Roger went off-roading and I went on a nature trail. Actually, we both went fencing but it consisted of the other 2 whilst putting into practice what we had learnt the previous day from Frankie when we started checking the fences of Rock Hole paddock, a mere 137square kilometres of country. We enjoyed doing something so constructive, untangling barbed wire, realigning posts/pickets, tying back on where they had come adrift and reconnecting broken wire. The pickets are 4 foot long solid steel, 3 pronged posts which have to hammered well into the ground to secure them. They are extremely uncomfortable when one ill-advisedly sits on the top!! Frankie showed Roger how to use the tensioner, with which Jake had been so adept when we’d ‘helped’ repair the fence over the creek previously. Which is what they are using in this picture illustrating the remoteness and sparse beauty of the country. It is quite amazing how familiar we have become with this landscape which just appeared to be a vast expanse of orange with occasional shrubs when we first arrived but now we can see the contours, hidden creeks, variety of strata and significant changes in terrain as we travel from one section to another.
At the end of our first day of fence training we discovered that nothing was out the freezer for the evening meal. Jacket potatoes in the hot coals accompanied by salad and beans and spaghetti cooked in the embers went on the menu as we were taken to one of Frankie and Jake’s special spots for another super camp-fire. This is by a lovely creek but there was no swimming at this time as it was dry but in summer is beautifully refreshing. The dogs had a marvellous time chasing all the scents. Cowgirl was not going to be left out although most of the undergrowth was taller than her! After the sun had set there was a beautiful glow reflected off the gum trees and the white birds (not sure what) perched along the length of the top branches. It was yet another stunning evening. This place is in close competition with Saskatchewan which claims to be the land of living skies. What we have noticed here is that the stars are out, right down to the ground. I know that sounds strange but you don’t often see stars at head height.
The following day we were sent off on our own (with a tucker bag) to check and mend the fences of Deep Creek paddock, only 82 square km this time. We were told to just do what we could and come back before dark but were quite proud to have completed the whole circuit before then. The terrain was very variable, some was fairly flat and easy driving, some was flat but soft and sinky! some was rocky and bumpy, not doing the suspension any good and others were quite a challenge to Roger’s off-roading skills which have increase massively in a short space of time. There is an off-road track here which people can pay to use (when it is dry) but we were off the off-road track, at times not able to see the faint traces of where the track was so just stayed close to the fence, or as close as practical. On these occasions I jumped out to follow the fence line whilst Roger crossed further along. If he hadn’t materialised by the time I’d walked the distance I would need to track back and find him somewhere reasonably accessible to cross. The extra low gear ratio was used on several occasions coming up out of creeks on steep, rocky and loose surfaced climbs but only once did I think we were really stuck (Roger, rightly, hadn’t shared my concern) and that was when both sets of wheels got stuck in the soft banks on either side of a small creek. It doesn’t pay to have rear and front tyres sinking at the same time!