Caroline and her Wedgie

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June 26th 2013
Published: June 30th 2013
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This was awesome, I loved the aboriginal at the back, he looked like he was just about to step out of the rock
Awaking from blissful slumber, I felt pretty lousy, my throat was sore and I felt generally rubbish. Luckily for me, Andy did the decent thing and got out of bed to put the kettle on, except that it wasn’t the kettle he boiled up some milk and made us both a hot chocolate. That was enough to coax me out of bed, but that’s as far as I got for a while.

Andy was on a roll, he also made some pancakes with golden syrup for our breakfast, it felt like a lavish outback breakfast but one that went down well with the onset of a cold.

As I was not up to much I sat just on the edge of the awning and slightly out of the sun and read a magazine, I also did a crossword puzzle or two, one of which was cryptic and surprisingly I finished it, I don’t think I have ever finished a cryptic crossword before.

We noticed the small group of motorcyclists leave, but today it felt that the dry river bed below us was a super highway, the traffic came and the traffic went, one vehicle even drove up past us, he stopped for a chat on his way back, we exchanged views on the weather and road conditions as we were going in opposite directions and he went on his merry way.

Apart from doing my daily chores for Gypsy, making sure she was neat and tidy inside I really did not do much, I decided to take a shower as I thought that would make me feel a little better, especially as tomorrow we are leaving here and heading to where there is a little bit more civilisation (I do mean a little bit more).

Feeling refreshed I got the camp oven out and whilst Andy got the fire going I knocked up a Shepherd’s Pie,, of sorts anyway, I added a tin of peas, sweetcorn and carrots, plenty of stock and instead of doing mash, I sliced the potato to sit on the top.

When the coals were ready, and the tripod poised, Andy careful hung the camp oven on the tripod and piled some coals on top. The result was delicious and as I added plenty of stock, it had not gone dry when it was over the fire.

There was no rain at all today, I think the temperature got to about 21 degrees here, this made us chuckle as we had read a news item a few days ago that said the warmest temperature in the UK would reach 26 this summer. If I was still living there I would feel grossly cheated out of my summer, seeing as our 21 degree’s was in the middle of winter, though we have to say, that this temperature is not representative all over Australia, in some places, it is cooler and some places its even hotter, ie Winter in Canberra is between -2-15 degrees and Darwin is 17-33 degree’s, so in this huge country there is equally a huge temperature variable.

The evening was quite cloudy so we did not have an amazing array of stars above us, except every now and again one just peeped out from behind a cloud before it vanished again.

Being that we were both feeling lousy, Andy is now going down with a cold, it was an early night to get warm and have a read.
Gypsy and Jack Gypsy and Jack Gypsy and Jack

Leaving Mount Chambers
I am now ploughing through my fourth book of the trip.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

The morning came round and I was feeling worse than yesterday, but we had agreed to move on today, we relaxed over breakfast, and while sitting there we heard a noise of something running through the stones on the dry river bed and to our delight we saw two Emu's running past us, one adult and one baby.

An interesting fact about Emu’s which I have only just found out about, apparently when we see an adult emu with some baby ones tagging along behind, it is the male emu. Once the female has laid the eggs, she clears off to do her thing and the male emu, incubates and takes care of raising the little one’s.

We wonder what an Emu egg would taste like, they are absolutely huge and are dark Green in Colour, we think you would need a whole loaf of bread for Toasty Soldiers if you did a hard boiled Emu egg and you would also need a massive egg cup.

Here are some fascinating Emu facts from Wikipedia.

The soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds reach up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. They have long thin necks and legs. Emus can travel great distances at a fast, economical trot and, if necessary, can sprint at 50 km/h (31 mph). Their long legs allow them to take strides of up to 275 centimetres (9.02 ft) They are opportunistically nomadic and may travel long distances to find food; they feed on a variety of plants and insects, but have been known to go for weeks without food. Emus ingest stones, glass shards and bits of metal to grind food in the digestive system. They drink infrequently, but take in copious fluids when the opportunity arises. Emus will sit in water and are also able to swim. They are curious birds who are known to follow and watch other animals and humans. Emus do not sleep continuously at night but in several short stints sitting down.

Emus use their strongly clawed feet as a defence mechanism. Their legs are among the strongest of any animal, allowing them to rip metal wire fences. They are endowed with good eyesight and hearing, which allows them to detect predators in the vicinity. The plumage varies regionally, matching the surrounding environment and improving its camouflage. The feather structure prevents heat from flowing into the skin, permitting Emus to be active during the midday heat. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and thermoregulate effectively. Males and females are hard to distinguish visually, but can be differentiated by the types of loud sounds they emit by manipulating an inflatable neck sac. Emus breed in May and June and are not monogamous; fighting among females for a mate is common. Females can mate several times and lay several batches of eggs in one season. The animals put on weight before the breeding season, and the male does most of the incubation, losing significant weight during this time as he does not eat. The eggs hatch after around eight weeks, and the young are nurtured by their fathers. They reach full size after around six months, but can remain with their family until the next breeding season half a year later. Emus can live between 10 and 20 years in the wild and are predated by dingos, eagles and hawks. They can jump and kick
Looking BackLooking BackLooking Back

From whence we came
to avoid dingos, but against eagles and hawks, they can only run and swerve.

I am not sure what time we left camp, but we were in no rush, our plan was to head to Arkaroola. This was a must do on our list, a number of our 4wd friends had been there and highly recommended a visit.

