This section had us start by heading into the Kroombit national park which was a rugged, steep climb, made worse by the 50 ml of rain we had the day before tackling the 30 km to the top. It was a long, hard day and we were pretty knackered when we reached camp that afternoon. There were magnificent views from the tops and although tough it was lovely walking/riding through there. Leaving the national park we arrived at camp to find no water, so we put our water tracking skills to the test and managed to find some! Finding a dry camp is definitely a worse feeling than finding camp with no grass! Although we wanted to do a short day the next day, we had to push on through 30km as it was pretty hot and dry through that section. We were all ready for a rest after those tough days!
Marble hole in the national park
Mudboots after the rain!
We were lucky enough to be invited up to camp at Girlie’s quarters, and we spent four lovely days with her and Michelle and Clyde visiting the monto dairy festival, backburning her property and recovering from our last stint on the trail. Her custard, lemon butter and roast goat were to die for…. And yes we were spoilt again with lovely meals while we stayed with them!
While we were at Girlie’s, Mal and Shirley arrived to spend some time with us on the trail and we left Girlie’s fully relaxed with our pack in the motorhome which was a lovely break for the horses. Over the next 2 weeks, mal and Shirley joined us for stints on the trail and drove the motorhome along the trail so we were spoiled for food and had a bed in the horse float they were towing! It was lovely having them with us and we really enjoyed the company and appreciate all their help! Much to Mal’s dismay as he was under the impression that recently retired people get to sleep in, we were up early to beat the heat – he wasn’t enthused about the 430 wake up calls!
The trail itself followed dirt roads and was quite enjoyable riding, with some pretty good campsites along the way. We even got to ride through a 200m rock tunnel with bats and swallows flying around inside – the horses handled it well, even though there was car up their bums the whole way through.
El and Dave were able to come out and visit us around mt Gaeta and it was so good to see them! El came for a ride with us along the trail and I think she might come back and join us for the rest of the trip 😛
Another highlight for us was the opportunity to camp with carol and her boys who are travelling the trail from south to north. We spent hours chatting, comparing notes and swapping advice as she knows a lot about travelling in the cold, and we have dealt with cyclones, heat and humidity! Hopefully we will catch up again at the end when we have both completed the journey.
From mt Perry where we caught up with carol, we headed across to paradise dam then biggenden where we are resting for a couple of days.
We are camped with another trekker, peter and his horse Reggie, who often joins us for dinner! Our horses thought this camp was great once they got the run of the paddock and found their way through to the neighboring golf course…. We didn’t even realise as they were galloping back for feeds when called (which is nice to know that they will still come back!) And it wasn’t until we got a message from the golf course maintenance people that our horses had taken up residency that we knew they were up to mischeif.
We have now walked over 2000km and everytime I look at a map I am suprised at how far we have come and how close we are to halfway!
We are both still enjoying the journey and are learning so much about horse management, packing, water tracking, saddlefits, weightloss, problem solving and gear maintenance just to name a few!
Dave visiting us on trail to talk about the mapping!
Schafers crossing at paradise dam