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Must we dig our way through Australia?

Three Grid-Camp — 2000-07-17

The good old drizzle wakes us at 5:00 a.m. and, as usual, we can’t stand the thought of leaving our clammy sleeping bags and getting into our soggy, dirty clothes. My first job, after loading the camels, is to get the damn fence lowered, which turns out to be more difficult than expected. One of the posts is so deeply imbedded in the hard earth, that I have to give up in disgust and find an alternative section to work on. This time I have to uproot four posts in order to lay the fence down and after working my guts out we are finally able to cross the wire and continue our journey at 10:30 a.m. My left knee is beginning to hurt after all this digging and I have started to limp ‘Do you think this will keep up?’ I ask Tanja. ’I’ve no idea, it would be terrible if it did though’ she answers me with a worried glance. ‘I would never have thought that we’d be forced to dig our way through Australia. If this keeps up, I don’t think my tortured body can handle it’ I sigh and old doubts raise their ugly heads once more. Dark storm clouds are racing overhead and it wont be long before they empty themselves, we quicken our pace and keep our eyes peeled for a good camping spot as it’s already 4:00 p.m.

There doesn’t appear to be any good food for the camels here though and I decide to round one more bend in search of something better, when suddenly we spy another horrid cattle grid sign. ‘Maybe we’ll find a place to stop there and can spend tonight right next to the grid’ I suggest. Tanja nods wearily and we head toward the yellow sign, taking note of another windmill about 500 metres to the left of the grid. The way is paved with broken glass bottles and we take great care in winding the caravan through this labyrinth. Tanja walks a little way ahead and finds the best path to the windmill, under which we find lots of bones amidst a huge mess. The approaching rain, the mess all around, the broken glass and most of all the masses of sheep’s bones on the ground, makes the atmosphere here almost unbearable and although it is fairly late, we decide to make the effort and lower the fence, seeing as there is no gate in sight. This time, I manage to bend the wires with the help of my Leatherman and we bring the animals through quickly. After repairing the fence once more we start looking for a good place to spend the night and at 4:30 p.m. we let our camels down on the stony ground, only to discover that one of the supporting chains on Goola’s L-frame is broken. ’I’ll replace it with a rubber band’ I say, but we both know that we’re going to lose this L-frame too very soon.

Day: 67






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