May 20, 2013

Field Trip Day One

Wow, what a weekend! Quite a fun field trip with my geomorphology class. We drove around the countryside a couple hundred kilometers inland from Townsville. About 25 or 30 of us went, just a van load from Cairns and the rest from The Townsville campus.

We in Cairns had a long way to drive to get down there and meet up. We had a nice early departure, getting on the road by about eight. There were 12 of us in total including Chris, one of our lecturers. It is a fair ways to Townsville from Cairns, about five hours actually. We only had one stop along the way in Cardwell. We stopped at a little petrol station for a stretch and refreshments. I was stunned when I went inside and saw one of the additions to the menu.

I thought that was pretty funny.

We continued on to Townsville, but since we were a little bit late, the others left from the uni where we were going to meet them, and headed out to another meeting spot. That chosen spot was a bottle shop, and when we got there we made essential purchases of beer  and the like.

Now a convoy of our van, the bus from townsville and our support UTE from Townsville as well, we headed out west. Our eventual destination was Dalrymple National Park, 40 km north of Charters Towers. We had a few stops along the way. The first was the Reid River.

This is road train country, and I was so excited with the first one I saw, and the second, and the third, and the fourth, and every one after that.

The next stop we made was at the Burdekin River at Macrossan. This is a big river. It might not look it in the picture below, but the photo below that may change your mind a little bit.

This is just off the end of the bridge. That pole in the picture is a flood marker. Each of the little signs on it marks a water level. That is the water level above the surface of the road, which is already about 20 m above the river. Just an incredible amount of water.

We made another stop to check out some hills in the distance. Here is us huddled around the geology map to get some context for the surroundings.

Fun sign!

Here are two of them! They are big bloody things and they just fly along the road at about 120kph.

I quite enjoy the road trains. We have the two trailer trucks at home, but they use two smallish trailers. Here they have 3 extra long trailers. The last trailer just whips around about a meter to each side. Me like.

A panorama from around the campsite when we finally arrived. We had a short stop for gas in Charters Towers, and headed out to the campsite. It is a big field on both sides of the road where one can camp at leisure. There were a fair number of grey nomads there (grey nomad is the term Australians use for retirees who leave their homes for at least part of the year for somewhere warmer, usually in caravans or small campers) but they are not exactly a rowdy bunch.

We set up pretty quickly. Lots of tents, a couple food tents, and a really cool kitchen trailer. It has stoves which pull out of the back. We had quite a civilized meal. Yummy pasta with meat sauce. The fire was hot, the air was cool, and we had a lot of fun consuming some of our essential purchases from the bottle shop earlier in the day.

I was quite dissapointed that it was cloudy that night. It was completely overcast at about midnight. I got up at about 3:30 to see if it was clear, but it was pretty overcast still, though there was one small little gap in the clouds or a few minutes through which I got this photo. The Milky Way was just stunning! I need to drive out into the bush on a clear night to experience it in full.

That was the end of day one. Well technically the last photo is from day two, but I will still leave it at that. Tomorrow I will post photos from day two, and later from day three. Check back soon!

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