Red-Headed Mouse Spider
This is the male, no I did not check, but you can tell because of the blue black body. Venomous and can probably spoil your day, no recorded deaths but has the potential to be fatal.
Day 1668/7, 1669/8 & 1670/10
Thursday 6, Friday 7 and Saturday 8 June 2013
We are settled in here at Lake Pamameraoo, just outside the Kinchega National Park, and North of Menindee, we are literally 12 feet from the water’s edge which is nice as you can hear the waves lap whilst you are in bed.
Also to listen to the different birds calling, including watching the waders do their fishing, as they stealthily walk through the water not making a single ripple and then all of a sudden they move and a fish is hanging out of their mouth.
Our spot is a prime spot, having a lake frontage and we are parked about 300 mtrs up from Wendy and Graham Savage, who own the awesome International D1100 that has been featured in the blog a couple of times and who we initially met at Wheelers Hut in Victoria at Easter.
As the nights are quite cold, neither of us are too good at getting out of bed too early, unusual for me I know, but I am just finding the bed way too cosy!
Whilst we were having breakfast we saw Graham and Wendy slide past in their canoe, Caroline shouted “Good Morning” and waved, they waved back as they slipped into the distance on the exceptionally calm and mirror like water.
Once we had our breakfast, it was time to do some exploration and we are in need of firewood to, which is to say that apart from keeping warm, it also helps with preserving valuable resources in the trailer, i.e. the gas and of course battery power.
We drive down to the weir, the weather by now was just gorgeous with the sun up we are in t-shirts despite this being winter. We stopped further up the lake pond where a number of Pelicans were lazily paddling around and we spied some wood.
We were not in a national park, so this wood is considered this fair game, it had already been felled and we didn’t need too much, so we pulled the truck to the side of the wood where it would not be too far to travel for Caroline to load them as I cut them with the chain saw.
It was all done and dusted in ten minutes flat, all cut and loaded, the saw put away and we were off for a further sticky beak around the remaining area, which is huge and has plenty of room for people to camp, this looks as if it would be a popular spot for travellers. We were impressed with just how big it was and how well laid out the sites were and to make it even better, it’s free.
Ok what you get for free are flushable toilets and running water to wash your hands, but that’s it, no power, so you have to be pretty shelf sufficient, but we are about 5k’s from this position, that doesn’t even have the facilities of the camp site, so no toilet or washing facilities, but that is the way we like it.
We mooched around in the sun shine then finally went back to camp as we wanted to make a fire with the wood that we had collected, it was all nicely stack and we foraged around to find some nice dry kindling the get the basic fire going as it
Of Dost Mohamet
was our intention to have a fire for the evening, but we were dismayed when we found that this type of wood is difficult to burn. It was disappointing as Caroline has told Graham and Wendy that when we got our fire going she would make a damper for afternoon tea, so that idea was abandoned.
The rest of the day was spent in between drinking tea and various camp chores, such as getting the swag down from the roof and making sure it was all dried out, due to that heavy rain we had to drive through early on in this trip, which incidentally only started a week ago!
The early evening brought some real benefits with it, watching the birdlife, this is a twitchers paradise, which neither of us is, however watching the birds go about their evening routine in search of food was very pleasant, especially as we watched a flotilla of pelicans float past us.
The sunset was a little disappointing because of too many clouds in the sky, that said, it has not rained so we are thankful.
We try to make sure we have
eaten before it gets dark, and as we usually wash up the next day were not in any rush once we had had our evening meal.
An earlier invitation to go and sit by Graham and Wendy’s camp fire was most welcome, Graham had a huge pile of wood that was good for burning, so we were truly grateful for the opportunity to sit outside and keep warm, it was great fun looking at the night sky (in between the clouds) and generally having a giggle and drinking beer.
Day 1669/ 8 - Friday 7 June 2013
Friday already! Today marks the day that we have been on the road for exactly one week, already it feels like a lot longer, but that is in a good way and perhaps shows that we have relaxed back into travelling.
Another cold start to the day, which makes us slow to start, I am truly amazed that I am once again out of bed before Andy. Instead of our usual brew, I go for a nice warming hot chocolate to start the day, unusual yes, but hey why not?
I have the milk on the go and no sooner than I pour the milk in, Andy appears at the door just like a silk worm emerges from a cocoon.
This morning means a trip into Menindee, a tiny town in the Central Darling Region with a population of around 900 it is quite small, when you go in to these small towns it is quite rare to get exactly what you require so it’s a compromise when you are travelling to expect the basics and sometimes at a price.
First though we need to stop at a Burke and Wills sign that we saw on the way past the other night, we find that it is a grave for a Camel Driver on the Burke and Wills Expedition. We find that he was an Afghanistan guy called “Dost Mahomet” who had been brought over from Afghanistan to assist with the management of the camels on the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition in 1860.
We have been doing a bit of research on this expedition and as some of the dates don’t tally about Dost Mahomet, we will leave it out,
i.e. one bit of research says that he was born in 1873 but if that was the case then he would not have been on the expedition in 1860.
