At last! A night without a cricked neck and sore shoulders! The new pillow worked. Soft enough to be comfortable. High enough to have the head level with the body. And with enough give that the head didn't roll off every time I moved. It was heaven!!
Until 3:40AM that was. Because it was at that time that the damned roosters decided to start having a chat with one another. There was one rooster at the top of the village. One at the bottom of the village. And one in the middle of the village. One would crow. Another would answer. The third would respond to the first two. And then they would do it all over again. And again. And again...
I dozed till 4:40, then got up for a wee. What is is with having to do a wee this early in the morning? It is starting to annoy me. Sure, I'm drinking about 3 litres of water plus 1 litre of 1/2 strength Gatorade every day, but I'm sweating most of it out. Dozed again till 5:25, trying not to listen to the roosters, then decided I'd had enough and might as well start packing. Not happy this morning. My gut is really churning. I'm tired. And I have some hot spots on my feet. Not yet blisters, but if I don't do something, they will be soon.
Went through the usual caper of smothering with Canisten Cream. Then got some strapping tape and wrapped it around the bottom of my foot, in order to cover my little toe and the hot spot on it. Did it wrong, and had to start again. Damn I'm cranky this morning!
Late to breakfast, despite my earlier start. I'll have to wake up earlier tomorrow so I don't hold everyone up. Had a small bowl of muesli - but the gut didn't want it. No fruit. No coffee. Others are ready and I'm not. Mixed the Gatorade - I think I'll really need that today. A briefing - looks like an easy day - thank goodness for that.
Then, what a way to start. Downhill for quite some time. Not too steep. Going at a really good pace. The air is cool - we headed off before 7:00AM - and these days of walking are now starting to become second nature. Funny thing I'm noticing in the morning is that my pack seems to be lighter than it is at night. Silly, because in the morning it is 4kg heavier, with full water bottles. I mention this to Alex. He kind of grunts as though I'm a nut case. I probably am. Gut is still churning...
After the great downhill, we arrive at Eora Creek for a very early morning tea. I take off the pack, and it is steaming! I've also got steam pouring off my back. I've started to notice that I am prone to sweating much more than the others. Alex doesn't seem to sweat at all. Peter does a bit - but not much. Paul and Sam - yeah, they sweat, but not as much as me. Catherine? Well, I saw her with a makeup compact this morning, and asked her if she was putting on makeup. She growled at me that of course she wasn't (I later realised it was a bit of pimple cream), so I've steered clear of her so far.
Anyway, a quick morning tea, then we left the packs with the boys, and headed over the creek to have a look at the Japanese defensive positions. It is so steep, and the Japs were so well dug in, there is no way I can imagine the diggers being able to dislodge them from in front. We climbed to the top of their defensive position, to where they had the mountain gun set up. You can still see the track dug out where they wheeled it in and out of the bushes. Looking from there straight across the valley at the Aussie positions, they would have been sitting ducks. Poor buggers.
Back down and across the creek, picked up the pack, and of course, the next section was uphill. A long climb. A really steep climb. We kept on climbing for an hour and a half. With the churning gut, it wasn't much fun. Would have been a lot worse if we had Japs shooting at us though. But the slow pace suited me well - and though it wasn't a struggle, I was still happy to arrive at the top and stop for lunch. Lunch was the usual pasta, spam, cheese and meat (what is that meat? Looks like cat food!), washed down with a cup of tea and a pack of 4 Oreo type biscuits. I had seconds of pasta/meat - but really shouldn't have. Felt a bit crook.
After lunch was an easy walk - a bit flat. A bit up. A bit down. And after only an hour, we arrived at our camp for the night at Templeton's Crossing #2. It's a bit of a misnomer - because there is no crossing here. The campsite is right on the side of the river, but I don't feel like going for a swim / wash.
All the others went down to the river to have a wash / swim. I just feel like being alone for a while. A little crook. Still a little cranky. The others each have someone to talk to. I suppose I'm feeling sorry for myself. Big girls blouse I am. So I write in my diary. Put some dry clothes on. Have a lie down.
Everyone came back from the creek and set themselves up in the drying hut to smoke their clothes. I didn't feel like chatting, so decided to go for a wash. The sun had disappeared, and dark clouds were coming in. Catherine has been saying for the last day or so that she hopes that it will rain, so she can experience the full deal. I kind of know how she feels, but I'd be just as happy to do without it.
The water was FREEZING! I really had trouble putting my head under. I had a quick rinse. Put the dry clothes back on. Peter suggested that it was better to have dry sweaty clothes rather than wet cleaner clothes. It suited me tonight, so I just hung my clothes up to air.
It became pretty cool - I figured that I might need my thermals tonight. I don't know how Alex and Catherine managed to have a full wash with soap and all this afternoon.
And then our first dummy spit of the trip. Hehe. I wondered when it would happen. I bit mean of me to be thinking this way. Especially when it was my fault. Catherine was whinging about being cold. Peter had told her to take a cement pill and harden up. Alex suggested that she should put some socks on. She refused - she might get them dirty for goodness sake! It was too much for me. I pointed out that she should put socks and a beanie on - as they were the two places that would let in the cold/let out the heat the most. She refused. Alex agreed. I pushed some more. Catherine spat the dummy and stormed off. Everyone went quiet. I felt really bad. Catherine came back 5 minutes later with socks and a beanie on. She seemed fine - I don't really believe it. Alex was great with her. Everyone acted as though nothing had happened.
It started raining after dinner. Not too heavy, thank goodness. I suppose we will find out overnight how good the waterproofing is in these new tents. The top seems fine, but I have condensation on my plastic bag every morning where it has been sitting on the floor of the tent. A bit of a worry.
The usual dinner. Everyone is chatty again. I'm not. Gut still churning. Feeling exhausted. In bed by 7:15PM. The sound of the river is really peaceful. I can hear the boys laughing in their hut. People in the drying hut speaking softly. Rain on the tent. I'm cold, so draw the hood of the sleeping bag up, and with my new pillow working wonders, drift off to sleep thinking that my kids at home are not yet in bed...