Damn it’s hot!
Now I know it shouldn’t come as a suprise, and I’m sure some of you are saying “Well duh” but knowing it’s going to be hot and living the reality are two very different kettles of fish.
While the weather bureau said the last two days were 38° my phone, under the canopy, was registering 41°. Admittedly the phone didn’t benefit from the delicious wind that follows each truck’s passing and when I sprayed myself and Dex with refreshing water the phone stayed high and dry.
The days are easier to cope with than the hot nights though. Two nights ago I slept in a clearing away from the road but the ground was largely hard packed clay which retained all the day’s heat and very generously returned it to me through the long evening. Since there was water and long grass not too far away I thought it prudent to set up the tent and suffer the loss of breeze. I gave up trying to sleep about 3am when a truck stopped nearby and made lots of noise. I stepped out of the tent into the breeze, made a cup of tea and enjoyed the weird animal and bird sounds I’ve never heard before.
Last night I decided to stay in the “Free Camp” area next to a roadhouse. I had a choice of sleeping in my tent in the long grass (the roadhouse manager apologised for not mowing. “No need” he said. “It’s cyclone season…no one camps here this time of year.” or on the rickety picnic table where the threat was the roof falling on me but less chance of snakes. The table it is.
I enjoyed the open air, the breeze, and the amazing light show put on by the storm passing that I could see through the missing and broken roof beams. That is until every mozzie for 50kms descended. Still not wanting to sleep in the long grass I decided against my tent and instead hung my ‘impregnated’ mozzie net from some splinters of wood above. This is supposed to protect me from such nasties and Dengue Fever, Ross River Fever and maybe even Zika. I’d used it once before and it seemed to work well. Last night however there was a lack of height (something I’m familiar with) so the net hung low, in places on my skin, allowing a few determined mozzies to hold their breath and sting away. Wouldn’t have been a big deal, except that at 3am I woke to an incredible burning sensation on my face and my eyes puffy, red and watering. The net had settled on my face during my restlessness and I am, if not allergic, very sensitive to whatever chemical they use when the impregnate these things.
I spent the next two hours pouring water ($4.00 per litre) on my face and laying wet washers over my eyes. 5am heralded a glorious sunrise, made better when viewed through my squinted streaming eyes!
I spent the next two hours battling with myself over whether the heat could be a justifiable reason to go home for a month or if that was just a convenient excuse. I reminded myself that you just can’t “quit” Mental Illness, you can’t put off depression until the weather gets better, I got dressed, packed and walked off towards Mackay.
The only bad part of today was the stinging sensation on my face and arms when I diligently applied my sunscreen, which were obviously suffering some sort of chemical burn.
I passed a snake about four feet long..my impression was black and yellow but I didn’t get to see him for long. When I became aware of his presence we made eye contact then I bolted, and I think he did the same.
A little later I passed an incredibly inviting looking creek*, weighed up the likelood of a resident crocodile, and continued my long hot walk, contenting myself with a few splashes of expensive water over my head and face from my drink bottle.
Apart from that today was one of my most rewarding days with the interactions with people more refreshing even than the pretty much constant breeze blowing my way.
*Carol, a local, tells me I made the right decision as there is indeed a rather large crocodillian resident!