Cycle Day 4 - Hayes creek bushcamp to Pine Creek - Far too much luggage - CycleBlaze

April 27, 2024

Cycle Day 4 - Hayes creek bushcamp to Pine Creek

Cycled 57km today and the total journey is 217km so far

Temperature is 33 degrees with last nights low of 19 degrees

Winds today were from the South East again and strong at approx. 20km per hour - so headwinds.

Unpowered camping = $15 at Pussy Cat Flats (old race course/showgrounds about 1km along road to Kakadu.

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What a great bushcamp it was last night - not exactly scenic but certainly functional and to our surprise there was hardly any traffic last night.  We are just that little bit closer to Pine Creek where the nights lows are about 17 degrees but that is not to say the entire night is at 17 degrees.  Generally at dusk it is still 30 degrees and by 9pm it may be 25 degrees and it is usually at 6am it is at 17 degrees momentarily before it starts to climb to the 30's by 10am!

Last night we hatched a plan to get up in the dark at 5am and be on the road as the sun breaks the horizon to get at least 2 hours cycling in before the wind kicks in at around 8am .... well mother nature absolutely hates us as she decides that she too is going to get up early and start blowing at 7am! so we managed to get 30 minutes of wind free cycling!

Neil seems to have recovered from his "woe is me moments" and had no problem today, in fact it was like riding with Lance Armstrong as I struggled to keep up with him!

Neil feeling good today
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Possibly it is a mixture of the heat, not enough sugar and his blood pressure tablets (normally he halves it while we cycle and he usually does this a few weeks in but since he has been very light headed  lately he will halve it from tonight onwards)

So after my somewhat hard day I could feel it in the legs today (nothing like Neil - just they were weary) so I was a little slower on the inclines compared to Neil.  A strong headwind again today but that was expected.  Hayes Creek is in a series of gaps called Butterfly Gap.  So there isn't exactly hills to climb but more inclines (with more inclining than declining) to about Emerald Springs roadhouse (which is closed now as well) so it is ridable even with weary legs.

On our cuppa break way off the side of the road we saw another wide load coming - lucky for them there are quite a few overtaking sections on this leg from Emerald Springs to Pine Creek.  Not sure where this equipment is going.

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I could do with one of these spade buckets in the garden for digging!
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For all the oversized machinery that has passed us over the years I still get a buzz and just have to take a photo of them, a bit like seeing Kangaroos - seeing them still brings a smile to my face even though we have seen gazillions of them!

We don't need any food so we by pass the town of Pine Creek and take the turnoff to Kakadu and head for our campground -found this one on Wikicamps - there are 2 caravan parks in town but us being the cheapies we are decided to come here. It is about 1km up the Kakadu road   and from the road you think OMGosh what the fertiliser are we thinking.  You go pass some ranshackle sheds and stop at the caretakers van and from there you can see where the camping is and I tell you - don't judge a book from the road as it is just fantastic for us.  At the moment there are not alot of tourists around so it probably is just us and we don't need power so we can pitch about anywhere and there is plenty of trees to create space and we find one between 2 trees and we just keep moving around them to remain in shade.  We don't set up tent until alot later until we know for sure the shade is no longer going to swing around but more just lengthen - usually around 6pm we set up!  Another bonus is that it has short green grass at the moment.

We are back to using Neils bob trailer as our table as we decided not to bring the Helinox table!
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following the shade
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The park is surrounded by long tall grass and established termite mounds.  The Caretaker will eventually (when the wind is right hopefully not today) burn off the long grass.  We think this happens alot as in the distance you can see black smoke at times.  When they do burn off it is not the fire or smoke that worries me but the snakes that are flushed out!  We have yet to see a live one (and hope we don't) but plenty of dead squished ones on the road.

Termite mounds can be tall!
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We have just checked and seen that swimming in the lower plunge pool at Edith Falls is closed (camping is open but at $35 for unpowered and having to walk an hour to the upper pool to swim - yeah nah we'll just flag that - it's not like we haven't been there before)

Not sure why it is closed but the website just said seasonal closure and expected opening is April/May.  Katherine Gorge is not open until June 1.  So we are not surprised things are still closed now.

So that means we have 2 shorter days to Katherine and will have to bushcamp somewhere.  According to Wikicamps there is a good one at the turnoff to Edith Falls - up the old Stuart highway again until you come to a river (I think it is the Daly river not sure) but we won't swim in it as there might be crocs so we have decided Neil is the decoy while I quickly scoop up water in my collapsible bucket, once water is collected it is then "each to their own"!

Today's ride: 57 km (35 miles)
Total: 217 km (135 miles)

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