2016-10-05 -18 146
In a mangrove forest near Ingham, inaccessible due to fiery red bullants.
Continuing on my cycle tour down the east coast of Australia (Darwin to Melbourne is the programme), I checked this hash after waking up in my tent at a waterhole near Cardwell.
I was keen for a success, because a couple of days previously I'd hit a dead end at the boundary of thick rainforest and accessible farmland and gave up. I later found out I was in the wrong day, so it was lucky I never attempted a bush-bash to the hash. Sadly, it wouldn't be.
This time I knew it was the right day at least. And, at least from the map, it looked extremely accessible - right next to a road, only six kilometres off my route.
Within a couple of hours I'd reached the lookout, from whence I could see the hash below, nicely backgrounded by Hinchinbrook Island. I plotted my attack.
Very annoyingly, the neat road on Google Maps taking from this lookout pretty much directly to the hash did not exist. At all. I spent an hour fossicking through dense rainforest and around the roadway's bridges and overpasses to find it. Did not exist.
But I had a backup, a road on the other side of the lookout's hill. I took this, went over the pass, and travelled along the Queensland Rail service track towards the hash. At 370m to go I realised that this part of the hash road also did not exist. At all.
No choice but to clamber through the bush - something to which I've become quite accustomed. I left the bike at the tracks and went in.
At 300m to go the dry bush turned to muddy mangroves. They were thick and all tangled together. I nearly turned around then, but at the last minute decided to make a try anyway.
After another 30m or so, getting my brand new, white cycling shoes completely muddy and clawing my way through impenetrable roots and branches, I suddenly felt my whole body burn with an acute, yet extensive, sharp pain. I was covered in big, red bullants. Some were biting me so hard they were bent over in exertion. The thin skin of my neck was particularly vulnerable.
I dropped my camelback and camera and writhed around trying to slough the bullants off with my hands. There were hundreds of the fuckers. They kept climbing up my legs and arms to my sensitive parts. I practically ran out of the mangroves and rolled around on the grass next to the railway to get them off. They were pernicious, and I'd be picking off stragglers for hours.
Gathering my things I decided that was enough. The ants had held me back. The hash was a failure.
I rode back along the tracks to continue my tour.
| Felix Dance earned the "Mother Nature's Bitch" Consolation Prize