Sunday, 15 July 2012

Day 111.....................Mixture of All Sorts!

Rain, Cranky Old Wemen, Mandarin Oranges, No Markers, Spanish lessons, Unpassable Rivers, English House sitters and Prawns???

That’s what the BNT dished out today, what a bizarre mixture of things to have on a trail run. As a trail runner, I have seen my fair share of oddities along the trails of Australia, but it’s not until running on Australia’s National Trail that I have come across all things odd, and people tend to be heading it.

Rain; something not so different, living in Melbourne and originally coming from the UK, I have had my fair share of rainy days both on and off the trails. The difference now is that I have ran 3000km across this great country with three rain days before hitting Queensland, where at this time of year it shouldn’t be raining at all. Here’s me thinking I’m leaving the worst of it behind me and heading into the sun, and Queensland decides to do what it normally doesn’t and piss it down!

Cranky Old Wemen; I have come across plenty of these in my time and not all of them old. But, today’s came in the form of a Grey Nomad. In fact it was Vickie that got hit up first over something as simple as laundry. Old people annoy me, well not generally, but when retired, touring the country with plenty of time to do the things you like, you would think that they would be happy. Not the case when you use a washing machine that they always use on a Saturday at 8am, you really don’t want to upset their schedule, because they don’t have all day to do things like that, yes, I am being sarcastic.

Mandarins; I’m not talking about the people, but the massive supply of oranges that we have on board the Maui Mothership as present. I’m sure the fuel consumption will go up. The first load came this morning from a lovely older lady at the campsite we stayed at last night, clearly the opposite of the above. A carry bag full of juicy ones that they had been given from some guys that worked on an orchid near where they stayed the night before, it funny how people like to feed you up, they send you on your way with all manner of foods, lucky for me this time it was a healthier option. Then tonight we met the owner of an Orchard and yes, just one that so happened to grow mandarins! Looks like I should be right with my vitamin C for a while!

No Markers; Nothing new here either, but today I learnt that the station I have been through has been taking them down straight after the coordinator had put them up. Obviously this makes life difficult, even when using a GPS it’s nice to see a marker now and again so you know you’re defiantly heading in the right direction. Some of these stations are massive, it’s not unusual to be running through what can be thousands of acres without any type of road or trail to follow. Some of these station owners don’t like people coming through their land for one reason or another, hiding something no doubt. But, by taking down the marker, they have travellers all over their land looking for a way out, rather than just following the markers. Simple!

Spanish Lessons; Its funny, I had this idea of learning Spanish while running the trail. The idea was that I would carry an iPodCDs buy a farmer called Rod and his wife who’s property we parked out the front of last night. We only when in to ask if it was OK to be camping on the trail that passed straight passed their place. Next thing we know, we are having cups of tea in front of the fire, I had a great hot shower and we got some local knowledge. Just as well we did get the inside scoop as to what was going on locally, as I found out the bridge was washed out that I would be supposedly crossing in the morning.

Unpassable River; Unpassable due to the bridge being washed out many years ago. Rod explained that normally you could make your way across easily, but with the nonstop rain that we have been getting the last week, things were a little different down there. It had become raging rapids due to the over spill of the Dam 5km up river. I tested the waters while Rod was there, but I only made in two meters from the banks I was waist deep and had no footings. Rod said we would sort it out in the morning with me kayaking over and him pulling it back when I was over.

English House Sitters; he front of the farm looked a little like a campsite with our Mothership parked up next to another caravan. We later found out that the English couple in it were going to be house sitting the farm while the owners when away, looks like we were lucky meeting them when we did!

Prawns; 3000km hit! What an achievement getting ever so close now to the finish in Cooktown. Vickie surprised me with a seafood delight, a large plate with beautiful fresh prawns and all the trimmings that go with it, how does she do it, and why am I so lucky? It’s always a surprise when I hit the 1000’s mark and I still have another couple of them to go, what will she come up with next?

3000km is a long way through the great divide. I didn’t really know how far I’d come until looking on the map. I find it hard to believe I have come that far on foot, especially with the terrain, weather and wildlife I have had to contend with. In some ways it feels like Australia isn’t as big as I first thought if you can travel such a long way in a relativity short amount of time, and it’s not like the trail heads straight north, it’s pretty indirect at times. Looks like all these 40, 50 and 75km days soon start to add up, when you running them daily.

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