Knowing the area well, I had headed for the natural caves that stood empty beyond the trees. They provide shelter to the elements, and are cool in summer. It also meant that I needn’t carry as much in my pack, and could forgo the tent in favour of the cave.
However, lighting a fire inside the cave seemed a bad idea – the smoke would have gathered in the formations above, and it would have been slightly disastrous with no ventilation. With that in mind, I decided that a tarp overhanging the cave’s entrance would provide escape for the fire’s smoke, and further shade and shelter.
I used four poles (two large, two smaller) that deconstructed for convenience. Forcing them deep into the hard-packed dirt before the cave, I made sure they fit to the size of the tarp, and secured them to the tarp with twine, before they went into the earth. 2.
After assembling the tinder, I’d place two pieces of fuel wood parallel on either side of the tinder. Using a match, I’d light the tinder and feed it kindling until the fire had built up a little. Then I’d add alternating perpendicular layers of fuelwood on top of the two pieces already established.
Using this cross-fire method of building a campfire, I could cook using the coals. Wrapping food in aluminum foil, the food would be placed under the hot coals of the fire and left to cook for as long as necessary.
Foods I would cook using this method would include potatoes, bread, and seafood to name a few.3.
(I’m Australian so I’m writing this by my seasons – February is Summer, here.)February 2007 - Day One
It’s the first day of my expedition and I’m quite excited to get underway. At the moment I’m waiting for the truck to come which will drive me as close to the track I plan to traverse as possible. My bag is packed, my canteen is full to the brim, and I’ve done all I can to prepare – I’m pumped!
I don’t know what I’m more excited about – the chance of seeing the Australian outback firsthand or the freedom this trip is giving me!
Oh, here comes the truck! February 2007 – Day Two
I’m writing this from ‘Base’ as I’ve come to call it in the last few hours. I made it okay to my site yesterday, the natural caves that have formed beside the river. I’m stoked, absolutely stoked. It was easy going to stow my things in the cave and set up the tarp and fire outside. The whole time I kept thinking about the wonderful time I’d had of walking the track.
The gum trees, the jacarandas, the underbrush filled with little critters – mice and echidnas, I even saw a wombat! And then last night, I sat by the campfire and watched as a possum gradually came closer and closer to me, smelling the food I had cooked, but wary of humans. Eventually he came quite close and deftly picked the bread I held from my fingers and scampered off. Little tyke!February 2007 – Day Three
I left Base to venture into the wilderness today. It was lovely, I took so many pictures! It was terribly hot, however. I expected the heat, but it’s always worse when you’re experiencing it, not anticipating it. I found that I had to fan myself with my hat as I walked – and now I have terrible sunburn! I’ve promised myself more sunscreen from now on.February 2007 – Day Four
I’d found a natural still pool on my wanderings the day before, and decided to go for a swim today. Of course, I wondered about parasites and the like – but I’d searched for information about them before I left (pedantic and anal-retentive as I am) and thought there was nothing to worry about.
I needn’t worry about peeping toms, as I was in the middle of Aussie bushland and no one was around but the crickets, so I stripped naked and had myself a refreshing swim. It felt like nothing else after two hot, scorching days walking through the sun.February 2007 – Day Five
I didn’t feel like doing much today, so mostly I just hung around Base and read one of the two novels I had brought with me.
But just before the sun began to set, I headed out to search for some of the berries and herbs I knew grew around the area, and ended up at the precipice of a small cliff and saw that the sun was setting. It was beautiful, and I stood there and watched the whole thing. I didn’t even regret that I forgot my camera. The sight was enough for me.