Cycle day 5 - Pine Creek to Edith River bushcamp - Far too much luggage - CycleBlaze

April 28, 2024

Cycle day 5 - Pine Creek to Edith River bushcamp

Cycled 51km today and 268km so far on this trip

 Temperature here at turnoff to Edith Falls is about 34 degrees (a noice 31 degrees in the shade) with the usual south easterly blowing at around 15-22km per hour.

 Bush camping – not far from Edith Falls turnoff but on the west side of the Stuart highway or if you are going south wards on the right side of the highway (so we had to cross it from our side).  Basically you connect with the old Stuart Highway until you come to the river and then you can go no further even though there is a bridge but just before it the road is basically undrivable but we could get across on the bikes but on that side of the river there are not many choices for bushcamping.  In saying that – we did find it difficult to find a camp spot that suited us as we needed lots of shade.  But check later on in the  post to see where we chose!

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So I mentioned at the end of my last post that they may do a little back burning of the long grass.  We didn't think they were going to do it but they were just waiting for the wind to die down a bit (it tends to die down from 4pm onwards).  They came over to warn us and we said ok as it is still a south easterly and we are down wind of where they were going to burn and there was no forecast of the wind switching around to a northerly to cause any problems.  So we turned our chairs around to watch the spectacle. 

Now the 2 guys set with the task to do this back burning aren't exactly the type of fire people you see turn up when your house is on fire or the type that you see on the News putting out the bush fires or any major fire that makes the News.  So it was interesting to watch.  Not that I doubted their capability ... it is just a niggling thought at the back of my mind that I had a 5% doubt that something might happen that shouldn't happen when you back burn.  Alas I am typing this the next day so obviously my 5% doubt was unfounded!

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Getting to Pine Creek early yesterday was great (well worth getting up in the dark and setting out in first light) we managed to get a load of washing washed and dried.  Normally we would wait for Katherine to do our laundry and just do small lots of hand washing up to then but because we are sweating profusely especially at night I woke in the morning and there was this awful fetid stale sweat smell coming from our sheets that line the thermarests – so clearly 5 nights is just too long not to wash the sheets!

Other than that chore it was an afternoon of complete bludging! 

Close to tea time the birds start coming around the tent looking for bugs in grass and this couple were just 2 colourful (well the male was) not to photograph.

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We decided we would get up early again for today and set the alarm for 5am and with a cooler night forecasted we were expecting a good nights sleep and possibly the use of our sleeping bags.  We started out with just one as I said we can share one as the night forecast of 17 degrees would just require a little draping the sleeping bag over the body ... I woke in the morning to find Neil in his own sleeping bag ... apparently I don't like to share!

 So up and away by 6.30am this morning and since it is earlier than the previous day we put the dynamo hub front and rear lights on.  Hardly anybody on the road at that time of the morning and it was pleasant riding and fortunately for us mother nature took pity on us and slept in and didn't start blowing until well after 8am so we got at least 1 hour and 45 minutes of wind free cycling.

The road isn't us undulating or inclining as it was yesterday and what inclines there were were ok to ride.  I did come across this sign and it always brings a wry smile to my face ...

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I always think they have a long driveway and the bottom one has a real long way to the letter box!

 So riding along we come down to a bridge that crosses the Ferguson river and there was a nice photo opportunity of the railway line that runs with the highway at the moment – it is a shame the Ghan was passing by at the same moment.

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However while we were looking at the river something caught our eye – can you spot it?

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Here is a close up

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To us that looks suspiciously like crocodile tracks in the shallow sandy waters!  Lucky we are up high on the bridge.  We couldn't see any think on the banks and it may well be just fresh water crocodile tracks but in our minds we are calling them salt water crocodile tracks as the belly indentation looks large and wide!

 The air is certainly drier since Hayes creek or since coming through Butterfly Gap so we are not sweating as much but it is still hot in the sun, but lovely in the shade.  Even the Flora has changed and we are see alot more of these types of trees with a lovely copper brown colour trunk – they stand out compared to the standard dark grey brown trunk of most trees.

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Just before our turnoff we come across a truck stop with a small tank and we go over to check if it contains water – alas it was empty.

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Hopefully the ones at the rest areas when we turn west wards are not empty as well.  Last time we were cycling in the Northern Territory south of Katherine/Alice Springs the tanks were regularly filled up by a truck that would stop at each rest area that had these big green concrete tanks.  Fingers crossed they still provide this service.

 We get to our bush camp site very early today (around 11am) and we are only 42km from Katherine.  When we get here there are a few locals looking at the river and some even swimming in it!  I think this is the Daly river (I don' and this river continues east wards up to Edith Falls.  It is a lovely spot to camp but not many places that provide lots of shade and it would be difficult to caravaners as the tracks are rough, rocking and sandy in places.  We have to push the bikes through as our wheels are just too thin

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As soon as I saw this site I knew this was “the” spot – our only trepidation was that it was so close to the river and being naive and typically having a touristy fear that a salty was going to come up the embankment and get us.  But the thought of this site being flattish and in shade for the entire day won us in the end.

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Sitting there while eating lunch we spotted a long tree branch that had fallen near by so in our Bear Grylls (spelling?) mode we grabbed it and laid it close to the water edge as a crocodile barrier so if any salty was to leap up onto the embankment it would also have to climb over the branch so this would give us time to run!  Yeah it is not really Bear Grylls like is it?  More like Russel Coight!!!

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So with our false sense of security we totter off back up to the bridge area which is the best place to swim or dip ya feet in as it has rocky out crops in the water and the water is flowing very fast and not an ideal spot for a salty to attach ... Neil is “water test monitor”!

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 It was lovely and warm to sit in.  Although the water was so swift that you really had to hang on to something otherwise you would be swept away.  Just below from what Neil is sitting on was the perfect spot to have the water flow around you.  Neil kept looking behind him to see if anything was coming down from up stream meanwhile I kept an eye on the front to see if anything was coming up from down stream.  Probably nothing to worry about but to say it was relaxing sitting in that water is bit of an overstatement as it was down right like sitting on needles because you had this fear at the back of your mind!  Although it was good to get the road grime and sweat of you.

We come back to our site and find a local from Katherine is fishing near us.  First he catches a little fish called Lard then puts that on another line to catch Barramundi.  He also had cornbeef to catch turtle.  Needless to say we may have bought him bad luck as between him and his 3 sons they caught nothing and moved on to find another fishing spot.

 Sitting here in the shade just doing nothing but watching the endless supply of insects flying by, birds gliding through hunting, the little fish swimming by and just watching nature in general (by now our fear that a salty was going to pop up and get us was passed thanks to the local fisherman from Katherine who set us at ease that there are more likely only fresh water crocs in this river!) and even watching the water flow by just passes the time away and it is better than TV.  We were even greeted with an bird of prey that perched for quite a while on the opposite bank and gave me some great photo opportunities

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Karen PoretGuess this is his (her) “good side” to photograph..:)
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1 month ago
Janet O'BrienTo Karen PoretThey are fabulous to watch flying around!
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1 month ago
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 During the wet season there must be an awful amount of water rushing through here as the trees next to us have branches  stuck in them – Neil is there for reference as to how high the branches are up the tree to show where the water rose to.

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It is now 4.15pm and the wind is easing and the site is almost all in shade and we can set the tent up and then proceed to have dinner.

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Today's ride: 51 km (32 miles)
Total: 268 km (166 miles)

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