I need to laugh
And when the sun is out
I've got something I can laugh about
I feel good
In a special way
I'm in love and it's a sunny day
'Good Day Sunshine', The Beatles
'You only appreciate something when it's gone,' they say, and they're right. Tuesday awoke to a blue sky and warmth, little things that those with roofs take for granted, but which can make a day feel really beautiful to those who've lived through the ravages of a storm. It didn't take much effort to get brekkie, get those packs hoisted and get moving.
As we headed south up Narrina Creek, it gradually widened out into smaller tributaries, eventually drying out altogether, so we could walk right along the creek bed. Luckily there wasn't too much growth along the way; because creek beds are often the best places to find water, white River Gums and all sorts of strange plant life spring up in the creek itself. This is useful for a couple of reasons: first, you can tell which way a creek flows even if there's no water, as the trees lean with the current, and debris gets deposited on one side of the trunk only, the upstream side; and second, the vegetation in the creeks is greener than the surrounding scrub, so you can tell where creeks are by looking for lines of green, which is useful when there's no water to try to spot.
Halfway up the creek we stopped for lunch by a little sloping waterfall, where these tiny fish were desperately trying to swim upstream, presumably to breed. It was quite entertaining watching the little buggers flipping around madly, trying to swim up this gush of water, made quite strong by the recent rains. And soon after lunch we disturbed a wild dog and her pups, and when she'd run off we got a good look at the litter; cute little things they were. We were obviously not alone...
After a while we reached the top of the creek, and struck east in search of the start of the George River. Unfortunately we'd gone a little too far south down Narrina Creek, so when we did reach the George, we were quite high up it and had to hack our way through serious undergrowth for a few hours to reach our destination. The George River has a much higher catchment area than its neighbouring creeks, and as a result it was huge, flowing fast and wide, leaving little room between the water and the surrounding forest, and making it impossible to cross. But our dedication was worth it, because when we'd battled through the worst of it, we got to the waterfalls.
Apparently I'm lucky to have seen the George in full flow, because even in the wet season it doesn't flow constantly, and when it's raining in the summer, you don't tend to go walking for fear of being whisked away. But our downpour had raised the water level to make the waterfalls flow quite dramatically, and it wasn't a hard decision to camp right by them. We found some reasonably flat rock, and spread sand around in the gaps to make a relatively flat bed, albeit pretty damn hard, and settled in for the duration.
The waterfalls consisted of lots of little falls, followed by a colossal one that fell into a huge, deep pool. The big one was too dangerous to fool around in, but the little ones were great, and before long we were washing away the grime of the journey in cool, flowing water; it was beautiful, and well worth the grief of the rains to have them flowing so much. We set up a makeshift shelter, because although the skies were clear, we didn't want to take any chances. Indeed, the night started out as clear as a bell, but soon enough a cloud front had rolled in and was threatening to repeat the performance of the last couple of days. Luckily it held off and the sky cleared again, looking great as usual, but the excess moisture and cool temperature brought down some seriously heavy dew, so we woke up on Wednesday with soaking sleeping bags anyway. Was there no escape from the water?
And to cap it all, I cut my foot badly on the rock when walking round in the dark, a big gash on the underside of my left foot, just behind the middle toe. God, it hurt, and proved to be rather uncomfortable for the rest of the trip. But, hey! Nobody said it would be easy...