price (the nearest town) – where there would be phone signal again so we’d be able to get in touch. We were ready to leave by just after 10, very happy with that effort!

It was funny driving out, seeing all the red dirt on the outbound side of the road, while the inbound side was clean. The dirt here is even thicker than the red dirt we experienced up through the middle, and it really does get into everything. Millie and LiAM look like they are heavily tanned, while it’s actually a layer of dirt. The white bottom of my runners are now completely red, and all our clothes have a much more red tinge than they used to.

The drive to Tom Price was pleasant, nice to see Mt Bruce again and beyond that to see more of the Hammersley Ranges. We found a trailer parking space near the Visit

ors Centre, and walked over to Coles to get supplies – running into our friends on the way. The kids all stayed outside to play in the playground and look at the statues of Australian animals, Tony went to Betta Electrical to get a new fuse for the fridge, and we mums went into Coles to get supplies. We all met back outside – Tony had bought a fuse and also a new cord for the fridge, and it was plugged in and working again. I took the cold stuff back to the car and brought lunch supplies back to the picnic tables. Our friends had contacted a family that they’d met in Broome, who live in Tom Price, and they came down and joined us for lunch too. The kids all played in the playground, we chatted and ate, and planned the rest of the day. We agreed to try to get to a free camp a few more hours down the road, and stay the night there next to our friends. She was going to drive the dirt road, while we’d go around the long way on the bitumen, so she’d try to save us a spot next to her if she could.

They left and we went down to the Visitors Centre while Tony went and filled up our water containers. We bought a few gifts for people at home and the kids got a couple of souvenirs. On the way out of town we stopped for petrol, and saw the family Caitlin had been looking for that morning, also on their way to somewhere else today. LiAM and Millie and I walked across the road to see the massive mining tip-truck that was on display at the entrance to town. It was seriously huge – the wheels were twice my height, and the whole thing weighed 98000kg. The town is surrounded on three sides by rocky hills, and they framed this large machine beautifully.

We headed off, through Parabardoo (where there was another mining vehicle on display, a green one this time) and then west. I had a little nap in the car (my first car nap) and we listened to more Harry Potter – finishing the 5th book. There were a lot of cows on the road today, we had to slow several times to drive carefully past them, and a couple of times they seemed determined to walk in front of us. We saw a snake on the road at one point and stopped to look closer - it was a (very long) black headed python, which had been run over, quite sad to see.

The landscape was similar to the area around Karajini, lots of rocky hills, with plains in between. Some of the hills were quite spectacular, with interesting crevices and valleys. The plant life was mainly quite low to the ground, lots of spinifex and the occasional tree.

We arrived at House Creek rest area a bit after 5 – we’d been worried we wouldn’t make it before sunset then realised that sunset would be a little bit later today as we’d driven so far west. Our friends were there, all set up, and had a space next to them where we could go. There was time to set up before dark – Tony and I did the quickest and most efficient set up we’ve ever done, I think. The 3 big kids went exploring to find wood for the fire, while the girls played with their toys on the picnic rug. We had the fire going between our tent and their van, we cooked our dinner separately then all sat around the fire and ate it. Once again it was great company and the kids enjoyed playing together. After dinner we all had marshmallows and s’mores.

It was a bit colder tonight but quite pleasant in the tent. The girls had moved inside to play and were very reluctant to go to bed, eventually we were all ready to call it a night and they agreed to stop playing for now. It was a dark, cloudy night and felt so peaceful except for the occasional truck slowing and pulling in to the cattle station opposite us. We headed to bed around 9 and read a very exciting chapter of Inheritance.

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