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Relieved and safe

Bryah Camp — 2000-09-21

Despite the very low barometer reading of recent days, the sky doesn’t empty over our heads. The air pressure is considerable and the loading hard work. Around 8:30 a.m. we cross a roughly 20 metre wide, graded road next to the camp before continuing on the dirt track toward Peak Hill.

The track should lead directly to Peak Hill Gold mine, according to the map, but half an hour later my compass reading shows that we’re heading in the wrong direction. ‘We must have missed the turn-off to Peak Hill somehow,’ I say to Tanja. We leave the track once more and are aghast at the rubble we have to cross in the bush. We keep on moving in mounting desperation, not able to find the road that is heavily marked on the map. ‘I just can’t work it out!’ I curse and the fear of finding ourselves in a dangerous situation arises once more.

An hour later we stumble upon the graded road that we crossed this morning. Now I realise, this must have been the road to Peak Hill. ‘They simply graded it away!’ I can’t believe it. One problem leads the other and we keep going until we reach a huge electric fence around a mound, the excavated earth from Peak Hill Mine. We follow a barely visible path along the fence and head toward Bryah Station. Rubbish is lying all over the place, mostly broken glass that poses a huge threat to our soft hoofed companions. We continue to follow the graded road in a north eastern direction, we are as taught as wires and very anxious. ‘If this continues then we wont reach Bryah today,’ I say to Tanja who looks very worried. Suddenly our way is barred by a huge wall of earth. I scramble up to see what’s on the other side and my breath is taken away by the sight. Before me lies a massive hole dug by heavy machinery. So this is where they took the gold from the ground. I take a few photos and return to the caravan.

We follow some car tracks around the roughly 50 metre deep, 200 metre long and 200 metre wide pit until we reach another dirt track which evidently leads to the north and to Bryah Station. We are safe and extremely relieved. We reach Bryah Station at 3:30 p.m. and are absolutely burnt out. A blonde, heavily built man who turns out to be Geoff Wood comes toward us and shakes our hand with a friendly laugh. I find it difficult to return the laugh as I just don’t have the energy. We set up camp in a dried river bed about 100 metres behind the farm. The camels make a scene during unloading and act as though they’ve been bitten by wild apes or better yet fallen into a snake pit. Istan kicks and just misses me. Once we finish unloading them, the animals race off wildly to the cow trough beside the farm house where they sink their big mouths into the water and drink, drink, drink. After that we just sit in the camp for a couple of hours, still as stones and absolutely exhausted. Geoff invites us for a lamb roast in the evening where Tanja and I succeed in eating super-human amounts. We talk to the friendly, outgoing man and enjoy listening to his stories about his easy going life.

Day: 133






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