Published: February 19th 2012February 19th 2012
Drying out our soggy stuff
Hi all, this blog had no shortage of good blog title, wetting the Bed, getting in to bed with an umbrella, but we settle on Ding Ding Round 2,so read on and you will read why
It was 7.30 and as usual was the first in the office, I switch the lights on as I walk through and head over to my desk and do the usual routine of plugging the laptop in, switching on and while it goes through its boot up phase I head to the kitchen to put the kettle on and get some breakfast on the go.
I had gotten into the routine of heading over to the daily grind for breakfast with Andy (two skinny flat whites and two rounds of toasts to go), but the last few weeks have been busy so I have not had the time to spend on that luxury.
Most days the office is quite busy by 8.00 but this week it has been barely 8.30 before I have seen any other sign of life. Perhaps they know something that I don’t?
The truck is parked across the road, it is
The break in the weather
The puddles of water a Flea Creek
all loaded up for us to head into the Brindabella’s straight after work this evening. We don’t quite know where we are going, maybe Brindabella Valley road, in search of Wombats, or a little place we have been told about called Flea creek, the sky is blue but a few white clouds are hanging around. The weather shows that it will be a warm day but rain and possible storms are expected, later in the day I hear about a storm warning and possible flash flooding.
It rained in the afternoon, and remained quite cloudy with bits of sun, but undeterred at 4.30 Andy phoned and said “I will be outside of your office at 4.45”. Duly warned I started to make plans to finalise what I was doing and pack up, I still managed to be 5 minutes late, but never mind, we were away before 5!
Picking a route out of Canberra without having to backtrack to the North was easy, and soon we were free from buildings and the “hustle and bustle” of city life, ok that may be stretching the description of Canberra somewhat, but it is still a City!
The rain started to fall quite heavily, and Caroline said, Ding Ding round 2 “its raining again”, but undeterred we figured that if it was so bad when we got there, it was not too far for us to turn around and go home, besides we could see a bright blue sky on the horizon.
Arriving at the track head we locked in the front wheel hubs, engaged 4wd high and off we set, the track was not too bad, it did not appear to have had a lot of rain, but the conditions of the track were somewhat deteriorated from the time we were here at Christmas, but then there has been a lot of rain.
Soon the heavens opened and the track turned into a river, the heavy rain turned into hail that we can take this track with ease.
There are a lot of points on this track where it becomes steep and the track will suddenly disappear from sight, but slowly the truck rolls over and the gears will hold the truck for a slow descent.
By now the sun is back out
again, the “rivers” have stopped running and we are content in the knowledge that camping out tonight is still a good idea.
We arrive at flea creek and are pleasantly surprised that there are no other mad people camping out here tonight, the usual long drop toilet is pitched way back from the creek edge, we discuss a suitable pitch, some of them are waterlogged by now, but we do find a good one and make haste to set up while it is still daylight. And its not raining.
Unfortunately when we roll out the swag, we find that the inside is wet in 3 areas, the top, the middle and the bottom. We ponder this for a while, it is not going to do a lot of drying out as the sun has faded fast and the strength went out of it a while ago. We grabbed some tea towels and sponged up any residue we could in the mattress of the swag ad realised the swag was soaked too.
We did have a couple of options, we did not want to sleep in a wet bed , and one
Comfy in the swag
Icouldn't see a good enough reason to get out of bed, as I was comfy
option was to go home, so I said to Andy “if we were out in the middle of the bush somewhere seriously remote we would have no option, but to get on with it and work something out” and he said “with a little thought we will get over this situation.”
So we got on and did what we had to do. We took the mattress out of the swag, it was sopping, Andy got a tarp and cut it in half and though we had dried the mattress as best we could we did not want the damp coming through our bedding so with the split tarp it formed a barrier between the wet mattress and our lovely dry bedding.
They say “necessity is the mother of all invention” and soon we were happy with our achievement, as grand as it sounded our fall back plan if we were too uncomfortable then we would pack up and go home, though the climb out of the valley may be really tricky in the darkness as it was hell of a decent in. So we agreed that we would make it work, worst case scenario,
we would head out at first light.
