Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A Mixed Bag on the Way to the Home Straight

Flat trails, croc crossings and main highways with coalmine traffic has been the happenings for the last week. It's brought me past a small town called Nebo, a dam called Eungella and a mining town called Collinsville, continuing onwards on my journey north.

Long farm tracks that go for literally miles have been the staple diet for the best part of the BNT and in particular in Queensland.

It makes for some interesting running on my part. As much as I love the single tracks of the National Parks, the steep mountain climbs and technical descents in the wilderness, these dirt roads offer me some relief from the demands those things put on my body and mind.

However, when running literally in a straight line for hours at a time and able to see the up-teen kilometres ahead of you the mind starts playing its own games, the sun beats down and there is no shade to offer relief, you soon start to wish you were back in the thick of it, lost in the wilderness somewhere!
Heading towards the highway on a better dirt road.
But, it's yet another example of character building, another chapter in the BNT journey and some more learning about oneself.

Among the vastness of the cattle stations and the dusty ribbon of road that seems to never end, are the creek and river crossings. So dry, that there is no option of filling your pack bladder mid run, which can become a problem if Vickie and the Maui Mothership are not able to access the trail for support.

But the bigger problem is when you're able to get a refill at the full flowing rivers, why, because from here on in, every single river has its fair share of crocodiles.

Its not that I'm unable to fill my bladder; I have to cross these rivers! I just don't want to be waist deep anymore time than needed getting over to the other side.

How do you approach these crossing is something I'm still figuring out. Apart from the obvious which is having a good look and making as much noise as possible, I have been finding big rocks to throw in the river. Thinking that if there is to be a croc there it would soon move when being smashed on the head with a rock.

Then its the mad dash to the other side. If you have ever tried running through water waist deep you would know that its not that easy, and it fact its just as quick to walk, but that's never going to happen! I must find out some more about the croc crossing thing, I don't want to be hopping the last 1000km.
This one I was told was croc infeasted

The trail took me past the Eungella Dam, yes past, which makes a change after tackling the other one with a jetski ride. It was an odd place, both beautiful and Gray and dull at the same time. The network of roads that are around it are for the best part four wheel drive, and the lack of traffic was nice, but meant if anything went wrong then help would be along way away.

These roads in the middle of cattle land, seem to go on for ever, but then today, it came to an end, and I was on the complete opposite, a highway.

It wasn't like the last highway I was on, as that was a tourist road, this was a mine highway, meaning that every type of vehicle that passed was of the over sized variety, 57 metre road trains were the norm even the road signs said so.

If I though i was a speck in the vast wilderness and the almighty mountains, then they had nothing on this. I had to run in the bushes to stay as clear as possible of the road until I came to bridges.

There was no option of taking the bank down to the rivers, they were either to0 deep to cross or full of crocs as mentioned before.

There were three bridges on this 20km section of highway I needed to run, and all three of them had no hard shoulder or place to escape if a truck came or worse, a road train.

It reminded me of the movie Stand By Me, when the kids are on the railway bridge and a train comes. I made it 75 metres across one bridge before I could see a truck coming towards me and another behind, I set a new 25 metre record getting off that bridge and I didn't even touch the ground.

The run ended in a small town called Scottville and that's where I will be starting again from tomorrow. Tonight we will be in the mining town of Collinsville 10mins down the road, where everything is at miners prices!

Tomorrow will also see me drop below the 1000km mark, which means I'm on the home straight.......well in the scheme of things anyway!

This is where I come too and realise that the river Im in could easirly be croc infeasted, could this get any worst?

We all know that if you take you mind of the trail for just one second that you will go A over T! But never would you think that letting your mind wonder for a while for the first time in 4000km you would have the string of events as above, I would have been happyer with a single trip!

I backed right out of that river prepared to tame the bull and handle the snake, looks like they were smarter than me and had stayed well clear of the river, leaving me thinking that this river most certainly had crosc in.

I dropped some big rocks in, in the hope of scaring any off, but really I was just scarering myself.

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