Up at 530 as they wanted to clear camp early. We had a long day ahead of us and they didn’t want to be marching in the heat of the afternoon. Quick breakfast and away at 7:20 AM heading due north. Scenery much the same as the other days. At 1050 crossed the Edith River at a shallow bar and sat on a rock ledge under a beautiful big shady tree. I had no aches or pains and had been walking steadily but slowly all morning. Feeling pretty good. I’m always at the back now. Kelvin up the front. He is a very strong walker. Sometimes Barry or Robbie drop back and keep me company which is good but I’m also happy to just walk along my own. I’m still averaging about 3 km an hour. At 11.15 headed out again and 15 minutes later reached a mellow spot called Channels Waterhole. Not much shade but a nice rock ledge next to the water.
Some of them had a swim but I decided I’d just take it easy and sit for a while. We watched tadpoles skimming along the shallow waters at the edge of the waterhole and hoped they weren’t Cane Toads. There hasn’t been any sighting of cane toads since the first night which is welcome.
At 1245 we set off into the heat of the afternoon, but by 1400 had reached our destination for the evening which was Sandy camp. This was yet another amazing waterhole but this time it actually had a sandy beach. I’ve never seen anything like the waterhole’s along the Jatbula track. The campsite I chose, under a canopy of Pandanus palms was sandy and so comfortable as to be almost unbelievable. I doubt if I have had a more comfortable campsite in the Australian outback. Second round of the Jatbula Cup swimming trophy went well. Two laps of the waterhole and I just edged out Barry . I think the freshwater must be troubling him because he would normally slaughter me. Again controversy over the handicaps.The day was only marred by the fact that the guides announced that we would be having dahl for dinner. I haven’t had dahl since 1977 in India and Nepal where I was forced to eat it every day. It was really crook then and it was really crook now and I let everybody know that toast is far superior. Not many agreed.There are quite a few health food aficionados on this trip. Amanda is a vegetarian.
I was pretty tired after a long day’s march but my leg stood up to it very well. Dave the Wizard’s Magic Tape is hanging in there but there’s not much left. Nevermind, I’m not going to have trouble with my left foot now that the long day is behind us. It’s only 15 km tomorrow and we will be finished.We have now done 46.6 km in four days. I hope Andrew Harper, my colleague, from the Tanami trip never finds out that it took me four days to walk 47 km. He’ll say that he always knew I was a big sook. Maybe he’s right. Most of the food is gone so we don’t have to carry food bags tomorrow. They were heavy to start with but have got progressively lighter each day. That probably explains why the walking has been so easy. I’m so happy to be here. I feel at peace here.