Outing #4: Day 1 – Camping behind a rock!

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This Kathmandu camping stove I ended-up purchasing in Adelaide before leaving would go on to last the entire 16 months without an issue. Matter of fact, it’s still in the tent 2 years later and I’ll guarantee it still works.

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One of the bullants down here. They grow to well over an inch.

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View down into the valley from the top of the Giant Staircase.

The time is now 7:30pm, pitch-black, and I am in the Jamison Valley about twenty-percent of the way down the dirt track that local police tell me is an old, disused fire-trail.

I’ve found a good sized boulder to camp behind, located fifty meters or so from the road and have just spent the last two hours of daylight clearing an area – about the equivalent of a queen-size mattress – of leaves, sticks, and anything else that will either dig-into me if I sit on it, or make a noise when I step on it.

I know in online camping forums and clubs, they like to talk about “leave no trace” camping. I’m not in any such club, and I leave plenty of trace.
Trust me, the importance of clearing the area of ground you will be camping on cannot be emphasized enough.

Not only does it give the insect population a clear message that something big enough to eat them is here now, it also allows you an area – as stated above – of silent movement. Vital for your peace of mind, when you’re camping alone and want to be as undetectable as possible.

I have to say though, that the stink of ants nests I’ve disturbed is pretty strong. As I was clearing I found two oil-drum lids that are pretty old and rusted. Underneath these lids, I found ant nests. Yeah ants stink.

I must say, I like this new camping spot. It’s close to the boulder where I slept on the road last time I was here; last Friday night, in fact, and I actually have a half a mind to do a little renovating because this’s arguably the safest I’ve felt whilst camping under trees.

I’ll take some photos tomorrow, but the pluses or pros going for this site are I’m pretty well protected from branches and trees on two sides here. I feel protected, anyway.

I’ve unrolled my rain shelter right along the large boulder, which is – I guess – the size of a large minibus, but round, and all 180° on that side I’m protected from shit falling on me.

Opposite the boulder, a huge tree – that must’ve fallen years ago, since there are oyster mushrooms growing along it’s sides – almost one meter thick (and that same height from the ground), is big enough and close enough to provide protection from that side.

The ground here is reasonably flat, while most of the surrounding area is a sloping hill and I’m low enough down that hill to be out of sight of anyone passing-by on the trail.

The boulder I’m behind also sits between the Three Sisters and myself, so my head-torch won’t be visible – at night – from anywhere up there.

Man these ants stink though, hope the smell clears or dissipates soon. Every time the wind moves the air in the vicinity the smell of ant – squished ant, actually – gets right in your nose. Ugh.

Anyway, I’ll have a look tomorrow in daylight from up and down the trail, just to see whether any of my stuff is visible from there, though I’m pretty confident nobody can see me here.

My fingers are starting to get a bit cold now. Cold to the point of hurting. It’s a hot pain, ironically.

For dinner tonight I’ve had Mexican Rice, followed by two cups of coffee and some Cheds. I know the food I’ve brought with me this time is much more nutritious but it also weights a lot more, and I hope I have enough for ten nights. I should have enough of everything, though if I guzzle too much coffee in the first few days that could see me run out of my favourite hot beverage before my stay here us over. I kind of wish I’d not left so much food behind though.

I have untoasted muesli for breakfast in a big, snap-lock bag along with sugar and an extra bag of powdered milk that was just stuffed in the pack for convenience, ’cause I didn’t have anywhere else to put it. Just-add-water breakfast, mm.

I was thinking about another coffee, but it’s late in the night and I’m pretty tired – having got out of bed at sunrise, then walked all the way down here, so I think I’ll just have a smoke and get to sleep.

Not only did I walk Dardanelles Pass, Federal Pass and the Giant Staircase with a fully-loaded 48Ltr pack, I did all three without a single rest all the way down.

Outing #4: Day 1 – Camping behind a rock!
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Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

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