15-Jul-2001 -- When you set your alarm for 5am on a Sunday morning, you really have to ask yourself the question “why am I getting up this early to take photographs in the middle of nowhere”. I looked at the map again and realised that today’s destinations were great places to go bushwalking to – Confluence or not.
The first Confluence of the day at 150E 34S involved three hours drive from home and some serious bushwalking, then hundreds of km of driving. So we didn’t even arrive near 149E 34S until near sunset.
From a distance it looked better than expected because the Confluence appeared to be near the top of a hill with lightly wooded slopes (Photo 2). As we got closer we began to doubt whether this attempt would be successful. The road which headed towards the Confluence had an unlocked gate across it, but the signs suggested that it was a public road. The next gate was also unlocked, even though the sign on it suggested that it was now private property, but we decided to proceed and ask the owners, if we met them. Nearing the end of the road at the edge of Wyangala Dam we met up with Vicki, one of the local owners who confirmed that we were still on public land.
So Fergus and I headed off up a steep hill as the sun set. (Photo 1) By the time we had reached the top of the hill the sun had set and it was still nearly a kilometre to the Confluence (Photo 3). Some of the local wild life were also wondering who would be crazy enough to go walking here after sunset (Photo 4) Since we were so close and it was level walking from here, we decided to keep walking. As we reached the far side of the ridge we were still 100 metres from Confluence and we would have to go down a slope to get to it. It was a tough decision whether to say “near enough is good enough” but for some reason we decided to go the last 100 metres.
The Confluence was on the side of a grassy slope with an interesting dead tree near it so we decided to leave the Confluence Marker on that tree (Photo 5). In case you were wondering – no, we did NOT bring along the tree we were leaning against earlier that morning at 34S 150E ! (Photo 6) Now we faced the prospect of walking two kilometres in the dark to get back to the car. In my rush to head off before the sun set completely, I had forgotten to put one important item of equipment – a good torch ! Fortunately Fergus and I had some small torches and so we started walking back, aiming to retrace our steps so that we wouldn’t end up walking over a cliff. Being able to follow our track on the GPS certainly made the task of back-tracking easier.
We made it back to the car without any accidents and we decided we had better let Vicki and Chris know that we had returned safely. The warm drinks they offered us, while we explained the Confluence project to them, were certainly welcome and it was great to meet land owners who could actually understand why we wanted to take photographs in the middle of nowhere. Then it was off on a 4 hour drive, getting us home by midnight.