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We think we're in a fairy-tale world

Maranalgo-Camp — 2000-07-18

We get underway at 9:30 a.m. today without any problems. We begin crossing small hills a few kilometres down the track, on top of which we have great views of the seemingly never ending bush land around us. The bare face of Lake Moore spreads out before our eyes and dark storm clouds fly over it, covering the sun. A strong wind from the south west whips big rain drops around our ears while we hurriedly pull our rain coats on. With the wind in our backs we feel like we’re flying over this great land. We study the animal markings on the ground over which we travel, as we have been doing these last few days, and have little trouble recognising most of them. ‘There must be cattle here in this area’ I say, pointing to the ground, and it’s not long before we see them in the surrounding bush. Small herds cross our path occasionally and we notice that one of the animals comes to a halt in front of us, staring intently in our direction. ‘It looks like a bull’ Tanja thinks and we peer forwards as we come closer and closer to the animal. It turns out to be a bull after all and we cast a worried glance to one another ‘Notice that he’s only got one horn’ Tanja says ’Let’s hope he doesn’t decide to attack our camels’ We were warned about the threat of occasional, wild bulls, before setting out on our expedition but can’t believe that we should meet one here, on this relatively small station. Nevertheless, we remain vigilant and alert as the beast refuses to move a centimetre during our approach. Suddenly he turns, thank goodness, and scampers into the bush as we get to about 15 metres before him. As we continue, we get the feeling that we’ve entered a fairy-tale world, in which a multitude of sheep, kangaroos and emus accompany us on our journey. I dream of being in some sort of fantastic zoo as Tanja’s voice suddenly pulls me back to reality ‘Is that a grid sign up ahead?’ I squint and concentrate on the yellow dot in the distance, recognising it for what it is. This time we get away with bending just a few wires of the fence before crossing into the next station, ‘Maranalgo Station’ a sign proclaims. Another rusty sign warns us that horses are to be found over the next ten kilometres and we decide to cover the distance before stopping for lunch, fearing that Istan could flip out at the sight of them. In just two hours we walk the ten kilometres without incident, except of course for one more cattle grid which we must overcome before continuing our march. A pleasant breeze blows through the camp this evening and the sun is shining a little so I am able to dry our sleeping bags at long last.

Day: 68






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