Husband was excited to tell me he was taking me on another holiday, as we finally gathered up the cattle to send on their own holiday Yaraka way. I did consider taking the kids with us as well, but saw reason when I considered 1. six hour drive 2. the swag and bag packing 3. the food quantities that would be needed and 4. the six hour drive. The kids, in their part, were pleased to instead spread themselves out having sleepovers at Grannies and Granmas for the duration.
Trucks were loaded in an orchestrated movement, two decks being collected from one place, before the remaining eight were loaded at the prickle farm. A very dusty endeavour, the back yards being quite powdered up from the bovine traffic, I am told I was quite a sight by the time we finished. My job was to keep feeding (and counting) the right amount of cattle towards the loading ramp. 17 to a pen or 34 to the full deck with the ramp (the top layer, the cattle are split up once the ramp on which they are standing is winched up)
We had smoko with the truckies, I showered off several layers of dust and made myself respectable and around midday we headed off behind the trucks. Didn’t take long for us to catch up to them, and then we drove and drove and drove (via Aramac this time) and drove some more. Seemed to take MUCH longer to get to Yaraka this trip, am sure they shifted it further away.
Our hosts had thankfully teed up the local watering hole that we would be there for dinner, although that must have confused them as Trevor had to take his away, they had forgotten his order. At around 11pm the trucks arrived at the loading ramp, and ever so neatly they all stepped off the truck. Afterwards the truckies had to talk and talk and talk and talk, I was so tired I went and napped in the ute for this blokefest of tale retelling to be over. Rolled out our swags in the shearing quarters and asleep FINALLY around 1am. My swag was on a shearers stretcher, one that was quite defined in its shape and I woke in the morning wedged into the same position that I’d gone to sleep in!)
Daylight seemed to arrive far too soon, and having forgotten to pack the kettle for the gas stove, our breakfast was alfresco and coffee less then into the yards.
The country and the feed was beautiful. The steers and heifers did not take much controlling, I had to drive them along the laneway so we would get to their paddock at least sometime before dark!
I had time to study the rock formations in the area.
Finally, after around 6km of walking and eating….
and a small moment of adventure crossing some small steep creek channels, which one had to ride carefully through lest one disappeared into a small deep hole hidden in the long grass (I actually dismounted at one point and let husband get my bike across, beyond my skills or desires to try such feats. Our host, mounted on two wheeled bike, looked on cheerfully with interest, having crossed without incident, only to get himself in a tangled heap just metres away afterwards when he hit a big tussock of grass that lept out in front of him).
Thirsty kiddies were pleased to see the dam, and check out their new digs. Remember TeaLeaf and Mabel the poddies? they are somewhere in this mob.
We settled them in at the dam, many quite happy to sit and camp after their trip of the day before, and big walk that morning. I almost felt a bit sad riding away from them…
Especially as they all stood on the bank (forlornly in my mind) and watched us ride away. Somewhat like leaving kids at boarding school, someone said!
And as we drove homewards that afternoon, somewhat weary and deciding five minutes after we’d left that staying in a motel in Longreach that night sounded AWESOME, I finally got to have a closer look at the post office in Illfracombe. On closer inspection it is indeed built on the same specs as our house but with slightly different building techniques being employed.
And I tell you, that motel in Longreach was indeed comfortable. As was the delicious meal that was delivered to our room (clothing fit for restaurant consumption not packed). Husband said, see I told you we were going on a little holiday…..
I hope the next “holiday” is a little more relaxing?!