Theaussiechallenge Post # 45 Ellandale Rest Area

Day 54 88 days to go. Distances: Sun 26/8 Wamun (Turkey Creek) 96km, Mon 27/8 Purnululu NP, Bungle Bungle Range 0km, Tue 28/8 Mary Pool RA 116km, Wed 29/8 Fitzroy Crossing 187km, today 94km total 3990km. It’s 4pm Thursday 30/8/12 Ellandale RA. I’m currently sharing my peanut paste sammy with a whole bunch of top-knot pigeons that are clearly very wild and shy. I arrived about 2ish and only just now feel some personality coming back to my brain. This is in noway a winge as the weather is sensational but it’s between 38-42 degrees and I’m still sorting how best to balance the kms and heat stress. I pulled up today well and truly brain fried and the body stepped in saying ‘no more today Maree.’ But it was a late start after a late night and my liberated moment of turning the alarm off at 5am came back to bite me. I didn’t get on the road until 8am about 3 hours later than when I need to be. Today just reminded me of that so good revision lesson. I haven’t had heat stress since starting off in Thailand and it’s a bit icky tricky. What comes to mind is the first days of rain leaving Brisbane and thinking, ‘there be days down the track where you’ll want to be down poured on….yep these are those days I be thinking !!!! 🙂 So from tomorrow until we hit a change in weather it’ll be 4am up and 5am starts. It seems the more difficult the conditions the more kind folk become…isn’t that an awesome thing!! At the rest area was a hippy bloke I met at the RA out of Kununarra. He’s from the Blue Mts traveling for 3months with his border collie but heading home now cause he’s homesick and misses his Mum. He’s untidy around the edges but a big sweet kid and topped up all my water bottles before heading. Then George who’s from Caboolture and traveling with his wife and another couple, came over and said, ‘when you’re ready come over for a cool drink.’ I beat him back to his van and stayed for an hour enjoying the shady sit and warm company. They have a 17 y/o cockateal called Sparky who’s mummy’s boy and living the dream on the road with mum and dad. They can reach the ripe ol’ age of 30!! His only close encounter has been with a baby cassuarie in Mossman but mum snaveled him first so Sparky’s adventures continue. I then went to set up camp and the lads came over with a tarp to block the afternoon sun. Another german couple cam over with two oranges which I’ve just now devoured and shared with the bush bees. They are just as persistent and sticky as the desert flies so the head net is well and truly on. It cools down slowly now to balmy beautiful evenings and sleeping under the grasshopper fly is so beautiful. It’s full moon on the 1/9 so the stars and moon are currently serenading me nigh nighs. I haven’t managed a post for 5 days with all that’s been happening well into the evenings.

On Sunday we were about 50km outside of Turkey Creek when Bruce pulled up alongside us on his way to the Bungle Bungles. He had just bought a sticky bun from Kununura Brumbies and in no time we were under a tree having that coffee and picking the conversation up where we left it at 41 Mile Bore Rest Area. Gorgeous man!!!! He said…’hey do you want to join me if you got the time I’d love the company!!!!!’ HELL YESS!!!!!! We met up with him in Turkey Creek then unpacked Rube and found a space for our stuff in his ute. A couple of hours later we’re driving at perfect light o’clock to get the first impressions of this magnificent national park. I’m going to save the words and let the photos do the talking. Some things just need to be seen to be captured. One thing I will say is it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. There’s a northern and southern end to the park and camp grounds at each. We went into the northern part first and had time to see the sunset from Kungkalanayi Lookout before setting up camp and having a pretty early night of it. We started at early o’clock and walked the Echidna Chasm and mini palms Gorge before lunch. Back to camp and packed up then we drove to Piccaninny Creek and the postcard end of the park. We couldn’t have planned the timing better to walk The Domes and Cathedral Gorge. Bruce was so exhausted and headed back to the car while I ran the last walk to the lookout over the creek and domes as the sun set. No comment!!!!!!! We drove back to camp over sunset and I cooked him up a stir fry of what odds and bobs I could find in his fridge to say thank you. It wasn’t too shabby and he was chuffed to be spoilt. We packed up slowly in the morning and were in Halls Creek after lunch where we said our goodbyes and big big thank you’s. Bruce said simply, ‘we’re mates now and will be talking!!!’ Nice my friend we had a ball!!!! The following is taken from the Lonely Planet to include some information for you.

