Here we are again after nearly 3 weeks without contact with the outside world.
Trephina Gorge has no phone reception and even the satelite phone only works occasionally.
How quickly things can change our ideas of where we’re going in life.
Our broad plan was to work for Sandrifter Safaris for 3 weeks, head on up to Darwin and Kakadu, back to Alice and Sandrifter for another 3 weeks, then Ayres Rock and fly home for a fortnight.
I suppose, when I look back, this changed the first day we arrived at Trephina Gorge with Sandrifter Safaris.
We set up camp at “The Bluff” beside a dry river bed that was thickly lined with River Red Gums.
The beautiful white trunks and green foliage of these trees contrasted with the rugged red sheer cliffs that surrounded the Gorge camping spot creating an overpowering visual impact and making us understand exactly why artists would come here. The colours and the beautiful forms seem to cry out to be captured on canvas.
Unpacking the trucks, setting up the water and shower unit, erecting the 20 tents for the soon to arrive guests and setting up the kitchen was good, hard work but we became more and more aware of the preciseness of the hundreds of little tasks required to make the camp run and a small but niggling concern began to mount as to our ability to get these jobs done correctly first time, especially with nothing written down, no “Running Sheet” of all these tasks available for the newbie.
We set these concerns on the backburner and prepared to do our best and also to take in all we could of the magnificent scenery.
We parked the Aussie Wide in a separate place to the Sandrifter camp so it required us to commute to and from the campsite for each meal and when something was to be done.
It was cold at Trephina Gorge – Very cold. It got down to 1 degree at night but of course the Aussie Wide was always cosy and the bed welcoming.
We were able to take a walk down the riverbed of Trephina Gorge with its remaining trickle of water and we wandered amidst the magnificent river gums, the awe inspiring cliffs of ancient red rock formations stained black in places with eucalyptus oils dripping from the gum trees.
We examined the only known aboriginal paintings in the area and generally took in the unique formations of our surroundings. We were later to be fascinated by Gerry’s intricate knowledge of the flora and fauna of the area as well as his understanding of how this can be used for food and medicine.
We took a drive to the John Hayes water hole about 10 km from the camp and walked the scenic “Chain of Ponds” bush walk. This was an incredible walk along the rim of an ancient gorge and then down to the river bed below.
The walk took us along a route lined with those beautiful white trunked gum trees growing from wherever they could find the smallest root hold and into totally secluded rock pools so deep it’s hard to imagine them ever drying up completely. We explored caves dug out of the sheer cliffs by the actions of weather and water and all the time we felt completely dispatched from all human activity except our own.
The only negative aspect of this wonderful place was in knowing that we had to make our way back to the camp for the evening meal preparation.
After settling down into a cosy bed on the Monday 21st May, Kerrie awoke about 1:00am with a pain in the abdomen. At this point I’ll let her tell in her own words what happened.
A trip to Alice Springs Hospital:
Tuesday 22nd started off normal. Went to bed last night to sleep, the cold night outside not bothering us because with Chris beside me it was as warm as toast.
Then about 1.30am I had “Wind Pains” got up went to the toilet tried to go back to sleep but the pains only got worse. Within half an hour the vomiting started.
This of course woke Chris (You can’t keep silent in a caravan). I will be forever grateful of our ensuite, there isn’t much fun for anything over a drop toilet. I automatically thought of food poisoning and the fact I had probably killed all the oldies in camp.
But the pain never ceased and came in constant waves even after I had rid my stomach of everything I had eaten in the last week.
Now after and hour of this Chris insisted I head to hospital. I must agree when he first suggested it half an hour ago I couldn’t think of anything worse than a bumpy 86km trip back into Alice while constantly wanting to pee and throw up all while the crushing pains are ripping out my back and side.
Anyone up for a diagnosis yet? Ahh the one’s who have walked this path before have their hands up.
So while my dear husband got dressed, I am moaning I’ll need a bucket and water and as I watch he is opening every cupboard in the van looking for something, “What” I moan “Your handbag, where is it?” he asks.
Now my handbag has been in the same place since the day we bought the van home. It has never changed place and yet every time the man has to get the damn bag he can never find it.
Finally in the car me with my bucket in hand we head to the camp to inform them of out destination. I breath a sigh of relief as the camp is not lit up with people in the same predicament as me.
Our trip to the hospital was a strange affair as Chris hung over the wheel concentrating on not hitting any wildlife, speeding beyond the limit and of me telling him to stop I had to pee. He would have to pull up race around to help me slide out, hold me while I would be peeing from one end and throwing up from the other, then life me back into the car to achieve as many kilometres as possible to reach out destination before the process starts again.
At the arrival of the hospital Chris went in first and a nurse then came out with a wheelchair. All I was after was pain relief. After the nurse buggered up the first try to get a drip in my hand which was now swollen with fluid I told her to try my “Blood donating” vein which has never failed me in 30 odd years. I really just wanted to feel the morphine surging through my body so I could go to the wonderful world of “wishy washy land”.
Well she stuck oil in that vein, enough blood shot out to cover the only thing I had on, Chris’s cotton dressing gown. This is when it hit me I’m sitting in a wheelchair in a dressing gown too big for me, slippers and nothing else, NOT even my glasses, no underwear, no PJ’s. Chris is trying to cover me up, the nurse is trying to wipe off the blood and I just wanted to die.
So to all who have guessed “Kidney stones” was the answer and this was confirmed with a CT scan. 5 of the buggers, 1 x 8mm that was on it’s way, 3 little ones that I now hold in my position which happily passed while staying there as you can see by the photo and 1 in the left kidney they say isn’t going anywhere soon.
Then just to keep me on guard they ask me if I’m a diabetic because my sugar count hit 19. “No” I said “Oh well you look like you’re on the cusp but that can be fixed with diet and exercise”. YEAH, YEAH. You know there are times in your life you just want to grab someone by the neck and shake them to see their eyes roll around. Well there goes my chocolates and movie nights.
Because I was living so far away they agreed to keep me overnight, now remember I have nothing to wear. So off Chris goes to buy me some more PJ’s of which I really don’t need another pair. It wasn’t till I got up to my room that I was able to get into my PJ’s and by this time Chris had left to go home and cook. So how do you think I felt when I put my top on to look down and have “Precious” written across the front. Chris had done it to me again. The last time he bought me PJ to hospital he said he couldn’t find them at home even though I had given exact directions to the cupboard and shelf. The pants were covered in bright coloured lips and the top read “Luscious” in sparkly sequins. MEN…