Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Douglas Springs

As we all dried our eyes, having left Flick and Al behind on the Daly River, the next stop came upon us 130kms down the road in the form of Douglas Springs, a spot recommended to us by people we'd met in Litchfield National Park. I hadn't been super keen on this stop, even though it was only 70kms out of our way to Katherine.  I'm not sure why: to be honest I just wanted to lie down and have a bit of a nap. The campground is a bit of a dust bowl, but still pleasant enough so we picked a spot in what sparse shade there was, set up for the night and walked down to the creek to see what all the fuss was about .

Dusty camp at Douglas Springs.

Douglas Springs is a very hot spring bubbling out of the ground next to the cool waters of a creek . The water is clear and is in turns scaldingly hot, cold, warm, hot and then back to somewhere in between. It was quite a strange sensation to be sitting in shallow water,  your feet in hot water whilst you freeze your backside off in the cool creek water. Fiela dug out a bit of a hole for us all to sit in at the junction of the creek, in essence mixing the waters to a pleasant level. The kids played with other kids, we exchanged travel tidbits with some of the others there and generally soaked the afternoon away.

Douglas Springs after the coldest night we'd had in months and months... Got down to 12 degrees!

We got talking to the family next to us who had exactly the same set up,  but just newer models of the camper trailer and Prado. They had three kids with them, and it was heartening to hear that they took ages to set and pack up, that they had seemingly tons of crap, and that their kids were naughty and threw sand and rocks at times just like ours. They only had a few months and were travelling up towards Cairns before heading back to the central Queensland coast and home.

The best thing about camping next to people who are only away for a short while?
They've got all the good-time gadgets like sparklers...

.... and marshmallows.
That night I had a dream that we'd completed this trip around Australia and were back home,  doing all the same same things. And I had that very strong and strange feeling you get in dreams of having forgotten something pretty important, something that no matter where the dream takes you, you can't shake it. I realised that I'd forgotten what happened on the trip and I became very agitated and upset, even realising I'd come home without the kids and Fiela- they were still on the road somewhere. It was at this point that I started to convince myself I was dreaming and woke up not quite sure which way was up.

The creek and springs in the morning- easy to tell where the hot water meets the cool.

But I was still here with my family and we still had 7 months to go on this incredible adventure. It had taken over two weeks and a fairly straightforward dream (yes yes, I'm more in the class of choppy water running shallow, rather than still water running deep) for me to shake off the Sydney blues, but I'd done it and felt better immediately. Even our pack up seemed to be infinitely easier than it had been in a month, though our doppelgangers had managed to take in a morning swim and still haul themselves out of camp quicker than the Uys Huis. But time is still on our side and we ambled out of Douglas Springs National Park, (and I at least was) ready to get on with it at last.

Looking downstream.

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