We had a look at his grave and ponder for a short while, then drove on to look for some fire wood, one thing we need is firewood as we can save our precious resources in Gypsy, such as gas which we use to cook our food and boil our kettle, oh and keep us warm.
So we then turned into Kinchega National Park, we drove through the other afternoon, but had no chance to explore, especially as the roads were still very wet and with towing Gypsy we did not want to risk getting bogged anywhere.
A lot of the park is still closed, unfortunately this means that we don’t get to do the lake drive that people have recommended to us, because we cannot get there but we do go and have a look at the old Kinchega Homestead, which is just a pile of rubble with a walkway around it pointing out different areas that made up the homestead
and apparently vacated in 1967.
We find some of the camp areas that are still open, River Drive is on the edge of the Darling River, which looks somewhat depleted, the sites have a fire place ready for campers to use. We see plenty of Kangaroo’s and Emu’s today, we even almost tripped over one who was relaxing behind a bush at the Homestead until we disturbed it. The Kangaroo’s appear awfully big here!
We continue our drive down to the Shearers Quarters and Historic Woolshed. There are a few people picnicking down here, it is a lovely area. The Shearers Quarters are hired out as short term accommodation; they appear basic but very well kept. To one side we find a separate toilet block and a shower block. The shower blocks have a notice outside saying that if you want a shower you can make a donation, unless of course you are staying in the accommodation and then you don’t need to pay extra.
So we wander off to the Woolshed, on the way we see a spider very hastily making a retreat from somewhere, I photograph it and have
Around the Kinchega Hometsead
now identified it as a mouse spider, which is venomous, information does say that it can kill but no deaths have been recorded. Still it is not a good looking spider (none of them are really!) and we leave it alone to go about it’s business.
In the woolshed, we find that despite it not being used for some 40 years still smells strongly of sheep! It is very clean inside apart from the occasional cobweb and we make our way through the different areas that explain what they were used for, I can imagine this huge building being full of sheep and shearers.
Back at the truck we find our towels and wet bags and with our donation in hand we head off to the shower blocks (saves us setting up the Aqua Cube later and of course using our water).
Feeling refreshed we head into town and find the small supermarket where we stock up on some fresh food (chocolate and biscuits!) we sit outside the shop for a while and chat to another camper (we could tell because he just pulled up outside towing a huge caravan), we
The Kinchega Billabong
We could not work out why it is yellow
tell him where we are camped and what the site is like, actually saying to avoid the site that we are on because it is still very wet on the remaining tracks and people are still getting bogged.
No, we are not just saying that so that we get some privacy, but it is true, every vehicle that comes in is getting bogged and generally in the same spot which is now very churned up.
We slide off back to camp, without any firewood, we did not have a serious search around, but it is really hard to find here possibly also because it is popular with travellers as soon as a tree comes down or a branch falls off it is swiped for firewood.
After our evening meal, Andy works on the blog and we discuss camp etiquette, now we know that Graham and Wendy have a camp fire on the go, but we don’t want to just go and crash their camp site, we have shared the fire for the last couple of nights and they may want some solitude, I am not sure that it is the done
thing, perhaps I am just being English about that small conundrum.
Well, this question was soon answered when we saw a flicker of torch light in the distance and find Graham wandering toward our camp, avoiding the boggy bits, and invites us to share their camp fire with them.
So with a couple of beers in hand we set off to visit our neighbours where we spend another great evening chatting about life, technology and the stars. Which incidentally the stars are out in force, there is not a cloud in the sky, we can even see the Milky Way (not the chocolate one!) and of course it is now the coldest night that we have had since we left on this trip.
I know that we keep saying it but are we thankful for the hot water bottles already keeping the bed warm, must be the best $10 I ever spent!!
Day 1670/9 - Saturday 8 June 2013
Saturday turns out to be a really busy day, not. Another hot chocolate to accompany breakfast and this time we head out to a place Graham recommended to
us for some wood that will burn.
Back through Menindee and out on to the Pooncarrie Road (one of the roads that was closed when it rained), and we find the secret location for wood (you didn’t think I was going to tell anyone where to find the wood did you, least of all while we are still camping here?)
With the chainsaw in hand, we stock the back of the truck up with some decent wood,(Red Gum) which should be enough to keep us going until we move on. The wood would have made a good didgeridoo the inside had mostly been eaten away so it was beautifully hollow.
Back at camp Andy got the fire on and I made a damper that I had been promising since we arrived, I made it with beer, but I do not think it was my best effort, it did not seem to rise that well, we took it over to Graham and Wendy were it was soon devoured between the four of us with cream and jam.
The rest of the afternoon passed easily and very quickly, Andy knocked
up one of Kangaroo Jacks curries which we shared with Graham and Wendy sat around their camp fire for the fourth night in a row.
Another blanket of stars appeared across the sky, another cold night!
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