An easy Pil(bara) to Swallow (by Symone)
Trip Start Jul 07, 2010
54Trip End Sep 02, 2010
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All the way through northern SA and into the NT we kept on saying how green everything was and how undeserty it looked. Well, today we found the desert that we have been expecting all along. The Pilbara is desolate. It looks scorched, barren, remote, alien, but astounding. Perhaps its complete lack of moisture and visible life adds to its beauty.
There is water in the Pilbara, there are plenty of stations running cattle over thousands of acres that have permanent water holes or access to subterranean water via wells. The Canning Stock Route runs through the eastern Pilbara and into the true centre of WA and has water holes all along it. I guess you just have to know where to look
The air was so dry. We were walking and the sun was hot on our heads but we weren’t sweating, or at least it was evaporating as soon as it hit the surface of our skin. I had to drink water regularly just driving along in the car, the air seems to suck it out of you.
On the way into the National Park we passed lots of BHP trains loaded with iron ore from Tom Price or Newman, another 200kms inland and the largest open cut mine in the world. But that will have to wait for another day. The longest train we saw had 236 carriages, it was on its way back to the mine from the coast for a refill. It needed 3 engines. We saw men with their work vests tied around their faces to shield them from the dust and sun. We passed single mens quarters that reminded me of Tullah. Clothes lines full of washing hung up all crooked, just shirts and socks and the odd singlet that was white once upon a time.
There weren’t many tourists in the park, which makes a nice change because at some places in Kakadu and Litchfield you almost had to cue to get a parking spot. The roads were unsealed and we had the feeling that we were driving into the hostile unknown, not a National Park. But we were rewarded with beautiful waterholes and vistas that don’t seem to go together but were within cooee of one another. The waterholes are very deep, cold, and full of fish. We would have loved to go swimming (it’s nice not having to worry about crocs anymore) but it just wouldn’t have been safe with the kids. The waterholes didn’t have any shallows, they just dropped. You got in via a ladder and we couldn’t see the bottom
We headed back at around 5pm..We were all tired so I thought, a quick and easy dinner tonight. Pasta. With a bottle of wine for afters. Perfect. What wasn’t perfect was the microwave blowing up, thankfully just as it had finished the pasta. It blew the circuit and also made our neighbours lose their power as well. Frustrating, but you must remember I am in the middle of trying to put up tea. This isn’t simple in a van the size of Barbie’s, and to make it even more entertaining, I have to do three versions. One version of the sauce is pre-cream, for Connor, so his sauce and pasta goes up. Then Lyndon decides that now would be a good time to see if any of the other powerpoints are broken, it if was just the microwave, or if something more serious is wrong. I am juggling Connor’s dinner and get it to the table when Lyndon wants to get at the pantry to check out the powerpoints contained therein. Meanwhile I discover the cream is funky, so I have to substitute milk. Try opening the fridge with your husband on the other side with only his butt showing from the pantry and the kids asking, 'what is Daddy doing in the pantry, mummy?’ Mummy doesn’t really have anything conducive to happy families to add, so says nothing. Our sauce is now good to go. Oh, no it isn’t. Lyndon is now testing the powerpoint above my head with a DS to check that it still works. Couldn’t this wait, I ponder? Right. My sauce onto my rice, and then Lyndon and Keely’s sauce onto their pasta. Done. And so is Lyndon. And we haven’t damaged each other in the meantime which is miraculous in it’s own right. Now where is that bottle?