Thursday, October 10, 2013

World's End. SA.

World's End. How could you not stay at a place with such a fantastic name!?

The last time we were here the unrelenting gale force winds weren't conducive to erecting a tent (one of the few times I've thought a van would be worthwhile). And whilst the winds were marginally less fierce this year, the random squalls of rain weren't welcoming. 

On the plus side, it's free camping! (Apparently there was an honesty box, but it appeared to have gone AWOL when we were there.) And we could have a fire with the wood we'd brought from home!! It would be a rain splattered fire admittedly, but a fire! And it wasn't busy - always a plus! All in all, worth the soggyness and squelch underfoot as we wander around peering upwards to observe overhanging limbs and check the wind direction. Choosing the right spot for one night's camping can be quite an ordeal sometimes ;-)
But what's this? The solid looking picnic table is subsiding into the ground, in a somewhat dangerous way and it's been placed in an interesting location directly under a red river gum. These beautiful large trees are well known for randomly dropping limbs - not the little ones like the limb of an arm, but massive ones that all too frequently make people and vehicles go splat with in a terminal kind of way. 
Oh well, we'll need to put up the tent by the not entirely enticing creek. For a transit spot, World's End is fine, but it's possibly not the ideal spot for a long visit - although some folk did seem to be well set up ... to watch TV in their vans. 

Reminder to self: It takes all types; be tolerant! I just hope they don't have their generators going all night.

Driving in along the Goyder Highway, the mist had been hanging heavy and thick over the distant hills, occasional squalls were lashing the paddocks full of blueish saltbush. Definitely atmospheric, but not what I'd visualised - blue skies with fragrant spring flowers carpeting the side of the road in glorious colour, playful breeze, you know the vision! Idyllic this wasn't.

You may have noticed the blue sky in the photos above. I took those last year. While the wind was ferocious then, the sky was clear and the only danger was leaves, twigs and larger branches being torn from the trees and flung across the paddock. Ah the joys of the great outdoors!

We managed to manhandle the tent into something resembling well erected, dragged out the raincoats and extra tarps and listened to the frogs croaking melodiously in the creek to the backdrop of rumbling thunder and sheet lightning blanketing the sky. The thunder sounded like convoys of road trains rumbling past in quick succession. The slightly wonky, but solid, practical tarps provided shelter from the intermittent, heavy dumps of rain, but we needed extra poles to stop the awning and tarps from caving in under the weight of water. Not the setup to grace the pages of a camping magazine! 

And it was cold. And wet, though I think I mentioned that already. Jeans legs are rolled up to stop wicking - the grass here hasn't been mown for some time, and allows the wind to chill exposed flesh above my woolly socks - but at least they slow down the biting mozzies. Darn, the hem stitching is coming undone and the whole lot is frayed, though I doubt anyone will notice. Or care.   

The quick succession of squalls move on and become less frequent during the night. At one stage, I'd counted 3 storms converging from different directions, but it could have been four. 

An animal scrambles noisily up a nearby red gum, shredding bark and dropping it to the ground - a bit later it scrambles down just as noisily. Some sort of goanna perhaps? Bats chirp in that high pitched way they have. The tent is buffeted noisily by random gales and I lie awake hoping the extra poles hold the tarps and awning up not just from the heavy rain, but from the rising wind. 

Not one of the more restful nights I've had camping. 

South Australia is full of amazing stone houses built when it appeared to be a welcoming fertile land. It isn't. Rainfall is temperamental and unreliable and the early overstocking of fragile lands led to severe problems. 
They also have unfriendly plants - I'm still using pliers to remove steel-like bindis from my thongs (flip flops).
 And yet another abandoned house.
As for the camp fire I'd been looking forward to. Hahahahaha. Everything was way too wet and windy. Maybe next time?



Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. I think that's why I'm not keen on camping when it's wet and soggy - I'd opt for the van with a tent as an alternative!!

Devil thorns - we used to call similar spikes in South Africa - and boy did they impale ..

Lovely to see the area though .. cheers Hilary

Sue Travers said...

Devil thorns. What a perfect name! Gosh they hurt, one went right through the sole of my thong (do you call them flip-flops?) and drew blood from my foot. I should have remembered to wear boots all the time.
ps I don't think you'll enjoy the next post ;-)