Friday 1St July
Ouch! I've done something to my right thumb so this is a very agonising task - I hope it's not
Well, we blitzed the trail from Mossman to here - covering two days' ride in one (taking a small short cut). I packed as much of the fruit the Charlie and the girls had given me as I could, but still had to leave a large bag of it behind. I actually amazed myself at our efficient departure -especially considering I went to the pub with the girls last night and probably had a few too many.
It was still dark as we rode out of town - only the milko and a few street cleaners saw me off. It was a very pleasant ride until we had to join the highway to climb the Rex range - not much of a verge, and those big cane trucks steaming past... but the horses were both remarkably calm, and very tired when we finally made it to the van park/servo at the top where I stopped to make some more phone calls. We continued on - it got quite hot out on the dusty roads.... quite a change of scene for us, wide open and very dry - the "droughtmaster" brahmans watching us with stupid expressions as we slowly walked past. I spent most of the time out of the saddle, not so much to give Nugget a break, but to exercise my stiff legs and ease the jolting of my back.
At around Midday I led them down to a muddy puddle for a much needed drink, and silly Sarah got herself jammed between two trees - and tried to force herself out. I just heard this almighty ripping sound, then a "splash!" - I turned around to see gear everywhere - including in the water. I felt so frustrated - what a nightmare... We still had a long way to go before good water and we were all very tired and cranky - and now this! Cursing to myself, I unsaddled what was left, and hobbled them both to have a graze out of my way, as I picked everything up and started mending - literally sewing the two halves back together. Oh yes, Nugget stepped on my hat too! But it was good for all of us to take an hour or two off.
Mending the packs
It seemed like an eternity before we finally passed historic Weatherby station - then, just on dark, we came out onto the main road about one and a half kilometres out of Mt Molloy. There was a clearing with about twenty caravanners, toilets, water etc, so I decided to stay there -putting the horses on the other side of the busy road before joining a particularly rowdy bunch for a cup of tea. Before I knew it, I was in the pub with Ken, the headmaster of the primary school in Trebonne (just south of Abergowrie) and a girl from Surrey busy cycling her way around the world.
Back at the park I met all of Ken's ocker mates from Innot Hot Springs - they were all getting stuck into Bundy - I tried to put a dent in their supplies of beer (they were just returning from the Cape, and had several cartons left over....) I was exhausted, and went to bed at about 1 am this morning - they partied on very loudly, much to the distress of all the other campers in very close proximity!
Now I find myself in another park - centre of town - basically waiting till the farrier comes out tomorrow. And I'm going to see if he can bring out some tools for me too. The funny thing is, he had been out to Weatherby station yesterday, and drove past me on his way home to Kuranda! Oh well, it's a pleasant enough stop, and a good chance for the horses to fully recover before the hellish next leg... I'm quite worried about the lack of water here, and it's going to be worse until I'm south of Hot Springs. I'm sure we'll survive though ... incidentally, we covered about 40 - 50 kms yesterday.