“PURNULULU NATIONAL PARK – BUNGLE BUNGLE RANGE The Purnululu National Park, 3000 sq km of ancient country, is home to the wonderful ochre and black striped ‘beehive’ domes of the Bungle Bungle Range. The distinctive rounded rock towers are made of sandstone and rough conglomerates (rocks comprised of pebbles and boulders), moulded by rainfall over millions of years. Their stripes are caused by differences in clay content and porosity of the layers; the rock within the dark stripes is more permeable, allowing algae to flourish, while the lighter layers consist of oxidised iron compounds. While the local Kija people have always known about them – purnululu means ‘sand-stone’ in the Kija language and Bungle Bungle is thought to be a misspelling of ‘bundle bun-dle’, a common grass – the formations were only ‘discovered’ during the mid-1980s; the park was created in 1987, and added to the World Heritage list in 2003. The park has wonderful Aboriginal art gal-leries, gorgeous swimming holes within the gorges and a wide array of wildlife, including over 130 bird species. The stunning Echidna Chasm in the north and Cathedral Gorge in the south are about an hour’s walk from the car parks, while the soaring Piccaninny Gorge is an 18km round trip that takes a full day to walk. The restricted gorges in the northern part of the park can only be seen from the air. The park is open April to December; rang-ers are based here during these months. If you’re driving, you’ll need a high-clearance 4WD, as there are five deep creek crossings. The turn-off from the highway is 53km south of Warmun, then 52km along a very rough 4WD-only track to the Three Ways junc-tion. Allow at least 2½ hours to get to the visitors centre. Kurrajong Camp and Walardi Camp have fresh water and toilets $11 per person $11 per vehicle.’

That night I peddled into mary Poole Rest Area and it was like a school reunion!!!! I met Mick and Mom and Molton Man again, Sue and John, and a bunch of other folk who I can’t remember names but it was social o’clock. I worked my way around the rest area catching up with everyone and joined Sue and John for dinner in my travels. The evening was fabulous but went a little pear shape. They were back burning on the other side of the creek and I ended up deciding to move about 10pm due to the smoke and fire risk. I moved with Jill, another vanner, to an open area away from the risk and it was after midnight before I tried to get some zzzz’s. Crap night sleep unfortunately and moreso crap timing as the next day was 190km into Fitzroy Crossing. Thank goodness I was saved by Julie and David along the roadside offering me some cold water which I inhaled. Other vanners topped my water bottles up during the day which is necessary as there’s no supplies outside of the towns. About 5km out of FC, David came back and invited me to dinner which sounded perfect. They were at the first campgrounds which also worked and after arranging a freebie stay I was soon enjoying happy hour with these fine fine folk. Their child is the most handsome-ist lab called Jordie who loves cuddles, his stuffed Monkey who is his comforter, and his poo bear teddy. We had the best evening together sharing stories. I loved hearing of their recent time spent with David’s brother in a community in Armehn Land. Crazy Crazy Crazy interesting. These people are amongst the absolute gems of folk I continue to meet. It’s the soul and best part of Theaussiechallenge and Rube couldn’t agree more. I have left so much out I know but in between talking to folk during the afternoon, it’s now 7pm and time to round up the night with dinner and early zzzzzz’s. I’ll add any details tomorrow if needed but it’s good to catch up on what’s been a really amazing and very very special 5 days yayayayayya. The folk from earlier today have just donated $10 and another couple have made me a salad to have for dinner when I’m ready. I’m incredibly blessed and thankful. The evening’s cooling down and the moon’s two days off full. yep you guessed it, it looks pretty bloody-fantastic from where I’m sitting right now. I haven’t been given any other cash donations over the last days but heaps of folk have taken cards to make an on=line donation. However with the money tonight that makes it $1244.35. Nigh nigh and talk soon x

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About shecyclesolo

If you could dream up the most wildest adventure imaginable what would it be? Between jobs and craving new experience, I decided to indulge the challenge. This is what I conjoured with a promise to come home safe and smiling. I hope you enjoy the 1080 days of stories as much as I will sharing them. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

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