2016 05 26 THURSDAY
There was a light tickle of rain spots on the roof overnight. In the morning the sky to the South West was a dark grey wall of cloud. As we drove East towards Moree, the shadow followed us and the sun lit up the light faded grasses beneath a dark grey sky. We probably stopped five times as Mal jumped out to get a shot as the bank of clouds was pushing forward and masking the sunlight. So we would race on further and gain some more sunlight before the monsterous grey clod would circle around to south to cut us off. By morning tea time we were cornered like a mouse. We had a cuppa at a small roadside stop and the rain hammered on our roof. Having taught us a lesson it skipped further on leaving just a light drizzle to keep us company as we travelled on in it's shadow.
In Moree we had lunch before we made tracks for Warialda. The rain had lifted but still in most directions, except the North the sky was grey and threatening. We came to real hills and somehow the outback was gone and we were back in the rolling hills that hide west of the great divide all the way down the east coast. We refuelled in Warialda and started onto smaller roads as we moved North East towards the Kwiambal National Park. Along this road is a fascinating area of erosion where multi coloured sandstone has been eroded away leaving miniature grand canyons, dry creek valleys and high escarpments. The colours range from almost white to deep purple reds. We dodged the occasional rain drops as we explored a landscape with our helicopter like legs, hovering above secret canyons and then sweeping across sandy plains to high ridges layered with dark maroons and oranges.
We followed the ups and downs and went past old farm houses and as the road turned to gravel the pine trees closed in and the road narrowed. We finally found Lemon Tree Flat camping area - and yes there is a lemon tree still. We found a place down by the river and set up camp. The rain had cleared for the time being.
A thunder storm was sent in to find us and we battened down the hatches and had tea and then went to bed with the rain washing Vicki down. Mal had thoughts of the river rising during the night. Flooded in again maybe.
2016 05 27 FRIDAY
All is calm except for the Chuckleburras calling. The rain has stopped but the sky is still grey and low.
We decide to do the walk to the Junction today just in case tomorrow the rain settles in and we are forced to stay inside. The walk is very pleasant, through the forest of pine and gums with the occasional Flame Tree and of course other trees we know not.
We don't quite make it to the junction, Sue's knees start to give her trouble so we turn back. On the way back the birds which have been at their mid-day siesta, start moving around. Tree creepers, and Oriel and a rose breasted robin to mention a few.
We have a campfire and though the breeze comes up we enjoy the sky which has cleared and the atmosphere in this National Park is a treat.
2016 05 28 SATURDAY
Today is a lay day. We stay in camp. Mal paints and cooks damper for lunch. Sue processes photos, does several bird shooting jaunts and the sun shines and life is good.
The ranger comes, the ranger goes. A calm fox stalks slowly through our camp just after dark, a possum calls loudly from a near by tree and five kookaburras sleep on a brank in a gum tree not far away.
On these perfect days there is no drama to add spice to a story line. On the tranquil days we reflect back on memories of Uncle Bill and our families and we are at peace and ready to come back to the beginning of our trip and face the everyday reality.
2016 05 29 SUNDAY
Mal is up early, before the kookaburras when the sky is light in the East.
We packed up at a leisurely pace and headed off about 11am. Sue saw a pale headed rosella in a tree which confirmed her suspicions based on a couple of fairly marginal shots the day before. We turned North just shy of Ashford and ran up through Bonshaw to Texas across the river.
We had lunch where half of Victoria is parked next to the river.
Then just North, North North - Leyburn and all of a sudden there is Bunnings and we are driving up the hill dirty but happy.
We photograph Vicki and Nosey - end of trip.
A little lady is collecting nuts in our back yard. She spots Puk (Mal) as he walks down the drive. She runs to give him a big hug. He misses her when he is away.