Rainforest Journals: Outing #8 – Day 5

Friday, 29th August 2014

11:56 AM

Good sleep-in, I had today. About 9:30 AM I woke-up and since then I’ve had my morning coffees, recharged my phone and taken the rain-fly off the tent, since it’s reasonably sunny and there’re no downpours forecast.

2:07 PM

Having noodles for lunch today: Deep fried and dried noodles, shallots and garlic. I have dried mushrooms too, but opted to leave them out, since they suck-up way too much moisture and I have to walk to the creek to get water remember. 

Not bad. Not great but not bad. Much better than shitty 2-minute noodles but – conversely – no grand Chinese feast.

3:35 PM

I’m tossing up whether to pack the tent up and take it with my when I go, pack it up and leave it here or just leave it where it stands.
With the fly on, it’ll stay perfectly wind and waterproof but not chew-proof, and certainly not human-proof nor immune to discovery.

On the other hand, packing the thing up just to pitch it again in a couple days time seems like outright stupidity, hmm..

5:12 PM

So it was a pretty slow day today, owing in large part to the fact that – being the first rainless day all week – I finally had the chance to take-down the rain-fly, from the top of the tent.

To put such a momentously exciting moment into context; I bought this tent probably nine months ago, and during that entire time, the only occasion I’ve really had to use it has been the first few weeks at that dreadful Katoomba Falls Caravan Parkhorrible caravan park, seriously.

The entire time I was there, I had to sleep in my tent, but being the beginning of winter the wind and rain pelted-down on the tent on and off for the full two weeks or so I was there. Even had it been sunny the whole time there, being a caravan park I couldn’t have the fly off anyway else I’d have no privacy at all.

The Cockatoo and Currawong are getting ready for sunset. The former are flying overhead as I type – one by one – squawking and yarping as they fly to their evening perches. The latter – the Currawong – simply sit and sing, but they have infinitely more attractive voices than the Cockatoo πŸ™‚

Anyway, the rest of the winter – down here in the rainforest – I’ve been sleeping in an open shelter, because I hadn’t been able to find a practical place to pitch the tent, which requires a decent sized chunk of flat ground.

So because today’s the first chance I’ve had to completely remove the fly, the novelty of being able to see outside has meant I’ve been pretty content being in and around it.

Hell, having had almost no protection from wind and rain all winter now, the tent – even with the rain-fly – is still a novelty in itself.

5:38 PM

The Sun has almost completely set now with only a few pink-coloured clouds in the sky, and all afternoon the same chopper has been passing over. I had a look, and it’s not the police helicopter – unless they have different models, which they may very well have – though it’s a similar light-grey, it lacks the enclosed tail rotor and heavy engine.

The wind is starting to pick-up now, and I may end-up regret leaving the fly off for the night, later. Depends how cold it gets I guess!

I always have my trusty 0Β°C-Rated sleeping-bag; not once has it failed in keeping me warm all winter and there’s been some *pretty cold* nights out here this winter. $80 from Katmandu: who would’ve thought the McDonalds of camping stores could create products that work so well!

Come darkness, come Yowie! ..I really gotta stop reading all this shit online about mythical creatures – especially at night when I’m out here, alone in the middle of a forest.

I know they’re not real, but by the same token could you even imagine it: You’re out in the mountains, camping completely alone so far out that nobody’s coming to help if something happens. It’s night-time, you’re laying inside your sleeping-bag, and suddenly you hear something large come crashing through the bush toward you.

Who wouldn’t shit themselves, right?

Anyway, out of all this reading-up on creepy shit I did manage to find a curious article about Bunyips that not only sheds light on what they are, but gives credibility to their existence – or at least the potential for them to exist. God, listen to me yapping-on like a crazy man about creatures nobody but lunatics actually believe in.

But seriously, the two so-called “forms” of Bunyip – according to the bulk of peoples “sightings” over the years, are the “dog-faced” variety, and “long-necked” types. They’re supposedly creatures that live in and around rivers, lakes, and billabongs as well as other bodies of water and guard-slash-eat anyone or thing that approaches. Bear with me here πŸ™‚

I then read an article that reported cattle being taken, or half-eaten and left on a property near Taree, NSW, some fifty-odd years ago, and within that piece was the statement of an old Aboriginal man who recounted his knowledge of the creature.

Apparently, Bunyips aren’t traditionally known as any kind of supernatural, mythical creature but a giant monitor lizard – a remnant of the Jurassic era that until historically recently, still got about the place.

It has a name too, ..I’ll google it now.. Mega-something.. Megalania. Here’s the link to the Wikipedia entry about it: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalania
..and with that, I hereby declare the mystery of the Bunyip, solved.

You’ll note, too, that according to the wiki entry not only were these things big enough to make human-beings a mere snack, but Aboriginal people would’ve encountered them at some point: wherefore the mystery of the creature in question – the “Bunyip” – began.

Anyway, that’s quite enough about extinct relics of whenever – it’s boring me now.

7:47 PM

So it’s almost eight on a Friday night, pitch-black, and a little cold with the fly off because the wind is rolling over in waves. It actually sounds like waves too, when it’s off in the distance.
It *starts-out* sounding like waves on a beach a distance away; just a white-noise, off in the distance.

Then, as it gradually approaches you hear it change into the sound of wind as it buffets the trees further down the valley.

Finally – once it’s close enough – you hear all the trees in your area whooshing in a huge line at the same time you feel the whole area you’re in get blown around; all the trees above and around you rolling their branches like hula dancers, leaves rustling together all around you.

And then your area quiets-down and the wind keeps going the direction it was heading, becoming more muted as it moves along the mountain away from you, gradually reducing back to the white-noise of waves on a beach, just in time for the next wall-of-wind to approach.

This “wall” of wind repeats in a cycle every few minutes spanning the valley.

It’s quite impressive to hear, then feel, though it always makes me seriously consider the chances one of the branches or trees above me might break, fall on me, and pop my head like a grape.

8:32 PM

I’ll make another hot drink – warm milk this time, or warm milk-powder and water – then get ready for bed. The week’s already almost over, which sucks, and I’m giving serious consideration too switching back to 10-day outings: 10-days feral, 4-days cleaning-up & restocking in town.

9:43 PM

A special mention for the new Antechinus lady, for being brave enough to allow me to snap a photo of her on only the second night.

She’s a bit different to the furry friends I had visiting my previous camp, in that she’s much more vocal: making her “mip-mip-mip” noises almost constantly both as she makes her approach around the tent, and while eating. She even vocalized while standing still, as I took her photo. She liked the dried noodles better than pasta or weetbix 😊

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