Saturday, May 30, 2009

Catching Up (6)

Day 136 – 27 Apr 09

Hughenden seems to have gone even more dinosaur-crazy than the others. Everywhere you looked there was some reference to a dinosaur.

I must admit some of the sculptures done by local artists out of junk were very imaginative. Reminded me a bit of the sculptures on the Oodnadatta track.

Starting to get into some hills now, first since the Alice, if you don’t count those pimples coming in to Isa. Stopped for a break at White Mountains near Pentland. White I’ll go along with, but whoever called them mountains needs to get out a bit more. Looks like there could be some good bushwalking there however.

On to Charters Towers. It never ceases to amaze me that when you look at the buildings in the centre of town, you feel like you’re in a big town of 10 or 12 thousand people, and yet it is actually a very small town (although I understand is has a considerable non-urban population). I guess it is because it once was a very large town during the gold-mining days, and, unlike some towns which have simply withered away, CT has retained the prominent buildings in its heart.

I was looking for a likely area to camp between here and Townsville and notice in Camps 5 a spot called Fletcher Creek about 42 kms north of CT on the Greenvale road. The thing that struck me was that “camps” states that you can camp here for 30 days! Thinks: that sounds like a good idea to me. What a great spot.

Toilets, showers (cold) a broad, fast flowing creek which is spring-fed, so it’s permanent, plenty of shade, plenty of dead wood in the surrounding area and plenty of room. It’s perfect, think I may stay here for a couple of weeks.

Day 158 – 19 May 09

Oh dear, how time flies when you’re having fun. I’ve been here at Fletcher Creek now for 3 weeks and it only seems like yesterday that I arrived. I’d been here for a week, set up right on the riverbank, when along comes some wally from the local council, complete with Stetson and high-heeled riding boots, (you really need them when you’re driving a Nissan Patrol) and tells us all (there were about 8 or 9 campers) to bugger off. It seems the EPA doesn’t want people camping on the riverbank in case they do wee-wees in the water. This completely ignores the fact that there is a mob of about 50 brahmin-cross steers who wander across the creek each morning and you can imagine what they do in the water.

People are evidently only allowed to camp outside the line of posts 25 metres or so from the riverbank. Someone at one time has pulled a couple of posts out of the ground (probably for his campfire) and it looks like an access point to the riverbank, so obviously people use it as such. It seems that it is more efficient to drive all the way out here and tell people to move, than it would be to replace the posts and put up a sign or two.

I did the right thing and moved outside the posts, but seeing I’d been disturbed I thought right, well I’ll have to start again and have another week. After about 3 days it came over all cloudy and we had a bit of drizzle each night. I thought this was grossly unfair, to rain while I’m having a holiday and determined that I wouldn’t move until the weather improves. That took another week and by this time people had started camping on the riverbank again, but it’s none of my beeswax.

I suppose I should think about moving on again. Let’s see, today is Tuesday, and I don’t want to get to Townsville on a weekend, so I think I’ll stay here until the weekend and pack up on Monday to move on.

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