Arkaroola is a wilderness sanctuary located in the North Flinders ranges, it is owned and run by Doug & Marg Sprigg, whose parents were the very first people to ever cross the Simpson Desert by motorised vehicle, which is quite an achievement as it was 50 years ago this year.

Driving back out through the dry river bed, we see that there were some other campers here last night, you would never have known that they were there. The river bed soon spat us out onto the main track and we turned right toward Arkaroola.

The scenery was still as amazing, one minute vast and just covered by scrub and the next minute we are meandering through hills and creeks, following the line of the Flinders Ranges. We had 2
Jack & GypsyJack & GypsyJack & Gypsy

This is one of my favourite photo's of J&G in out back Australia, we had stopped for Caroline's Wedgie
close misses with baby emu’s as they ran after their dad in front of us, sadly we did see a couple of dead baby emu's on the road. A dead kangaroo had a Wedge Tailed Eagle feasting on it but of course had flown away just as we realised and therefore once again the coveted photograph opportunity has gone.

I have many photographs of blurred Wedge Tailed Eagles as they fly off their feast, I have the edges of their wings, their legs and mere spots in the distance, I have yet to get a decent photograph. However my patience was about to be rewarded.

Reaching a junction, I directed Andy to the left, but I could not believe my eyes, when looking past the sign posts there were a few Wedge Tailed Eagles feasting, a couple flew off, but one remained. Perhaps it had gorged itself to the extent it could not fly (I remember this happens as so many get killed when they cannot fly off the road kill so they get run over).

Andy was laughing at me as I reached for the camera, he said that it
Stopping for lunchStopping for lunchStopping for lunch

At the Balcanoona Rangers station
will be gone before you get out of the truck. I took one shot through the window and then opened the door carefully, not shutting it. The Eagle was aware of my presence it was not eating, it looked wary.

I would take another shot and then walk further towards it, but using the signposts as a bit of camouflage, until eventually I got as close as I could then off it flew. But I did get a good photograph, finally! Though I did wish that I had a bigger lens, it will go on the list for when we get back to work, just don’t tell Andy!

Parked at the junction, it took your breath away, there was nobody in sight for as far as the eye could see we were or at the very least felt totally alone in outback Australia, fortunately we have had periods of this before or else I think it would have scared us to death, nowadays we like the solitude of being on our own, it seems to let your soul breath.

Feeling triumphant, on we went, passing some roadworks on the way, these
Camels shouldn't take drugsCamels shouldn't take drugsCamels shouldn't take drugs

If they do, its makes their legs do this.
were about the only vehicles we had seen so far. The road narrowed to a single lane at one point for a few kilometres, but bizarrely in all that time that we had big roads and saw no one, another vehicle came in the opposite direction, typical.

We arrived at Balcanoona, where the National Park Headquarters are for the Gammon Ranges. We note that for a day visitor you don’t need a pass, but you do if you want to camp. We make a mental note of this as we may camp in the Gammon Ranges on our way back, they have self-registration stations so it will be easy to do on the way in.

We stopped here for some lunch, before heading back to the junction and turning right for the short 32k track in to Arkaroola.

Arriving at reception, it looked busy and we had a job to park. Once inside a nice lady on reception explained all of our options for camping to us and we chose to stay in the caravan park for a couple of nights just to recharge all the batteries on the truck, trailer, camera’s and our own!

There are tours that you can do from here too, but as neither of us are feeling that well still we decided to have a think about it, get camp sorted out and some washing on the go.

In the laundry there is only one washing machine working and fortunately it is not being used so I get a wash on the go. I expected it to take about half hour so I left it to do its thing then went back half hour later, only to find that it was still filling with water. It took over an hour to do one load, but still it was done and we would have clean clothes.

I hung the washing, although it was pretty late in the day, I knew it would not dry, so took a chance on leaving it out overnight, partly because I could not be bothered to bring it in again and hang it out again in the morning!

Despite chatting to some other campers who were going to the bar for a drink, I also believe some were interested in
Wedge Tailed EagleWedge Tailed EagleWedge Tailed Eagle

I could not get close enough for a decent shot, but had to crop the picture close for this one.
the 2nd match of the State of Origin, we were really not feeling up to socialising so had a quiet evening at camp.

We looked through the photographs of the day, both pleased with our efforts.

It is not really all that cold here either, which is surprising as we are fairly high in the mountains and I thought it would be colder.

Despite having done the hot water bottles, I don’t think we really needed them Andy pushed his out of bed, I kept mine close though as I would still benefit from it's warmth in the morning.

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


A Mob of Emu's A Mob of Emu's
A Mob of Emu's

These guys had been messing around in the dam.

30th June 2013

Hi A & C, Caroline ..... I'm so envious. You have finally managed to get your Wedge Tailed Eagle photo whilst I still live in hope. I chased the elusive perfect wedgie photo from here to Western Australia and back again over many months, across 4 states and thousands of kilometres and, like you, only ended up with many a blurred; parts thereof; legs; patches of blue sky; flapping wings and other parts-of-the-anatomy photos as the bird took off so, unfortunately, the perfect wedgie photo still eludes me. Well done!! Perseverance won out in the end. All fine here although a bit soggy. Has rained continually the last week dumping 150mm rain on us but, the city, even more. Our wettest June in 6 years. A few patches of blue sky this arvo tho'. Hope you are both feeling better by this and over your colds. Love, Jan xxx
1st July 2013

Caroline's wedgie
Emu sandwich for lunch?

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