With the bed all done, Andy changed out of his work clothes in to his usual shorts and T shirt, it may be raining but it is still lovely and warm. The kettle was set to work on the stove as we were both gagging for a cup of tea, and by the time we got around to cooking our dinner it was dark.
Fortunately, Andy has set the truck up really well and has put hours of thought in to it, the lighting is superb, so cooking a dinner when it is pitch black is easy.
We sat in the blackness of the Brindabella’s with our dinner on our laps underneath our pull out awnings and above us was the tap, tap, tap as the rain was slowly starting.
Within a few minutes it was coming down in stair rods, we just looked at each other and said “oh well if it gets too bad we will have to sleep in the truck”, but did not relish that fact, it would mean sleeping sat upright.
We heard a vehicle
and looked up toward the track, we could see a 4wd coming and thought that someone may be stopping for the night. Then we saw another and another and another, there was probably a group of 6 in all, it looked as if they were on a night drive, we all wave at each other, but one driver shouted “are you staying dry?” “Of sorts”, I shouted back. Then gradually they disappeared into the darkness and once again we were alone with the storm.
The thunder and lightning was amazing, the whole area just lit up for a millisecond followed by an enormous crash of thunder, Andy said he doubted we would see any wildlife tonight so suggested that we may as well go to bed.
As we cook at the passenger side of the truck and sleep at the drivers side of the truck, it was raining so hard, we grabbed one of the 3 golfing umbrella’s we keep and used it to go around the truck without getting wet.
Now here’s the trick, we are both dressed, it is lashing down with rain, I have to take my boots
off before I can get in to the swag, I undress and Andy Puts my clothes in the first compartment, he has to take his boots off one at a time so he can also step in to the swag, before he removes his clothes and reaches over and puts them in the front compartment, all this is happening whilst we are trying not to get to wet and not let any unwanted creepy crawley’s in to our bed.
It was probably 9.00pm when we snuggle down between the sheets, rain is still hammering down and the thunder and lightning has not abated, but we are warm and dry, for the moment and hope that the water does not seep through our bedding or else it’s going to be a long night.
I remember being awake at some point and Andy asked me what time it was, I tell him it is 11.30pm, the thunder has stopped, as has the rain, however the lighting can still be seen above the top of the mountain range, we both fall back to sleep.
We wake to an absolutely beautiful morning and the sun
is already warming the ground so much that steam is rising, the glistening of dew filled cobwebs looks amazing.
I look at my watch, its 08.20 we have slept for nearly 12 hours awesome and we are still dry, I think, no, on second thoughts, I know our trip around Australia taught us how to look after ourselves and this was one of those situations where you just had to work it out.
Andy rolls over and tells me his is comfy, he also says that he has no. intention of getting out of bed any time soon. I went and put the kettle on, and soon Andy Joined me, the sun was hot and the day looked like it was going to be great.
I asked Andy if we had any bacon in the fridge, we hadn’t as this little adventure was sort of impromptu and we said we would just eat what was in the truck, although I did manage to sneek a bottle of white from the fridge at home, and Andy only had two small bottle of beer, but didn’t care, we just wanted to get away
This is Flea Creek
without all the fuss of planning, shopping etc.
Andy said he knew there was a tin of spam, which is sort of a bacon substitute, so said he would fry up and we would have a Spam sandwich and HP sauce for breakfast, yum.
With a cup of tea done, then breakfast, then tea again, we sat in the sunshine reading it was bliss, what a perfect place, the only sounds the was sound of nature.
Our first task of the day was to strip the swag down and take the bedding out and use the sun to dry it out, we took it of its tarp and it was a little wet underneath, nothing serious, but when we took the bedding out it was a different matter as it was pretty wet.
The intensity of the sun cannot be underestimated, we carefully laid out our bedding in places that were already dry in the hope it would all dry out before the next deluge of storms that were promised for this afternoon.
The day baked, we put the hammock up so I could lie
in the shade and it did take most of the day to dry the inner foam mattress of the swag.
