I must admit I have enjoyed many great locations at this time of year. I particularly remember Paris and I particularly remember the Lakes District in Cumbria UK. Both beautiful, both wonderfully memorable.
Dave driving the cruiser
However, I do love the stark contrast of the semi-arid regions of Australia. Again, in the pursuit of history we found ourselves back along the Dowling track, and again to visit my cousin "Frosty" on his property called "Boodgherree"( pronounced boo-gerry).
The area is about to be drought declared, and I was curious to see the stark contrast with the past 2 years, and as recently as April 2013. We stayed at the wonderful shearers quarters on Kilcowera and enjoyed the hospitality of the Sherwins. Geoffs property is next door and a "short" 15klm drive door to door.
Sun up and about the ride off to Lake Wyara. ( looong shadows!)
The following day, dave and I got up at first light, and prepared our motorbikes for the 70-80km ride through the properties to Lake Wyara. The contrast against previous seasons was never more apparent.
There were few birds, all water holes had dried up, and starving emus, could only walk a few paces before collapsing from starvation.
The track was dry, dusty and even in the early morning waves of heated air washed over us. It was going to be hot. 47c. The tracks are a mixture of sand, rocky outcrops and creek wash outs. You have to have your wits about you, watching out for kangaroos, emus as well as charging cattle. All can knock you off your bike in an instant. There is just no chance, being over 30km from help, that you could simply walk back with a shrug of your shoulders.
Finding shade where we could to have a drink and a short rest.
Our riding was easy on the bikes, easy on ourselves. There is no room to risk losing a chain, or any breakdown for that matter.
The lake itself was 2 klm further away than it was back in April. I was amazing at just how unforgiving outback Australia is.
We returned via the Murderers Bore and I was quick excited to find some of the landscape that my family had photographed in the 1940s, when this was part of Boorara. I find linking evidence of old photos with today, exciting. "Forensic", history research is what I like. Sadly our pastoral history will be lost.
Arrival at Lake Wyara. Hot dry dusty, and the lakes water on the horizon.
It was several hours before we returned to the shearers quarters., Hot, covered in red dust, and thirsty. In that heat the air acts like a hair drying, and it seems you cannot get as much water in as the air is drying our of you.
A chair set up under the Pepper tree
A rest for 40 winks was in order before a late afternoon of bird watching. The shade of the Pepper tree and the green grass that surrounds the shearers quarters a refreshing contrast to the death of drought.
Here I set up my camera, bird book and binoculars to try and capture photos of the birds coming to drink from a small puddle of water leaking from the tap. When we packed to leave I stumbled on a cap that my old friend, Jim, left here in 2011. I thought that with Christmas being a time to share with friends and remember those gone, I should take his cap with us when we are birding, simply to remember great friendships, which only ever seem to last a short time. I am sure Jim would have got a laugh.
Pt2 Working on Boodgherree. Cleaning water troughs, and checking stock…birds seen..