After a few rest days in the lovely little town of Blackbutt, which made up for in charm what it lacked in fresh veggie supplies, we headed out to travel to Nanango with Alienor and her friends Gordon and 12 year old Harvey.
Alienor and I have been leap-frogging our way up the trail since back in Aberdeen. It’s great to have the extra company at camp from time to time when we bump into each other, and indeed sharing the trail with someone is rather handy in other ways. When Fly was itchy and irritated at Emu Creek, we saddled up in such a fluster that I left a pair of hobbles and tether rope behind, which Alienor was kind enough to pick up for me on her way through the next day.
Likewise, when River lost his brand new hoof boots down at the Brisbane River, we were able to pick them up on our way past a few days later.
So with 7 beasties, 2 adults and 2 children, as well as Gordon in the back-up truck, we certainly made for a merry bunch as we snaked our way along the old coach track, over Yarraman Creek and up onto North Old Esk Road. We met coordinator Bruce along the way, who was most helpful and forthcoming with tips and information.
We arrived at the Nanango showgrounds late and tired, and while Alienor went ahead after a couple of days, we stayed on a little longer to await FLy’s new pair of hoof boots, which were due to arrive at the PO later in the week. These ‘enforced’ rest days in town are great, as they allow us to feed up the bubs as much as possible. Hay and copra was theirs for the taking and it’s always a nice thought that for the time being, all they have to do is eat up and rest.
I studied the notes for next section of the BNT, comtemplating the idea that on any trail, trekkers soon learn to ‘read between the lines’ of guidebook notes and become rather adept at deciphering what they really mean for the walker. For example;
”The steep gravel descent beings in earnest and trail drops steeply for 2.2 km”
Really reads as:
”high slippage potential and resultant derriere bruising”.
”Ascend the crest of a ridge with spectacular views”.
In other words,
”Prepare for a long, hard, uphill slog”’.
The ever-comforting, ”Trail descends gradually downhill”
is akin to:
”Easy going- can probably squeeze in extra milage”
Or then there is the dreaded:
”Follow a faint track bearing 160 degrees down a gully. The trail disappears from time to time”,
To be interpreted as:
”Potential navigational issues-Pack extra batteries for GPS.
Luckily, you don’t see the following sort very often:
‘‘Arrive at the T-intersection at the 6 lane Warrego Highway. No pedestrian crossing. Suggest take animals straight across, then turn right in front of hotel.”
”Start panicking now!!!
But the notes for the following section looked fairly straightforward and after a lovely few camps at the Brisbane River, Elginvale Sawmill, Bunya Hole and Cullins Dam, we arrived at the home of fellow donkey-lover Dorn. What a treat it was to have a bed and four walls for the night. In fact, our tent was rather neglected for the rest of the week, as amazing Kilkivan locals Rosie and Steve took us under their wing.
We couldn’t believe how lucky we were when we invited to shelter from the forthcoming rain and stay in Steve’s refurbished cottage all to ourselves for a few nights. I am eternally grateful for their generosity and will always remember what genuine kindness we found in Kilkivan.