Monday, 9 April 2012

Day 16………………….White Out!
The campsite was a busy one in Swifts Creek, with the last of the people from the Easter Holidays. We had the double Sandy as neighbours. Sandy and Sandy like everybody we seem to bump in to on this adventure were supportive and wanting to donate to the cause. We cannot do receipts on the fly in these remote parts, so they kindly paid for our powered site for the night, which gave us the ability to watch a movie, yep, that’s right we are roughing the BNT. In fact it was a welcome change and much needed break, as much as I love the bush, it’s been my only site for hours a day for the last two plus weeks!
We drove down to Bindi Station for the start of my days running, we called the owners on the way down as we heard they don’t like surprise visits, and as I was going to be running for the day through their 50,000 hectares and didn’t want to get blasted off the foothills by a farmers shotgun!
In fact it was quit the opposite when we arrived at the station gate and the owner Penny and her son Nick, couldn’t have been more welcoming helping me figure out the best option to get out as the original route was grown over. They even had a log book for BNT travellers in their shearer’s quarters; yes the place is that big.
It was a windy and confusion start to the day as I climbed the vast mountainside that shadowed the Bindi property. I felt like a speckle in this vast landscape as I followed some of the goat tracks up to the top. There was no track as such to follow, so I relied on my Garmin to do the navigating for me, but this meant I had to deal with barbwire and electric fences and sometimes a combination of both!
Following the valley along the river I met with the beautiful native red deer, that were busy grazing to notice me, but when they did they made an almighty roar like a lion, but unlike lions they disappear in to the land with a light footed dance.
As normal there were the climbs, those climbs that have you bent over with your nose scrapping the dirt. As I made the top the darkness of the clouds came over and the weather went from sunshine to snow in seconds. Not a good position to be in when you don’t have the gear for it and I was only halfway to the finishing point.
The steep decent was great to quickly cover some distance, but the footings were becoming more difficult as the snow was settling, and the breeze made my body cold from the wet clothes. This would be a great time for gloves and a beanie, but foolishly, I was running with too much confidence these days and not taking all the safety requires that you must do in these parts, should have known better. What a nasty reminder!
The snow fall within one hour, clearly not t-shirt and shorts weather
The trail became flat and I only had 10km to cover before getting to the finishing point ,hopefully Vickie and the protection of the Maui Mother Ship. I was a little nervous, as I was getting colder and if I had any more steep climbs to do I could still be out here for some time.
I reached the cross roads where I would only have to run the last 6km to the finishing point. Hands tucked into my windcheater and chin tucked into the top, I ran at a race pace to cover as much of the distance as I could, and then through the snow blizzard I see lights and a vehicle heading towards me. I didn’t care who it was I was going to make sure they could see me and I was getting in, I was so cold that I feared for the worst and getting dry and warm was a priority.
It was Vickie! I was rescued and just in time. I left 6km of trail to run, but that 6km could have taken me to hospital. Just goes to show, even though I have now run 520km through the mountains over the past two plus weeks, this doesn’t make me the master of the mountain and safety has to be first and foremost every single time, regardless of the extra weight in my pack!

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