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Camels handle load well

Golden Grove-Camp — 2000-08-03

We step out into the clear and starlit night at 5:15 a.m., the thermometer showing just minus 4 degrees. Getting the camels loaded up is hard work, but the hours we put in yesterday make the job a little easier. Everything is loaded by 10:50 a.m. and I stand before the camels, filled with pride at how well we have stowed the 1000 kg of equipment. ‘Camels, walk up!’ I call, attempting to keep my jitters hidden.

Istan pushes his neck into Jafar’s rump straight away, looking around nervously. I lead the caravan slowly but surely to the Yalgoo road, reaching the track without difficulty but here having to hold Sebastian tightly as Istan makes a break for freedom. It only takes a moment for the animals to quieten once more, then we head slowly in the right direction. I quicken our pace carefully over the next 15 minutes and am relieved to find the camels working with me. It is a wonderfully sunny day without complications or problems, a mini bus full of tourists stops beside us to take photos. Almost every one of the travellers hangs out to snap shots of us and the camels, we take the time to exchange a few words before continuing on our way.

The first grid we reach actually has a gate beside it, just as Jo and Tom had reported. Even the second grid, our thirty second by the way, doesn’t pose a problem as the old fence is already laid flat. I tie the wires together, as Jo had suggested, and lay a few branches over the bundle, which the animals cross without a problem. It is late afternoon as we stumble upon a run-way to the left of the track. It belongs to the still active Golden Grove Goldmine, employees of which are often flown in as the distances are so great.

We come across a magnificent rock formation at 4:00 p.m. under which is ample food for the camels, a perfect spot to camp. Tanja creates her first pizza in the camp fire as I erect my bush office, in readiness for the interviews we will be holding tomorrow. I am struck speechless at the first bite, my taste buds going crazy. We enjoy another of Australia’s impressive night skies, sitting together by the fire, very happy and very tired.

Day: 84






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