Saturday, September 26, 2009

Getting over a let-down and going in search of new adventures!

So I arrived at the Painted Desert yesterday, a six month dream come true! Driving through Arkaringa Station and past the homestead was a bit of a buzz, it was the first building I'd seen since setting foot on the Moon Plains that morning. I must admit, as much as it was probably a very ordinary site, it was still pretty impressive. Green grass and lush gardens in the middle of dusty pastures and dry creek beds. I passed a few of their cows on the way in and they looked happy enough, which was a good sign.P1020621

The one thing that let me down though, was the big sign near the homestead that read "No Camping. 15km." ...Crap! I knew you weren't allowed to camp right at the hills that I planned to shoot because they were actually on private property, but 15K's away?! C'mon! I got over that dissapointment pretty quickly when I saw the line of hills appear over a rise in the road, and I thought the grass of the homestead was impressive! WOW! My initial plans were to spend maybe a week out here, up before dawn and back to camp after dark, exploring every hill, coming back to shoot it in the perfect light, I was going to have a blast!

Well... that's what I thought at least!

When I finally found the first place to camp (over 7K's from the nearest hill I wanted to explore!) it was pretty ordinary I have to say. Sure, there was plenty of room (as indicated in my "Camping" book when they mentioned caravan access), but it was in the middle of nowhere, near a dried up creek bed with a few shrivled up shrubs for shade. So really, it was a flat patch of dirt out in the open. Ok, under normal circumstances that probably would have been fine, throw the annex up out the back, get a fire going and enjoy a good meal before an early start... but these weren't normal circumstances... the wind that had been blowing pretty much since I left Melbourne was still at it, even up here. There was no way I'd be getting a fire going out here, much less getting the annex up without it flying halfway home before I pegged it down. I struggled to cook a quick dinner on my gas burner (shielding it from every possible angle, it still went out twice) and just hid inside Red reading until it was bedtime.

In the morning I was up early and heading back to the hills to catch the morning light. ...unfortunately, so was the wind...

After a pretty ordinary sunrise over some (probably, if I hadn't been in such a grumpy mood) pretty impressive land features, I decided to take advantage of the morning chill and walk up into some of the hills.

The terrain certainly was interesting, and I eventually lightened up and started enjoying myself as I strode around these amazingly colourful (that's why it's called the "Painted" desert!) hills with my pack on and all rugged up (yep, it may not look it, but it was freezing out there!).

As much as I did eventually end up enjoying myself, by the time I got down off the hills my mind was definitely made up. 'Yep', I've seen the place, it's impressive, I'll come back another day. Possibly with other people, to make that barren camp site not seem quite so lonely, but definitely when this wind is not here!

Leaving the beautiful scenery behind me (to be honest, I don't know if I even looked in the mirror as I left!) I sped off in a cloud of dust (well, actually, and this is the surprising thing, there is almost NO dust around! The wind has blown it all away! ...G'day Sydney, how you enjoying it? he... he... he...) towards Oodnadatta, the driest town in Australia.

No comments:

Post a Comment