The amazing thing is that we are a good couple of hours out of Canberra and this track Is for 4wd only, but it was almost as busy as Piccadilly Circus (the London version that is), it was not long before a group of 4 drove past and looked for a site to pitch up, we chatted briefly and before long they were all set for the afternoon.
One thing amazes me, but the numbers of people that comment on our set up, makes me feel pleased really – it is a good set up. Almost perfect for a trip like this but one thing we have worked out is that there is no perfect set up, it just depends.
After a lazy afternoon in the shade reading, it was time to put the bed back together again, it was all bone dry and looking cosy again. The difference was this time that I put the other half of the tarp under the mattress just in case it rained again and
Me in the Hammock
soaked through the canvas, then the mattress would hopefully not get too damp.
That done, it was time to get dinner on the go, and as the sun dropped in behind the mountain one of Kangaroo Jacks famous curry’s was being prepared to sit on the camp fire.
Absolute bliss, I opened that bottle of white that I sneaked in and we enjoyed the fragrance of our curry cooking on the camp fire while we regaled stories from our travels.
I don’t want to speak too soon, but that storm that was forecast has not appeared, but as I write this it is 8.42pm and there is still time for that storm, but we are prepared and I guess this is what it is all about. It cannot be perfect weather every time.
With the curry all served and the washing up done, we settled around the campfire that was burning just nicely.
The light faded fast and we were soon sitting in the pitch black, with millions of stars to look at, Andy went and got the Binoculars, and we lay in our chairs
with them leaned right back looking at the stars and amazing us just how many there are in the night sky, we have heard there are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth.
In the distance lightning was lighting up the night sky but the evening was clear so we were not too worried.
The day had been great, we hadn’t done too much, but we had had fun and were tired so it was time to hit the sack and we were looking forward to it as we knew the inside of the swag was all aired and nice and dry.
It was a hot night and we slept with the swag cover only half the way up so we could look out and see the stars, whilst in bed we just appreciate how lucky we are been able to have adventures like this, it’s awesome.
We woke to another nice morning, but not as nice as yesterday, Andy was up first and put the kettle on and asked me if I wanted my tea “in bed” but I said I would
Caroline Cooling off
Paddling in Flea Creek
Andy had set up chairs around the camp fire and I started to try to get the fire going again, so we could boil some water to clean the camp oven.
The day started to get going and the sun was breaking over the valley, Andy read his book whilst I pottered around and got some breakfast on.
It was time to start packing up and we wanted to do it before it was too hot, so we set to, rolling the awnings away, packing up all the kit we have to carry then finally, rolling the swag away and securing it on the roof rack.
Some people who had camped by us yesterday had told us that instead of going back the way we came in (Gentle Annie Trail) we could cross the creek and go out the other way towards Macintyre’s Hut, across Webb’s Ridge Trail.
We started off and it was up, up, up and as the trail name suggested it was along the ridge, the view was stunning, we were told Macintyre’s Hut was a great place to camp,
Boiling the Billy for hot water, and doing the curry in the camp oven
even better than Flea Creek, but we unable to find it and ended up crossing a portion of the Brindabella’s ending up at two sticks road, where we took the bitumen back home.
The weekend was great and it was nice to be away, let’s see where we go next.
stones (thankfully not the size of golf balls!), Andy drove with care around the winding mountain road and just as we arrived at the track head for the Gentle Annie fire trail the rain and the hailstone eased off.
We reminded each other of our usual mantra, if at any point we think this becomes dangerous or we are not certain of how to tackle it, then we can turn around and head back out.
We hit the track and when it turned steep Andy eased into 4wd low and commenced with our descent. We had been warned that the Gentle Annie track was not that gentle and the truck crawled its decent in 4 Low.
This is where we are both thankful that we have had the proper training for this kind of terrain, we know what the vehicle
Kangaroojack's Chicken Curry
is capable of doing it, we know also know how the conditions of the track can catch you out and thus comfortable in the knowledge
There are more photos below