Outing #13 – Day 1

(Friday 31-October-2014)

A new camera: one of the only reasons one would bother shoving through an ocean of tourists to take a photo of these three lumps of rock.

A new camera: one of the only reasons one would bother shoving through an ocean of tourists to take a photo of these three lumps of rock.

The only actual mountain in the Jamison Valley, hence the name: Mount Solitary.

The only actual mountain in the Jamison Valley, hence the name: Mount Solitary.

@10:53am

Last minute rushing to get shit stuffed in the pack and start heading out. Fortunately today, I missed the old Finnish dood so I got out without any lengthy conversations sucking time out of my day. I’ll continue this when I’m at camp.

@7:34pm

Yeah the old guy. Don’t get me wrong I like yakking with him – he’s quite the character – but there’s rarely any option for a short chat, so I usually end-up starting-out later than I’d like talking to him.

At least he’s got something to say though, and juxtaposed against the Indonesian chick – who almost never has anything at all to say about anything at all – and the old guy’s a conversational thrill-ride.

Between you and me, the Indonesian chick is starting to shit me.

Every night when I’m in town, the three of us have dinner together. The old guy and myself dribble-on and talk about anything that seems even mildly interesting, while the Indonesian chick just sits there playing with her fucking phone. She may as well not be at the table at all since she rarely contributes anything whatsoever to any dialog or convo and when I hassle her about ignoring the old dood and me she she does this dumb as shit annoyed expression: like “how dare you interrupt my texting whoever I’m texting”.

Now, I might not be the most immaculately socially gifted dinner-guest; in fact I haven’t say down at a ‘dinner table’ for years until a few weeks ago, but even I consider it rude to sit at a table for an hour and completely ignore the people I’m sitting with. Not only is it rude, it makes her absolutely worthless to any conversation we’re having: Since the old guy and myself are the only two people conversing, this Indonesisn chick might as well take her bucket-sized meal to her room and eat it there – neither of us care if she’s there or not.

Still, every night she waddles up to our table, stuffs her huge serving of food down her throat, then fucks around with her stupid phone paying no attention to the people she’s sitting with, before finally waddling back to her room again.

And it’s not because she’s shy or socially awkward either, no no no. If any random strangers enter the dining room and sit at one of the other tables to eat, she’ll happily stop texting and talk to them. Opportunistically social – the bitch is. Reminds me of my ex actually: she’d just abruptly turn her back on anyone in the room anytime someone new walked in.

Anyway, that’ll do for the bitching for now – reckon I got it out my system. On with the actual hiking-type stuff.

One random day, all these rocks will fall.

One random day, all these rocks will fall.

Federal Pass

Federal Pass

To be honest there’s not really to much to say about “Day 1” of any outing that hasn’t already been said. It’s always similar: wake-up in town,  finish packing and running-through the checklist in my head ’cause it’s too late once I get all the way out here to find-out I left my canister stove in my room at the backpackers, run through checklist in my head – a second and third time, go get the bus, scoff and scowl at all the fatty tourists at Echo Point, leave Echo Point for the Giant Staircase then try and get out here as quickly as possible: so I can dump the pack, make that first coffee since leaving town and – finally – stop walking and sweating buckets.

On the first day of each outing there usually aren’t any animals at all though sometimes the Possum pays a visit on the first night. The animal friends who visit me out here, I hypothesize, just don’t realize I’m back until the second day so whether it’s the Lace Monitor, the Marsupial Mice, the Raven, Currawong or the Brush-tail Possum, day two is when they start dropping-by and there’re no photos or story going on there.

I also find that at the start of each outing, for the first day or two, my head is still predominantly ‘in town’: any recent conversations I’ve had with people, dramas that unfold, even DVDs or shows I may have watched ‘echo’ in my short-term memory for a little while before fading to be over-written by new memories of camping-related daily happenings.

Federal Pass

Federal Pass

@8:56pm

Anyway, the usual walk down here. I stopped half-way down the Giant Staircase to talk to an eighty-year-old man who, well to be honest he certainly did look about eighty, but he’s still walking up and down trails like a champ, which is more than a lot of *fifty* year-olds can even say for themselves.

We talked about photographing the wildlife so I mentioned I’d just got myself a new compact camera with 12x optical zoom, to which he got out his camera: a little Panasonic compact with 12x optical zoom. I got out my Nikon an we both seemed pleased the other had the god sense to buy a camera so similar to our own, before bantering a while longer about Lyrebirds snd snakes and then wished one another a good walk and continued on our own ways.

At the first creek – where I cut through the rainforest to get to the fire trail – I had three campers – two men and a woman – stop for a bit of camping-related conversation. The woman was Asian, and cute, and though it was hard I think I managed to not leer at her to the point were it was noticeable. An Asian chick who looks good, hikes down the mountain on foot, carries her own stuff in her own backpack AND likes camping! Far out that’s the kinda woman I wouldn’t mind having round out here!

Anyway I cracked jokes for her to laugh at – which she did, as I talked about the mountains and water with the two men in the group. Pretty smooth of me, if I do say so myself, to talk primarily to the doods, while keeping the girl laughing: simultaneously. Sneaky of me.

But alas, they were walking up the mountain to town, whilst I was on my way down and eventually we all wished each other a good day and carried on heading in our respective directions. Oh the Asian girl also seemed the most obviously impressed of the three, when I told them I’m heading out here for ten days, that I’ve done this every fortnight for almost six months now and plan to do it for a full year.

Who wouldn’t be impressed, really.

Arriving at camp finally, I was pleasantly surprised to find *no* holes chewed through the tent at all: anywhere. I put it down to the fact that over the eleven days I was here for the last outing, the Rats got lots of the larger animals leftovers – enough to keep them foraging for scraps for the few nights I was up in town.

There *was* however, a layer – covering the entire tent floor – of very fine, silt-like dirt that must’ve blown in with the wind I guess. It took me about an hour – using just the dirty sock I had mind you – too first sweep the bulk of it up, scoop and toss it outside, then wipe the entire floor down with a moistened sock: to wipe-up the finer particles.

The benefit to doing that of course, is well the tent floor needed a good clean anyhow and now it’s cleaner than it’s been for weeks. Not completely silt-free, but a lot better than it was.

@10:01pm

I’ll have myself a smoke I think, maybe make a final coffee for the night too, then post this along with some of the photos I’ve taken today and then start reading some short stories online: A pre-bedtime ritual I haven’t adhered-to for about a week or so.

Tell ya what, even though it’s not quite stinking hot, there’s absolutely no wind – not even a breeze – and so the tent still has its buildup of sticky, humid daytime warmth and it’s not very comfortable. I was expecting – then hoping – for the usual nightly winds and maybe a bit of rain but so far neither has happened.

My face – particularly my nose – and neck are full-on, 10/10-grade sunburnt too which just adds to the perception of heat.

Outing #13 – Day 1
Rate in Guidos

Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

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