|Drysdale River National Park
The day before we went on this trip, we got a little bit of food poisoning. We got it on friday and started noticing it on saturday morning. We went for a walk to Mirima National Park, very small and just outside the town we were staying (10 minutes walk). On the walking trail in the park we had to climb this little hill of maybe 15 metres. We were both panting heavily by the time we got to the top so we were joking that if we couldn't do this we would be in a lot of trouble in the next four weeks. We went back to town, had a bit to eat even though we didn't feel too well en went back to the hostel. We got quite sick during the afternoon with lots of hurried visits to the toilet :-(
This was quite bad news since we were supposed to go on our 4-week bushwalk the next day! Early in the
evening we went to the pre-trip meeting (still quite sick) and told our guide what had happened and asked him if he could make the first day an easy one so we could recover. He said there were plenty of good campsites so we would just see how far we could get.
That night Oskar got a little better, but for me it only got worse. At 3 o'clock in the morning, 3 hours before we going to be picked up for our flight I had to throw up with lots of cramps, so my stomach had finally decided to clean things up.
We got picked up at about 6 (I felt a lot better but very weak, the little bit of food I had eaten on saturday had come back out) and we drove to the airport. After a flight of a little over an hour we landed at Kalumburu Aboriginal Community and were driven in two 4x4 vehicles to the edge of Drysdale River National Park. We told our guide once more that we were quite weak and wanted to camp as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the campsite he had in mind was still 10Km away and we stared walking. Even though the terrain was quite easy I was too weak to walk very far with my heavy back pack. The guide set his normal pace (maximum) and I couldn't even walk for an hour at a time. I had to call for a short break several times and asked more than once if we simply couldn't camp as soon as possible but he kept saying that the other campsite was better. After about 5Km I had to stop once more and as we were talking I got stomach cramps and simply turned around and puked over the rocks. We decided to make camp immediately and turned to the river and setup camp less than half an hour later. I simply laid down in the shade and rested while the others went fishing or exploring. In the evening I felt a lot better and was able to eat. The next morning I still wasn't 100% well but I could keep up with the others and I restocked my energy-reserves over the next few days. Phew!
We were quite anxious if we could make it to the Helicopter drop point in time. It was quite far and the terrain could very well be quite rough. So we decided to go south as fast as possible and left the beautiful Drysdale river a little earlier than originally planned and headed for the Carson river. We expected it to be a tough day as we had to carry all the water for the rest of the day (no water between the Drysdale and Carson) across a very rough plateau and then drop of a very steep, 150m high, escarpment. We left at about 6 at first light and at first it was quite tough but later on the terrain was as bad as the map had let us to believe and a recent bush fire had saved us from the tough shrubs. So we could descend the escarpment late in the morning and got to the carson early in the afternoon. The Carson escarpment was very beautiful to look at but that was the only attraction to the Carson. Since the closing of the Carson River Station all the cattle had multiplied and roamed freely so there were many flies (at bad moments you would be covered by more than 100) and lots of cow-poo. The campsites weren't very good (more cow-poo) and there were small freshwater crocodiles in the water holes. So we kept going south rather fast (but it still took us 4 days) until we got to a little rougher country that the cows didn't like. The last two days were very good, nice water holes with crocs and turtles and birds and lots of other wildlife. Now we crossed to the Morgan Falls (we (the group for the first two weeks of the trip) were only supposed to go there for the helicopter but we decided to check it out a day early). It was well worth it.
After the two weeks the helicopter came in with fresh food, new people (three of us stayed, four flew out, and five new people) and a new guide. That wanted to see Morgan Falls as well so we had another day :-) With this group we had again two weeks to get back to the starting point but by a different route. Although it was quite nice it was a little bit 'more of the same' for the three who had done the first part as well. We wanted to get back to Kalumburu a day earlier that the original schedule so we could visit Truscott Air base, an old WW2 air base that was simply abandoned after the war because it was too expensive to ship everything back to 'civilisation'. We asked the guide (who had a satellite phone) to inquire about the possibilities to go there and how much it would cost. If we knew that, we could put our proposal to go back a day early to the group and decide what we were going to Unfortunately we couldn't get hold of the guy who would take us there, and so we got the incorrect information that they only went to Truscott on sundays and that it would cost A$900 for a boatload. Since we didn't have a sunday at Kalumburu that was out of the question.
When we did get back to Kalumburu we did get to talk to the guy and he told us he would take us any time we wanted (if we would tell him a few days in advance so he could plan it) and it would cost A$170 per person. That would have made everything very possible so we were quite annoyed.
Back on the drysdale: