Simpson Desert - Hay River 2009

Day 8 - Lake Caroline - Batton Hill


We left camp and followed a very tight and windy creek bed heading North toward Batton Hill.   The whole way we followed either dingo or camel tracks along the track - they looked very fresh in the sand.   Morning tea was on the side of the track where we could see such tracks - but no dingos or camels in sight!

Helen was driving this section as Ian was trying to get an email out over HF - apparently he'd never been carsick before, but today this was about to change - and change in a big way!

There were a couple of forks in the road - Ivan was leading and took the right track which kept us up to the right of the river bed on the high ground - Steve, Mathew and Ian followed.   Tim, Cam and Gerry tried the left option and ended up in the Hay River creek bed - quite wide, very smooth - and very enticing!!   Listening to the boys on the radio, we decided that they were having far too much fun without us and quickly looked for a spot where we could drive down the river bank and into the bed itself.   After airing down for the sand, and regrouping in the creekbed, we had a bit of fun with Cam showing us how circlework is apparently done (it's been that long I'd forgotten ;-)   Matthew was driving the 100 series and caught on pretty quickly, and Hayden made sure he wasn't forgotten in Darren's Patrol.  

Mathew's gearbox appeared to be overheating, so they aired down some more, but the problem didn't go away - so we all exited the river bed and had lunch while we aired up.   It was a lovely lunch in the shade of the river gums.

The track improved dramatically after lunch and we made some great time, arriving into camp mid afternoon.   Ian went straight to bed, while the rest of us got showers happening, washing clothes and other housekeeping tasks in slow time.   We met Michael who was to be our host for the visit - apparently Lindsay Bookie would be dropping in tomorrow.   Before long there was a run for the camp buildings where Michael was going to show us how to 'prepare a kangaroo'(note, video not for squeamish).   We were impressed at how deft he was with a knife, and then with an axe.   Short work was made of the kangaroo which had only been cooked in the ground for an hour.   We all tasted the kangaroo and were amazed at how different to that 'gamey' taste that you get in city restaurants - this wasn't gamey at all and was so very similar to lamb that some were hard pressed to tell the difference.

We headed back to camp - those who hadn't had showers went and finished those, while the rest cooked up dinner - most of us using the camp kitchen at Batton Hill which we found to be very versatile.   After a few drinks, Mathew and Brett were describing  'their' kind of music, and we learnt that it was very different - and - that there was a different dance to each of them.   Darren's car was right there, so up came the music, and the demo dance (see photo below!) - Unfortunately, Ian (still asleep) was woken up by his son's shenanigans and we figured that the roar that came from the tent wasn't from a runaway lion!   At a few decibels less, we had a few more drinks before wandering off to bed - looking forward to our bush tucker tour the next day.

Evidence of abandoned oil wells in many places

Stopped for morning tea - we had been following fresh dingo and camel tracks all day

Tim tries out the Hay River but needs to air down first

Di and a very interesting tree!

Ivan, Darren and Cam down to play as well

Tim sets the pace

Cam right behind him

Fresh tracks - human and animal

Hayden giving it some

Cam's Suzuki a great little machine for playing on the sand - Matthew follows closely behind

Cam gives it some pedal

Matt does the same

Hayden, not to be outdone ;-)

The colors out here are amazing

The Tropic of Capricorn - Hay River style

Darren rolling into camp

Zac and Nic get some ball time

Cam flew the flag the whole way

Meet Michael, our host at Batton Hill

He had been delivered a freshly killed kangaroo - they cook them in the ground for only an hour and then carve them up for food

With a sharp knife and skillful hands

or with an axe - Michael showed his skills

Short work of the roo

Everyone lined up to try some - very much like lamb - definitely not like that big gamey taste that they sell in the city restaurants

One of Michael's helpers brings out a family pet

Blaire and Nic get friendly with the Joey

Dinner time - what a great setup at Batton Hill

Campfire time - the young'uns telling stories

Brett showing the dance to his style of music

Ivan, Di and Lea