Had to roll into sleeping sheet during night as it cooled down and I climbed into sleeping bag about 4am. Moon waning but still very bright and woke me up. Up at 5.30am Tuesday and packed in dark before heading for breakfast at 6am. Barry went in for another dip. He’s keen. Good brekkie. Choice of porridge or muesli. Underway at 7.55am on a cool, bright morning.
Stopped for morning tea at 9.10am at an interesting rock art site on the side of the track. Only red ochre outlines left. Must be very old. Having trouble getting my new water bladder to work and could not drink during the morning hike. Spent time fiddling with it and realised I put the hoses on back to front. New gear. Never bring it on a walk. Worked fine thereafter. Got going at 10.05am and at 11.25am stopped for lunch. They are not pushing us all that hard which is fine with me. Easy morning. The Jatbula Track is very flat, if a bit rough and stony in places. Pandanus palm and spear grass and broken, sandstone ridges. Boulders rolled onto track. Cool SW breeze again and walking under a lot of rock overhangs made it very cool. I was in the middle of the bunch. Didn’t try to stay up front. Saw lots of termite mounds and stopped to explain to guides and group how they work. Began walking again at 12.25 almost due north al day, right on the edge of the escarpment. Sweeping views to the left over 17 Mile Valley and rough stony ridges to the right. Reached Crystal Falls at 13.30. Camped on southern bank. Another short day. Everything fine except my back is aching.
Set up camp and then washed my clothes again. No need to bring spares. Wash them each afternoon and put them straight back on again. Dry in ten minutes. Challenged Barry to a race in the billabong above the falls and while I was walking down the bank slipped and my left foot landed on a tree root which drove into my left instep where I hurt it. Tape took most of the impact but blow made it really sore and I hope I haven’t aggravated it. Great race down the waterhole. I talked Barry into 20s start and it was dead heat finish. His bother Robbie said he jumped the gun and did a fast count. He doesn’t know but I’m going to double or nothing at the next waterhole. This is a really beautiful spot.
Turned in at 7.30pm again. Only did 11km today which is 19.3km for the journey so far. Cruising, but I’m not complaining. I remember we did 32km one day in the Tanami Desert and I think I’m still getting over it. I’m really getting soft. Cooler night and wriggled into sleeping bag straight away. Beautiful, still evening. Moon not up when I went to sleep. Left foot is a bit sore where I trod on the tree root this afternoon. Can’t believe I did that. I don’t seem to have any luck. Hope it’s ok tomorrow.