Monday, March 08, 2004

Miralga Creek

After coming back from Marble Bar on Friday, I spent a quiet week end, doing a little bit of this and that around the camp and the mill, just taking it pretty steady in fact. Maybe around two o clock I decided to go and have a closer look at Panorama Station rubbish dump, or more correctly the old scrap heap there, the weather looked pretty good, sky was clear, just a few wispy clouds around although there were a few darker and heavier clouds way up on the horizon, it looked alright for a bit of an explore. I headed out towards Panorama, it is only a few kilometres, maybe 15 all up, and I took a slow steady drive towards it, I had got there, with no problems, was just getting out of the cruiser and a cloud came over the hills behind the station and it started spitting with rain, being a cautious person, I decided I would head back to the camp to be on the safe side. It was a good decision because as I drove the rain got heavier and heavier, the track was running with water as I drove my way down the access road away from the station. As I came to the main track it was like coming through a curtain, all of a sudden I was back in sunlight, I carried on back to the camp and settled down with a cuppa and started to do a bit of writing, I must have been writing for maybe an hour when I heard the rain on the roof, and then it came down pretty hard for maybe fifteen minutes, and then just stopped. I went over and checked the rain gauge and there had been six mls in the little downpour.
Later that evening I was sitting watching television and there was an almighty boom, sounded as though a railway train had just fallen out of the sky just behind me, it was the mother of a storm that had crept out of the hills quietly and just decided to breakout right above me, after jumping almost out of my skin, I went outside and enjoyed the spectacle of a tropical storm, lightning was streaking all over the sky and seemed to be coming from everywhere all at once. I have always loved watching storms, but was right in the middle of this one, but under shelter, so watched it for a while until the rain started coming in vertically at me, when I retired back to watch the television, It rained for maybe three hours, sometimes pretty heavy and at other times just a light shower, it had almost stopped when I went to my room for a sleep. I woke on Monday morning and it was a beautiful clear day, I walked over and checked the rainfall and was surprised that there was 126 mils there, I made myself a coffee to get the heart started, and sat down to drink it and rang Sharon at Bamboo, for my morning report that all is well. Sharon had a plan, the plan was that she would leave Bamboo about five on Tuesday morning, and would bring with her the guy who would look after the camp while I was away on R & R, I would meet her at where my track meets the highway and I would then bring the bloke back here while she carried on to Hedland to pick somebody off the plane, the rest of the day would be spent with me showing my relief what was what and where everything was kept so that he would keep the camp going while I was away, then on Wednesday he would run me up to the Hedland airport by eight o clock, I would fly off to Perth and he would stand vigil at the camp for a week and then pick me up the following Wednesday when I would take him back to Bamboo.

This was the plan, but like so many plans of mice and men, something was sure to go wrong. About an hour later, Sharon rang again, she had just had a phone call from a truck driver, he was at the Coongan river with a road train and three tanker trailers full of fuel, and the Coongan was running a metre and a half deep, now that is around five foot in the old money, and there was no way he would get across this day, about the same time a fax came through telling us both that the Marble Bar Hedland road was closed, now the chances were that our earlier plan would be scuppered. I told her not to worry about me, I could do another week standing on my head, I had food and tobacco so was OK. I decided that it would be a good idea to check my track out, just in case the Coongan dropped during the day, I set off down the track and everything was pretty good, there were a few places where the water had come across the road and a few places where small streams were still running across, but nothing serious through the hills. Once on the plain everything seemed alright, so I carried on, when I came to the little creek near the windmill and stock yards it was running, very shallow and rocky, about three foot wide, but no problem to run through, just a couple of kilometres down from this is Miralga creek, and I approached this with a certain caution, as if anything will stop me it will be this one, I pulled up as the road dips to cross the creek, and before me was a stretch of water about fifty metres across and running very fast, I wasn’t going anywhere shortly, and nobody was coming to relieve me, well not up that road anyway. I drove back to the camp, rang the missus and told her I would not be home on Wednesday, she took it in her stride, she knows what the bush rivers can be like, but young Ted was heartbroken, he wants to see his Grandad.

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