Towards the end of a very long and sweaty afternoon, I saw a dingo and a black and white wild dog trotting along the road towards us, came quite close then vanished into the jungle around us. Nugget and Sarah were interested but not worried at all. Then the "short steep climbs" came into context as a massive range loomed ahead of us - the powerlines blazing straight up; thankfully the road twisted its way up a separate route. But it was a killer - the horses, already soaking with sweat, were breathing like steam engines. I stopped them every 100 metres or so to rest, and slowly but surely we plodded up.
Naturally the views from the top were magnificent... I was quite ecstatic, shouting and jumping around. The horses just ignored all this and buried their noses in the grass.
Finally we got down to Osbourne Creek, crossed it to the ruin of an old building and set up camp, just on dark. I was very grateful for the shelter offered by the ruins, as it started to rain - and continued all night. For some reason I didn't sleep well at all - I put the saddle blankets down to pad the floorboards but it was still very uncomfortable - but it probably had more to do with the rain, several mugs of coffee, and the anticipation of arriving in Daintree the next day.
I awoke at dawn - still raining, so I plotted to stay in comfort until it passed - I picked up this
diary to write another entry, worked out the day (Friday), then realised that if Daintree DID have
a post office I'd have to get there today, otherwise wait until Monday to receive my mail! That
would never do!
We were on the trail by about 8 am with about 20 kms to go... the first 10 were difficult but truly spectacular... I was stunned at the majesty of some of the HUGE trees in the rainforest, and just the feeling of it all - so lush, so green, so beautiful. We stopped at a classic rainforest stream for "lunch" - I unsaddled the horses and we went in for a swim - Nugget and Sarah both splashing each other and me wildly with their hooves! It took some time to drip-dry, then on we pressed to the Daintree River valley - a stark contrast to the natural forest - open green fields. The guidebook says to cross the river at Bairds crossing...
"but first check for yourself that no crocodiles are about"!! It's the ones I wouldn't be able to see that I'm worried about!
Anyway we made it alive - just my boots got wet, and I hobbled and unsaddled them to dry out (sweat) and feast on the lush green grass. I was fascinated with an Aboriginal man with a very long spear walking slowly up th river past us hunting for fish (or was it crocs?)
The final run into Daintree was flat, but very boring (I nearly fell asleep in the saddle!) going through cattle stations - the annoying thing keeping me awake was grids - with overgrown, jammed gates - to negotiate every 500 metres - for 10 kms!
It must have been about 3 or 4 pm when we ambled into Daintree - tied up the horses in the park... they didn't seem that keen on walking down the main street - and went to collect my mail. Overjoyed is the only way to describe the feeling of getting care packages (ie chocolate!) and letters from friends/loved ones after being isolated for a little while. I was devouring it all (written and edible) while keeping an eye on the inevitable horde of kids that gravitate towards Nugget and Sarah at every town, when I was offered a place in the backyard of a fancy B & B establishment for the night. Yes! Thank you...
I was about to saddle up the horses for the fourth time today when Nugget realised he was now untied. and thirsty, so promptly took off back for the river - leaving me holding the saddle! Sarah followed of course... I managed to get a lift with a local after a few minutes - they were already a couple of kilometres away - and proved to be a real handful to catch.