The first trip to Depot Creek for the year, and possibly the last. We got to the turn-off from the Stuart Hwy, aired down in preparation for the rocky track and headed in for the first camp area. There were a couple of spots that still had the remnants of this year's mammoth wet season, but with solid ground underneath these puddles proved to be no problem at all. The one narrow creek crossing we thought might be a test for the camper as it is known to be a sharp descent and equivalent ascent within a few metres proved to be tame, having been naturally filled in with sand.
We got to the turnoff for the first camp and saw a number of jerry cans, a big plastic box and a tent, and thought "uh oh". We got down the track and saw a set up tent but no-one around, and disappointment kicked in, as we thought we were early enough in the day before a weekend to get to the place first. So we made the decision to do the extra hour in to camp #2 along the bumpy and lumpy track. And what did we find there? Another tent, exactly the same as the first. It was 3pm and we hadn't had lunch, so we stopped there, bolted down some food while figuring out what to do.
Rachel had a look in the tent only to find it chocka block full of 7 other tents and other camping gear from one of the local schools. What could be worse than camping with nearly 20 school kids! Being pretty damn miffed by the complete waste of time and potential unnecessary damage to the vehicle which could have been completely avoided if they'd left a note left at the start of the track, we left our own terse little note thanking them for informing us of their intentions.
We decided we'd go back to the first, and better, camp, and if there was anyone there we'd head out and go to Douglas Daly. No one was there, so we decided if anyone did come we'd do the "we were here first" scenario.
The site is a long narrow one running alongside the creek with a bit of a slope heading towards the water's edge, and it took Paul about half an hour to position the camper in the right spot. It was definitely beer o'clock by the time we'd set up, and the temperature was nicely dropping whilst the fire kicked in. We had a leftover beef rending washed down with a half decent chateau de cardboard, infinitely improved by some aeration and the testing out of some new Reidel wine glasses. Nothing like incongruity of having dirty dusty feet and some flash glassware whilst camping!
With bedtime at around 10 we had what seems to be our traditional first night's camping crap night's sleep, but were up and about around 7, ready for coffee, bacon, eggs, baked beans and portobello mushies, before Steve, Lucy and Sophie arrived for coffee # 2.
We then went for a walk downstream and had a little paddle in the rather cool water. The boys loved it and chased after exciting bush smells, most likely wallaby from the evidence.
Back to camp for some lunch of bratwurst hotdogs, a bit of down time, and then some bikes and cheese while cutting up veggies for the stew. This would be the camp oven oven's first proper go at cooking a stew, which was ready at about 7.30. We decided the stew has been the best one yet and figured it's taken a few years of stews to seep into the cast iron to give an added depth of flavour. So much so that we've decided to experiment at home by halving the ingredients and making two stews - one in the camp oven and one in the slow cooker and doing the taste test.
After a better night's sleep, we forced down another big brekkie, had another paddle and started packing up for the trip back home. The benefits of a camper trailer are instantly realised upon arrival at home, with just the fridge to be unpacked and the dirty clothes thrown in the washing machine.
We've cancelled this weekend's trip due to a number of factors - Mt Bundy is off the agenda as the Adelaide River Races is on and it will be a busy weekend there, the workmate of Rachel's has cancelled due to a bad back, and we really still have a lot to sort out for our 6 week trip only a month away. Ah well.