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Day 21 - Spinefex and Arriving at the Bungle Bungles Nat Park from Spring Creek

2011.06.12
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Spinifex cushions.
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This is spinifex. There are quite a few varieties. I'm not going to guess how many but i vaguely recall the number 32 as significant.
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Date 9 June 2011 Thursday

Destination: Spring Creek to Walardi campsite in Bungle Bungle Nat Park
Distance: 53 km along the rough dirt road to visitor’s center and then 11km to campsite

Departure time: 9am to 4.30 I think. To the visitor centre and then andother 2.5. Hours o get o the campsite. I went past the turnoff and was pointed back to the right way by some lodge workers. I was fuming by then. I was fine when I got the VC but this last stretch of road after being told it would be better undid me.
Water - Drank a fair bit. Plenty in the little creeks along the way. About 29 crossings to do.

I would have lost a lot of weight today, and over this 4 day period in fact.

[Note some of these notes are about ensuing days as well as the 9th. That’s because it seems I wrote this diary later and not in the evening of day. So it may read a bit mixed up though I have tried to fix it up a bit]

9.0am Breakfast at spring creek
Oats, apricots, almonds, sultanas and milk
Coffee offered by my neighbour

Which I meant I didn’t have to light my fire.

[I can’t now believe that breakfast was at 9am as I thought right up until now that I left not long after day break - ie more like 7am]

1pm: Lunch at by the side of the road.
I can hardly remember what I ate now.
It must have been spaghetti w peas but it might have been something else.


7pm: Dinner at Walardi campsite
2 glasses of red wine offered by Punch and Carol the first people I met at the campsite.
The wine took the fizz out of my mood which was bad by the time I got to the campground where there are no showers but you still have to pay $11 to camp here. Though I get a discount and got free entry because I came in by bike.
Then these lovely people offered me a piece of their excellent damper/scone made with
Plain flour, oil, egg, french onion soup, sundried tomatoes and I think maybe chives. Cooked in a camp oven.
Eventually I cooked some spaghetti w peas. - I think it was about 10 pm when I was recovered enough to cook dinner.

[Its funny now but when I rode in to the campsite I was in a bad state of mind. I pulled up to try to find the river (which was dry) and a guy behind me, spoke to me. I don’t know quite what I said but he said I was ready to bite his head off. He told where I could camp and shortly after offered me a cup of tea. He already had a fire going in the communal fire pit. I baulked for milliseconds at the tea and he offered me wine which took me milliseconds to accept. With that offer of wine, my frayed temper suddenly evaporated. I had actually already thought beforehand that a glass of wine was probably the only thing that would fix me right now. And indeed it did. Perhaps I should keep some in my first aid kit!]

[So then I passed a pleasant few hours in the company of Punch and Carol around the campfire with wood shipped in from the jarra forests of South Western Australia - which bugged us all - rather than disturb the pristine rotting logs surrounding the campsite. I had to admit that it was nice to see dead trees around. Who would have guessed. The explanation for it though is that the dead trees are important habitat. There were others who joined us around the fire and so we all had a jolly time and I, being tired, delayed pitching my tent and cooking dinner, even though Punch had offered to help me pitch my tent. ]

[Punch also told me about a woman who wanted to hike up the gorge and who was on her own and would probably appreciate the company so I went to introduce myself to M. She was in her 60s I later learned - but a youthful, fit and very diminutive 66 year old. She was greatly relieved to have my offer and for my part, I would later realise that having company would help me in my resolve to keep walking.]

Riding in from the visitors centre to the campsite at the end of the day, the scenery was beautiful but the road dreadful with so much sand. On such a road, its difficult to control the steering and to go forward and I had to get off often. There were lovely mauve wildflowers and russet coloured grasses all in pale patches that looked so painterly. The backdrop were the bungle hills themselves with the setting sun shining down on them. I was too exhausted to take pictures though and too angry to take more time and anyway I didn’t have any more time to spare as I arrived in the dark as it was. The bungle hills are rounded and orange and black. They’ve been weathered by time and rain so make stunning and original formations but you will see what I mean in future days.

Riding in to the VC was fine even though the road was rough and with lots of small hills coming out of the creeks and bog holes. I usually had to dismount and push up these hills. I was silly about that. I had missed a chance that morning to have my gear carried in by a car and then I didn’t want to ask anyone who was passing me so I just had to stick it out. At least 100 vehicles passed me on the road today so there was no shortage of opportunities.

The scenery riding in was stunning with the lovely green velvety pillows of spinefex which in fact are spiky to the touch. When I brushed up against them later I noticed they had a delicious original scent that would make a great perfume and wondered why hasn’t anyone tried to capture that fragrance. But brushing up against them should be avoided because it stings as well as scratches.

The morning after my arrival I cooked up my meals on the gas cooker of another camping family while they packed up. These were people I had met the night before and offered me this opportunity. We weren’t allowed to have a fire up the gorge and there was no wood in the fireplace. left People are very helpful and generous to me and each other here.

The visitor centre was very busy. The woman at the counter been good to me but M. said she was rude to her. [ In hindsight, I think M is one of those people who finds nearly everybody a bit off]

Christine, the camp host let me leave my bike and gear locked up in their shed while we went walking. She and her partner are allowed to live here for a few months and just manage the campsite. Its a common activity amongst the grey nomads. They told me on Saturday about finding two dead people on these long walks. One died from heart attack and another from thirst. People don’t drink enough. C and B reckon people should drink a litre an hour, an amount which horrifies me but when its as hot as it gets here, even in winter, perhaps its a good idea but this means, you can’t carry enough water to last the whole way. We were lucky with our weather. It wasn’t too hot but somewhat overcast and we would have turned back a lot earlier were it not for this. Our bags were so heavy and walking on the stones and sand was hard. My bag was mainly a problem only because I was carrying a pannier rather than a backpack.

But the gorge walk was lovely and good for pictures on the second day when the sun came out.

I am tired I think had bettter go to bed even though the write up for these three days is pretty pathetic.

The bungles are stunning though and worth visiting. [They are even worth paying $11 camping fee for the gorge where there are absolutely no facilities.]
2 Comments
Oweena Wine can solve a myriad of woes.
Oweena · 2011-08-19: 14:12
JenPat Oweena is right.
JenPat · 2011-08-19: 18:37
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