So here we are in Queensland! New state, new beginning I am determined to be a more consistent blogger! So here we go.
From Killarney, we had a late start and after examining the map, planned on camping at the first Condamine river crossing. However, once we got there, to our disappointment there was nowhere to string our fence up to and too close to the road to rely on hobbles for the night, so we pushed on. The winter days are getting short and I was beginning to get a little desperate for somewhere to camp. But it is a funny thing- the BNT has a way of making things seem so ridiculously hard and impossible, and just when you think you’ve really got yourself into a fix, everything falls into place and you end up getting exactly what you needed.
True to this pattern, a farmer drove past us a minute later and asked us if we were looking for somewhere to camp, saying that we were welcome to his paddock. The next day, we breezed through the Condamine River crossings (the donks are rather old hands at it now… Who would’ve thought?) and camped at Teviot Brook. Unfortunately the campsite had been rather overgrazed by cattle and there was little pick left for the donks and Fly. Overgrazing- Another BNT phenomenon! I am sure that when someone said it was possible to find sufficient grazing to support a trek with 8 horses on the BNT, there must have been an awful lot less cattle in this country. Dont mean to whinge, but Fly and the donks tummies are very close to my heart, and they have sadly been rather empty as of late 🙁
The next day took us to Reynold’s creek, where we met an amazing Neil Diamond tribute duo living on the farm next door. They gave us a wonderful rendition of a few of their numbers- a very weird and wonderful experience and the last thing we expected to find out in the boondocks! The next day we had what was probably a record amount of rain- our tent was handling it pretty well until the ground became so waterlogged the water started to seep up from underneath.
Weird and wonderful seemed to be the theme of the week, as we set out the next day to cross a private property. As the guide notes mentioned that trekkers only needed to call if assistance was required, we made our own way through the property but soon became a bit disorientated. I rang the owner to get clarification on directions, and was instructed to come up to the house. By this stage the wind had picked up and was blowing an absolute gale. The temperature had also dropped dramatically. Once we had explained that we were on the trail and would like to please pass through, would you mind explaining which way to go etc, The farmer in question stated that it wasnt a good day to go through. Apparently a stallion was in the paddock. We asked if perhaps he would mind holding the stallion? NO, we were told, not today. Too windy. Okaaaaaay, I thought. What now? I asked if we could go through tomorrow then, and was told it would depend on the weather. After enquiring as to an alternative route and being told there wasnt one, there was not much to do but grit my teeth and set up camp right then and there.
We ended up spending a very interesting night there, with the farmer telling us about his days as a rodeo clown and his travels around the US and Brazil. Funny how even the most unlikely people turn out to have the most amazing stories.
We went through the next day and tackled the notorious Cunngham Highway stretch. A bit of bush bashing was required to stay on the fence line and away from the dangerous highway, but all in all, we found it extremely well marked and the directions clear and accurate. Z reckons she’s putting her vote in for book 6 for being the easiest and best marked part of the trail so far. What a relief to be done with the highway and away from the deafening roar of all that traffic though. For about the millionth time on the trail I felt incredibly grateful and blessed to have such steady, trusting animals.
Two days later, we ended up at Rosevale, where Shane and Jane were very welcoming hosts. They happened to be going in to Ipswich the following day, so we got a lift and ended up at the shopping center. What amazing places these are when you haven’t been in them for a while. Sushi, coffee, nachos, books, all there for the taking! Toilets with toilet paper, food, water, phone plans, everything one could possibly want! However after a few hours the novelty had worn off and I was well and truly ready for the bush again.
The next day found us camping next to a playground at Thornton, which we shall add to our list of Quirky Places we Have Camped on the BNT, which so far includes a cricket gear storage shed, cemetery, forestry huts, shearing sheds, stockyards and stables, among others. The next day was a short, pleasant climb over Laidley Gap to the camp on Left Hand Branch road. Tomorrow we are off to Mt Silvia, apparently to camp at a vegetable packing shed. Another one for the quirky camps list!