A bit of a sleep-in this morning. We awoke with the birds, but we didn’t have to get up right away, since breakfast was set for 7:30.
The Lacy home is a wonderful, airy place, so perfectly designed for this climate, with a high, pitched, corrugated iron roof, a wide veranda, and stone walls that do not actually reach the roof, which permits air to circulate. There is a manicured lawn bordered with hibiscus, frangipani, and palm trees. It’s a lovely spot.
We learned at breakfast that where we are staying is the new homestead. The old homestead is, we were told, about 20 kilometers down the track.
Because Peter Lacy is off mustering, we’re not getting a tour of the station, so John is taking us to a swimming hole, to make it up to us. On the “road” again by 8:30. Huge clouds of black cockatoos and smaller flocks of white cockatoos rose into the air around us and swirled about.
We stopped at Barnett River Gorge, another wonderful spot carved out of the red rock, lined with greenery. It is always a strange but delightful thing to come upon these hidden oases in the midst of the hot, dry land, splashes of tropic splendor amid the arid savanna and barren rocks.
We hiked to a lookout and then climbed down to a spot where we had easy access to the water, where we enjoyed a brief, refreshing splash. However, this was just a short stop, since it was in lieu of the tour of the station.
On the road again—and the road was truly awful. Probably not the worst place, but it’s endlessly amazing that any vehicle survives this.
Stopped at the Barnett River Roadhouse, where I was able to get a cold drink and buy a good map of the area. (Cold drinks—generally lemonade or iced coffee—or frozen fruit juice on a stick became minor addictions as the hot weather continued.)
On the road again, and on to Manning River Gorge. We actually didn’t drive to the gorge, but rather headed for a campsite that was within hiking distance of the gorge. Here, we set up camp and had lunch before heading off on a hike. The site was surprisingly lovely, with a serene stream and abundant trees. Several of us had gotten “hooked” on sleeping outside—that is, without even using tents—and we decided we would continue to do so. This made setting up camp much easier, since putting up tents has always been the major endeavor involved in creating camp.