One of the many resident Crocodiles that make our river home.
A few short weeks after falling in love with the camp Lachlan and I where heading out there together with our first clients. To say I was excited would have been an understatement, I could have peed myself if it weren’t for the fact I was in my very attractive bosses car, I am a firm believer that one should not pee in attractive bosses car on your first day on the job.
So there we were driving the bush beaten track that leads to camp and Lachlan behind the wheel and the conversation is flowing easily, very very easily. By the time we are almost at camp we have delved into each others life story, Im finding myself accidentally telling him really personal things, things that I would think twice about sharing with my best friends, yet with him its as normal as talking about the weather. I will admit I was developing a little bit of a school yard crush.
I was mid-sentence when we drove into camp, not only did it take my breath away, but also my words (and thats a big deal, because I very rarely loose words!). It was still deserted, bare, barren, rough and unforgiving but over the past few weeks Lachlan has made a few upgrades and it looked a lot different.
There was no longer just four posts, instead there was what we have affectionately come to call the “shack”, simply four sturdy steel posts with an iron sheeted roof. There were several camp tables set out, one off to the side to create a kitchen bench with the gas cooker set up next to it and a bucket for a sink. A rock fire place with a plate on top and a fire pit dug out next to it had been built 3 metres to the left. Two tin sheds had been built a good 100 metres out to the right, one of them was the long drop toilet and the other would be the solar heated shower, for now it served no purpose other than adding structure to an otherwise vacant landscape and it was the landscape that had stolen my breath and words.
The river sparkled brilliantly in the afternoon sun, the breeze blew softly rustling the dry leaves, carrying a soft scent of tea tree mixed with dirt up the ridge and cooling the sweat on our brow. Kangaroos drank tentatively at the waters edge and a big old salty sunned himself on the opposite bank fat from his years of being the king of the river. It was mesmerising.
“Beautiful spot, isn’t,” Lachlan said and when I looked at him I could see it, the same love, the same awe and the same respect. He knows this land, it’s in his blood. He has been hunting in the Australian bush for his whole life and I couldn’t help but feel a pang of admiration. The old world knowledge he knows just doesn’t exist any more. Yet here he was completely in his element, completely at home and I wanted so much to learn everything he knows and here was my chance.
I was going to be working and living in one of the true frontiers on earth, with no running water,no electricity and living in tents. It was the lack of convenience and comforts that appealed to me so much. How many of us truly know and understand the true value of water. We turn on the tap and out it comes, hot, cold or whatever temperature we please. That convenience doesn’t exist out there, you have to work hard to draw water and carry it to camp and if you want it hot you need to heat it. You start to respect the land and the gifts we so readily reap from her when you have to shed some sweat to earn it. You want to eat you have to go find the fire wood, light the fire and let it burn to produce the coals to heat your pot. A lot of you will read this and think that you prefer your way of life with your convenience and comfort, and your not alone, there is a reason convenience and comfort won out. Sometimes I wish I could flick a switch and have light or just turn on a tap. The Australian bush is a hard place, it requires respect and you have to earn your way in it or risk loosing your place at the top of the food chain… for me thats part of its beauty.
Having an afternoon fish a long our river.