Evening of Day 8, the next "Story So Far" was handed over to Cindy from Neville "no friends", was this jealousy or punishment for leading two others astray to taste fine wine and local cuisine at the Blinman hotel that night. The three in question, (Cindy, Kym and Mike) finally returned to camp to find the entire group huddled around the fire waiting in anticipation for the nightly 8.00pm, "Story so Far" which finally kicked off around 8.40pm (Thanks guys for waiting).
That evening, a repeat of the famous "Apple Cobbler" was once again cooked up by Ivan and his gang and enjoyed by all. The camp fire humour was in good form from the story telling. As the night got very chilly the group got smaller. Those that were left to expand on their stories and brave the cold huddled closer together with their chairs creeping closer to the fire. Glen mentioned something about a mallee bull and having to return to a certain paddock someday. Finally the brave last few stumbled off to bed in complete darkness. Mike in particular found a very prickly bush, followed by a few choice words before finding his tent.
The next morning started off to its usual pace, very relaxed. A little giggling could be heard from a certain camper trailer en-route to the Alpana 5 star amenities. For this trip, today was going to be our last group 4wd together before all departing our own way's tomorrow.
A couple of the men decided that they needed more fuel making their way to Blinman where there was no fuel. After a little confusion, they headed down the track to Angorichina Village. The rest made there way into the local Blinman general store, most deciding to have ice-creams, then en-route to re-group with the others at Angorichina village before starting our days trek on the Mt Samuel track. As we headed along, a little confusion was being felt by Lee as to what way we were suppose to be going. Craig quickly revised the trip due to the fuel top ups and all were happy again.
The track had the usual dry creek beds, rocks and great scenery before stopping for morning tea on top of a hill. It was mid-morning and the day had started to heat up and Trevor requiring a little shade decided to pull out his awning. Then the show and tell started, Cindy having to move the 80series so Stan could unfold his awning to show it's full potential and provide shelter from the suns burning ray's. Cindy "Kneecaps" Masling thought a little self-defence instruction of "eye ball" and "hand contact" lesson for Hayden was be-fitting and he cheekily observed her sensei ways. Unfortunately Cindy was heard to utter the words "come on Hayden the old duck is getting tired", which earnt her a nomination for that nights Neville awards.
While morning tea was still on, all of a sudden Craig was eagerly on his way again, catching out those that had to fold away their awnings. Kym and Cindy (Charlie for the day) waited for Stan to pack his away before catching up with the group as they forged their way up to Mt Samuel. The views once again provided many photo shoots before descending our way down through twisting and narrow creek beds that provided some slow but not too challenging 4wdriving. The UHF was not short of chatter today as we were in full swing exchanging, revising and coming up with unique names for those in the group who had earned their special mention stripes. See the following:-
Craig was finding it difficult to get a word in during all the radio excitement so he put a hold on the chatter, as to input vital information as to where lunch was being held and the usual gate closures ahead for "Charlie".
We passed through the last gate and a short distance up the track we had lunch under the shade of large and beautiful river red gums. The kids were having a lot of fun scrambling along the rock ledges and climbing trees, the adults all enjoying the tranquillity of the moment until Tim makes a dash to his vehicle, closes the door and drives a short distance to a body of water. His kid's have already sussed out the depth of the water, saying go for it Dad, so Dad did. Tim "Tidal Wave" Sanders ploughed his way through the water bending the number plate and in the process creating a tidal wave that nearly engulfed Kym taking photos at his exit point. Trevor being caught up in the excitement decided to also give it a go. Another nice under body wash was had and the kids could be seen enjoying the entertainment.
With most of the group now departed from lunch and only four cars left (Glen, Scott, Stan and "Charlie", Stan decides that the Prado was in need of a wash as well. (Or was this really for his kids to remember !!). Anyway, Stan managed to get his vehicle hung on a concealed large boulder before his descent into the water. Kym watched on from his vehicle and decided that it was only fitting that a fellow Prado driver "Scott" should rescue him from his precarious position. Glen didn't wait and could be seen driving on to catch up with the group. After a little hiccup the Prado was snatched and Stan valiantly pursued his way through the water.
After the excitement and heat of the day we all headed for the Blinman hotel for light refreshments. Kristen and Craig got their much needed cappuccino fix while the other's enjoyed an ale or two under the shade of the hotel. The kids were also enjoying their first swim for the trip in a very icy pool next door to the hotel which left them with chattering teeth and blue skin but they eventually found the warmth of the afternoon sun to thaw them out again.
Finally, we all made our way back to the camp for another enjoyable evening. Unfortunately, Kym and Cindy returned to see there campsite in rack and ruins. It appears that a mini tornado, (Whirly, whirly), had selectively gone through and turned everything upside down. Only the tent was left limp and barely erected. Two containers of water totalling about 30 litres was lifted off the table which was now in pieces. The worst of it was seeing their towels covered in thousands of prickly burs.
The track heading toward Mt Samuel
A view of the ranges
Mt Samuel?? - or Mt Samuel Proper?? - even the surveyors couldn't get it right
Up over the ridgelines
And then down through the tight creek line
The view that was worth paying for
Morning Tea - Trevor gets his awning up - some new friends..
Glen's message to the shade newcomers
A bit of local fauna
And a bit of imported fauna
We found a trench full of water - a bit mouldy... Who was going to be first???
Glen and Sharon share a moment
Who's this bloke in the Hilux - Tim "Tidal Wave" Sanders!! - TJL, you got competition mate ;-)
Here she comes!
Trevor got his 120 ready to rock
Stan got hung up, and Scott came to the rescue
Reminiscent of his Snow Trip crossing, maybe Stan is the Tidal Wave fella!
The rest of the vehicles lined up for lunch
Trevor, Meredith, Jemima, Eloise, Serena, Adam, Robbie and Elisa look on
ahh haa - this is getting interesting!!
Bugger that - we'll do some investigating of our own
After a refuel, it was up to the Blinman pub - for a refuel ;-)
Very comfortable place to spend the afternoon
And guess what - there's a pool next door!! Kid Heaven after a week in the bush - Most didn't have swimmers and Ben had a big garbage bag taped to his arm
Kym and Cindy's camp
Matthew wearing the Captain Wonderful cape
Our last sunset
A second take
Ivan's turn to present the Neville Awards - ably helped by Adam - and the group also had a block of chocolate and bottle of port for the fine job he'd done on this trip.
And.... Gotta wear the underpants!
The glint in that eye - is it a man, is it a plane - no, it's Super Craig (or Captain Underpants!!)
Lea's crack at being creative - the last camp fire - vacated...