Those words can mean so much – a harbinger of doom or exciting times. Rarely something in between, and never boring.
“There’s a track I want to explore” he said.
Given that Doc’s been coming to this farm for around 12 years and has done a lot of exploring on both the bike and the Hilux, an unexplored track can only mean one thing. It’s difficult – and definitely an adventure.
So of course I agreed
I packed an esky with lunch and wine for me (I’d probably need it), got my camera gear together, made sure we had plenty of water and warm clothes in case something went wrong and we were out all night, and off we went.
We headed over towards the big cave. A fabulous spot, but one we’d been to before. It was only when we arrived that I looked up. “Are we going up there?” I asked, tentatively but sure of the answer.
“Up there” was a track up the hillside. At an angle of about 60 degrees, and covered in gravel. The bits of it that were a visible track that is. The rest was overgrown. . Believe me, from the bottom 60 degrees looks almost vertical. “Yup” said Doc, and that was that. Up we went
Well, up we started to go before the car started to slip back down hill. The car is a hilux so that’s saying something. But being a Hilux it then gripped again and moved us slowly upwards. Two metres forward, one back. If you’ve ever seen the Top Gear episode with the Hilux, I can tell you it’s all true. Nothing stops them!
Once at the top the track kept going .. and going … and going to places I didn’t even know were part of the farm. Through and around gum trees, over rock shelves, sideways (or so it felt) along hillsides. Big mobs of kangaroos scattered as the 2 tonne diesel engine went past. We were so far into the farm that I’m sure those roos had never seen people before. And still we kept going.
“Where’s the track gone?”
“That could be it. Let’s try over there.”
Doc’s pretty good at picking a track out of nothing, so of course he found it again and we kept going.
Suddenly the dam appeared on our right. Then on our left as well. We’d gone way past the big cave, past the ridge over the small cave, and were heading out along the peninsula to a point usually only accessible by boat. Only to find that somebody had accessed it by boat and there was a family camping there. So much for getting right away!
But we had no choice. Unless the car turned into a hovercraft we had to stop, so we pulled up as far away from them as we could (about 15 metres), and got out of the car. Only to find that Doc had stopped right on top of a blackberry bush. He might be good with tracks, but stopping appropriately needs some practice.
But it was a lovely spot so we set up our picnic lunch, had a swim in the dam, and looked at the farm and the dam from an angle we don’t usually see it. And I took some photos and tried out the 10-20mm lens a friend lent me.
Then we had to go back again.
But first we had to turn the car around.
And, of course, nothing’s ever simple with Doc. Going back the way we came would have been too easy. And we wouldn’t have got that “I’m the king of the castle” moment at the top of the tallest hill around. Nor would we have had those moments when I had to close my eyes as we did a bit of rock climbing at a 40 degree angle sideways – my side! But, hey, the view was worth it, wasn’t it?
Right up until Doc tried to reassure me by telling me that being at an angle is ok, it’s when your back wheel goes over a rock and gives the car that extra tilt that you’re gone – just as the back wheel went over a rock while we were at an angle.
At one stage we were looking out through Doc’s window on an eagles nest in the top of a gum tree!
But we made it back, and the adventure was just as it always is. Exciting, with new experiences thrown in. And always worthwhile.