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Published: June 29th 2013
At Mount Chambers Gorge
Did I say "Sweet Dreams" last night? I thought so, my mistake, really turned out not so sweet after all.
After dinner we spent some time on the blog and catching up on the news on the internet, then not long before bedtime Andy said "why are my feet getting wet?" That was not a good sign and we could not figure out why we had water coming up through the floor.
I knew it had been raining heavily and there was some pretty major water coming through the camp site, but it wasn't that deep!
We hastily lifted the seat cushions and opened the box sections under the seats to find one section was pooling with water, we still could not figure out why though.
After a few minutes deliberation, chat and thought the penny dropped, the cooker was still pulled out from the side, and as it was raining heavily, it was acting as a shute to direct rainwater directly inside and onto the floor of Gypsy. As soon as I realised I shot out of the door, grabbing a tea towel on the way to try
This creek was dry when we arrived!
and wipe down the surface, which was more of a losing battle with such heavy rain, so I pushed the cooker back in and hoped for the best. (just a note to say this is user error and nothing to do with the manufacture of our lovely trailer.)
Andy was soaking up the water with a kitchen roll, the carpet was soaked, our socked feet were soaked (thankfully we were not wearing shoes, otherwise we may not have noticed) hoping that we had captured this in time, we kept the heater on to dry everything out, we were sweltering in the heat, but it was the only way.
This box section is where we keep some spare clothes, toilet rolls and kitchen roll. Fortunately the bed was dry as it sits above the kitchen section, so we knew that we would still get a good nights sleep. Eventually we closed the box sections and remade the bed hoping for the best, but in bed all we could hear was the rain thundering on the roof, it seemed to rain all night and we both dreaded what we would find around us in the morning,
Was dry for 3 years!
Until we arrived of course
because it may also affect our onward journey toward Arkaroola.
We both feel that on this trip we are seeing a very different Australia to the one we travelled first in 2008 when the whole country was heavy in drought. We have had a lot of rain on this trip so far, it is good for the country so we shouldn't grumble. When I popped out to the amenities in the evening, the paths were just rivers of water, I had taken a brolly but it seemed to be a waste of time as I got soaked anyway.
At first light, I checked the radar picture and it seems that most of the rain has passed, but there is still a heavy patch to the south, so it looks like we are just on the edge, because believe it or not it is still raining. I cannot see if the Arkaroola road is closed, I checked the Department of Transport and Industry website for outback road closures, but the one I want is not listed, I am not sure if that is a good sign or not.
We had very few
Getting Muddy Again!
Last nights rain had washed the dirt off, but a few k's and the mud is stuck with us again!
options today, the gorge was closed to all traffic today and access to Wilpena Pound was limited because you would have to walk across the flooded creek. I know that we will be missing out by not doing the Wilpena Pound, but otherwise we have to sit around here all day and neither of us really want to do that, I can hear all my 4wd buddies groaning right now, because we will have probably missed the best bit!
I had sensed a little bit of excitement here this morning, and whilst at the information centre we found out that the creek has not flowed since 2010, so everybody was out taking photographs and it appeared to be the main topic of conversation. Helen had advised that the gorge roads we did yesterday are now closed because of the heavy rain, and as I wondered yesterday when the last time they were closed, Helen told me it was a couple of weeks ago. Before they reopen again a grader will drive through to regrade the track through. It usually happens pretty quickly.
We made our decision to move on, we would chance
But I don't know which one!
the road to Arkaroola, roughly 200k's from Wilpena on an unsealed road, knowing again that we may have turn back as we were oblivious to the road conditions and if the floodways were going to be too deep for us to cross.
Andy said that we would take it nice and steady and once we were off the bitumen aired down the tyres for today's journey, he took them down to about 35 psi instead of the usual running pressure of 50, all being well, we should be on dirt roads for a while, so it was the sensible thing to do, allowing us more traction on the dirt track and minimising the chance of a puncture with sharp stones.
We crossed a couple of floodways, but the water flow was minimal but still splashed over the bonnet, others were just damp where the water had come through. Eventually the sun was putting in an appearance, the day was getting brighter and brighter the further North East we travelled but we watched the black clouds still to our right hand side, hoping that we would miss them entirely.
On separate occasions
Dry River Bed
Prone to flash flooding.
we had near misses with emu's, 3 of them! Pretty close because they seem to just wait until you are next to them and then bolt like crazy out of the bush and across the road, I am pretty sure it is only the speed that saves them, their heads seem to flatten in line with their bodies which gives them speed to move. Sheep were a bit of a problem too, they also wait on the side of the road until the last minute.
The road ahead was dry as a bone, it looked as if there was no rain here at all, I gave Andy easy direction today as there were only a few turns to make, I also identified a suitable overnight bush camp, despite us being excited about getting to Arkaroola it would be nice to break today's journey and have a restful afternoon.
We saw an airstrip for the station that we were driving through, the doors on the hangar were open and we could see the plane inside, what a different way of living!
Eventually we turn off for Chambers Gorge, some 8 kilometres from
As long as it stays dry!
the main track, we find that we are driving through another river bed, signs advise that it could be prone to flash flooding. We see someone ahead of us who has the same idea, but I am sure this place is big enough for the both of us.
We head separate ways in the gorge, driving down the dry river bed, eventually we cross paths and go in separate ways again. No sooner than we set up we see them on the opposite bank, but we are all obscured by scrub and raised fairly high from the river, so if it rains we should be ok, albeit with the potential of being stranded for a couple of days, but so be it, we are ok for supplies (for a couple of weeks!)
The day is now very warm, and although we loved being at Wilpena, it feels great to be away from the rain and the cold, which felt as if it was hemming us in.
We have a great spot here, I wandered around to take some photo's, Andy tinkered with the truck and whilst it was still daylight we
prepared dinner which consisted of some great chorizo sausages.
Andy also chopped up some onions and peppers to put in the freezer, we have some individual bags made up, this will help us in the long run as when we run out of fresh veg, at least we have some prepared.
As soon as the sun went down it became very dark very quickly, the stars were making an instant appearance, I saw with the help of my iPad, Mercury slowly descending below the horizon. It was prevalent as it was the brightest star in the sky that we could see.
The camp fire is awesome, the hot water bottles prepared, in the meantime the moon suddenly rose behind us bathing us in very bright moonlight and lighting the landscape ahead of us, we also see a shooting star.
The sound of the silence here is deafening, you would not even know there is another camper across the river bed apart from the occasional sound, as I am sure they can only hear occasional sounds from us.
The night is not as offensively cold as
some we have experienced on this trip so far, but it is a clear night and no doubt it will get colder, but we are prepared, hopefully the sunrise will not take long to warm the morning for us.
It would be nice to get out of bed at a reasonable hour, most people we have come across on this trip are not putting an appearance in until at least 8am, which is fairly unusual as most people like to be up early and on the road.
Andy wafts the flames on the fire to make sure we are still warm, the only sound we can hear right now are the tiny little squeaks of the bats going about their nocturnal business. I think when this log has burnt down, it will be bedtime.
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