2015-02-14 -13 130
An epic virgin hash in Litchfield National Park.
- Felix Dance
I got a call from my friend Alex, recently moved to Darwin from remote outpost Gove, seeing what I was up to today. Well, funny he should ask, as there was an awesome geohash out at Litchfield we could possibly car/ride/walk to. So, an hour of recombinatory and counter-compatible plans thrust hither and thither later and we were on the road.
We drove at break-neck speed towards the Stuart Highway turnoff to Batchelor and parked at a bogan-filled waterhole. Mounting our depacked bikes we sped off, through Batchelor where supplies and water were replenished, through Litchfield Nat Park to the closest road approach. Secreting our bikes and taking not enough water we proceeded on foot.
The hash was about 4.5 kms across the boggy and undulating terrain of the top end. There was much vegetative matter and an absurd quantity of biting and stinging insects but crocs weren't a drama as we weren't passing any croc-navigable bodies of water.
Chatting merrily away while navigating on my phone GPS, "Only 17 seconds of arc west to go! Now 16 seconds to go!", Alex suddenly went unusually quiet. Seconds (of arc) prior to reaching the geohash he'd become dehydrated. So I quickly and efficiently prioritised my actions accordingly: first, get Alex to geoshash and take photos. Second, sort out Alex.
After wobbling around a bit to get the right readings, we were there. Now, to Alex. He needed water but we'd foolishly almost run out. So, we socialised what we had and got to the nearest water hole which we saw on the way over which was full of muddy, algaeish, drinkable water. After bootstrapping an amount Alex could consume without throwing up he was soon back to normal.
As the sun set, and we still had several kms to go before getting to our bikes, the rumbling storm stopped passing us and headed straight for us in the form of a terrific gust front. The world went wild with waving ferns and falling branches. Boom! Lighting - we trudged on trepiditiously.
Soon our jungly surroundings were in turmolt. It went dark and the rain hit. I navigated with my phone through a snap-lock bag. At last, our bikes, just where the GPS said they were. The 30km ride to Batchelor seemed unrelenting as we slowly ran out of energy. The sky fractured and split releasing megawatts of light over our surrounds, throwing unexpected colour from the landscape around us.
Last drinks at the Batchelor Tavern. It was a very sweet-tasting VB. But soon we were back on our bikes to reach the car 7kms away. After a quick meal at home I got to bed at 1am. Best Valentine's Day ever.
We rode 76kms, walked 9kms and reached the hash at 5:35pm.
Here is the route of our trip.