When I think back over what has transpired since my last Blog, there have been many special moments, and special for a variety of reasons.
Keeping my Blog up to date has been a bit of a challenge when I’ve had a string of days with no power or no internet (or both), however the bush camps that I enjoyed during that time made it worthwhile being off the grid for a while.
I was heading towards Carnarvon Gorge, but not before a quick catch-up on the side of the road for a cuppa with Mardi, my ‘U3A Writing Tutor’ and her husband Brian. Mardi and Brian live on a cattle property in the middle of woop woop somewhere between Wandoan and Taroom, not exactly near Carnarvon Gorge, but it was good to make the detour and meet my teacher face to face. Mardi was super helpful when I was writing my book and we’ve kept in touch on and off.
Arriving at Carnarvon Gorge, six years on since our last visit, the first thing I noticed was Bitumen. A recently completed new road now goes all the way to the start of the National Park. Even those creek crossings are all concrete or bitumen. That’ll get the tourists flocking! I had four wonderful days hiking and revisiting shorter walks that Ken and I had done together. This turned out to be both moving and somewhat bitter-sweet. But still special. New memories are being made all the time on this trip. I managed to hike one day for 5 ¼ hours, over 15 kilometres, and spent a good amount of time just sitting and taking in the silence of Wards Canyon. My campsite, complete with a fire each night, was on the top of a plateau with 360 degree views of this amazing part of Queensland. I was so pleased to be able to capture the beautiful colours of the sunrise on the sandstone walls of the gorge, by starting my hike at 6.30am. Dedication indeed!
On my first night there I joined the campers for Happy Hour. We sat in a big circle and each shared a story of who we were and our journey. It was fascinating. I got lots of ‘Well done’ and ‘How Brave’ and ‘Good on you’ from many campers. Seems I was the only solo woman there and one of the campers, a great story and joke teller, must’ve thought that because I was travelling alone I was ‘on the market’. Huh! Nothing further from the truth, but at the end of the evening he walked over to chat and wanted to give me a hug. Silly me – I thought he was just being friendly , so returned his hug and he tried to plant a kiss right on my chops! Good Grief! And I wondered ‘where was his wife?’ I was sure he wasn’t travelling on his own. This is the first time anything like this has happened, and I was annoyed and completely taken by surprise, so I kept my distance from him after that and thankfully he left the following day, but not before trying to steal another kiss! So I said ‘Bloody hell Bevan don’t be greedy you got one last night. That’s it, that’s all you get!”. The rest of my time at Lara was just beautiful. And is definitely on my list of ‘must visit again’ and for a longer stretch, next time.
However, there is so much to see in Longreach! I spent hours at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, including getting up close and personal with ‘Ollie’ a beautiful and very gentle Brahman Steer. My new neighbours James and Gillian in the caravan beside me invited me to a free concert with Golden Guitar winner Fanny Lumsden. Wow what a great voice and her music tells such great stories. Accompanied by her husband on Bass (string, not guitar) they are travelling in their tiny 80’s vintage pop top caravan. The following night James, Gillian and I went to another concert! This time it was in the Qantas museum with Louise King, solo Cellist performing. The evening was called ‘Bach to Bush’ and though only a small amount of Bach was played, the music was all incredibly entertaining. Louise was also accompanied by Percussionist John Morrison and I’d say John is as good a percussionist as his brother James is a trumpet player. All for a Gold Coin donation. Amazing.
The following day was 22nd July. Ken would have turned 68 that day and so I decided to take him with me (in spirit) on a day out and a night out as well. I know he would have loved it! I hope he really was there with me in spirit. I felt sure that he was. The Qantas museum was really interesting although my eyes began to glass over a little by the end of my time there – so much to absorb. Then my night out : loads of laughs from the moment I boarded the coach and then the boat for our sunset cruise which was really beautiful. And again, lots of new tourists to meet and chat with. It was a BYO tour which was great, I didn’t even have to worry about driving home as the coach left from the caravan park. The dinner was a generous serve of delicious Drover’s Stew with creamy mashed potato followed by pudding and custard. Then a bush poet entertained us, followed by a movie depicting the story of Captain Starlight. The night finished with billy tea and damper and more laughs. What a great night!
I left Longreach the following day, but I think I should leave it there and fill in the rest of ‘from then until now…… ‘ on Sunday!
So until then Hoo Roo !