I spotted Jack at a set of traffic lights, we rolled down our windows to talk. "Fishing Thursday night?" Thats how blokes do organising well. No iPhone calendar invites, no emails, just a few seconds to organise a trip at a chance encounter at a set of traffic lights (Traffic lights....yes we have them in the country too). As Jack drove off and we went our separate ways, I couldn't help but get excited to be back on the river. The chance to catch some eel again had plenty of appeal. This time Jack brought one of his dogs, the older one stayed at home, he's getting a bit deaf and with the noise from the river it's a bit of a battle to communicate. Tori, Jacks other dog, sat in the back of the car most of the time, happy to observe our activities. I often wonder if Jack had an ex he named the dog after, I've never been brave enough to ask. Best to let sleeping dogs lie.
The afternoon was warm, and I cracked open a beer, sat in the passenger seat with my feet up and my window down.
As we pulled in to the track, we spotted a young Echidna, feeding on the numerous bull ant mounds. It's amazing that at this spot on the river we've encounter both the only egg laying mammals in existence. The Echidna and the Platypus belong to the family Monotremata. Yes I'm a biology nerd, so sue me.
In fact one of the things Jack and I both enjoy is the flora and fauna here. Actually that's how we meet years ago, both studying in a Natural Resource Management course. This trip, for example, off the top of my head, we saw Bronze Wing Pigeon, Superb Fairy Wren, Native Water Rat, Wolf Spider, Skink Lizard, Echidna, Platypus, Magpie, Teal, Frog, Mastiff Bats, Trout, Rabbit, Eel, Wattle Bird and Finches. Amazing!
We set a few lines to sit over night, set up camp then headed up the hill for a spot of rabbit shooting. A few bunnies were spotted, but no clear shots. It didn't bother us much we had a nice dinner sorted as Jack had brought some marinated venison that he'd shot some time back.
Jack found this glass jar, somebody's survival it. Contents? Toilet roll, matches and a tin of Sardines.
The venison cooked very nicely on the hot griddle pan.
We woke up at first light, the cool blue light was beautiful. It's something most people don't get to wake up to, but it's worth the early start. Before a coffee, I went for a hunt, Jack went for a swim and we both returned to camp for a few strong black coffees. Not much luck on the eel front, although I had one caught on a line but snagged on a log. Jack jumped in the water but the eel had broke off the hook. Better luck next time.
What I learnt from this trip is not to teach Jack how to use my cameras. He took a gazzillion shots, most of them with my ugly mug in them. And when I look at these pic's I can't help but think (as many people will no doubt do likewise) that we look rather 'Brokeback'. As amazing as that movie was a love story, it ruined the connotations of two mates going camping. Suffice to say I sleep on the ground in my swag and Jack and Tori slept in the station wagon.
Back on the road home, we agreed to sneak in one last night on the river before the really hot weather sets in and we can't have a camp fire. Camping just isn't camping without being able to cook on flame and coal. Sure you can cook on a butane burner, but it just lacks the proper camp vibe.