How I Spent My Holidays

{mosimage}Saturday morning the alarm was set for 6 am. Blech. But I think I was actually awake before that, so no matter. Neither of us bothered showering, because a) we knew we’d be sweating in the afternoon anyway, and b) the night before we noticed there was a block in our drains after the washer flooded the bathroom & kitchen. Lovely.

Stopped for petrol/gas, drove through McDonald’s for breakfast, drove on north of the city through all the towns along the gulf. Got to Port Augusta around 11 am and had lunch at Hungry Jack’s (Australian Burger King).

Drove on through Quorn and Hawker, on toward Wilpena, got to the end of the asphalt and onto dirt road into the event. We found the start and got registered, got our maps, started our courses. (Side note: I never used to have to *think* about where north is. I just *knew*. Now that I’m in the southern hemisphere, I’m always thinking south is north, and vice versa, so I really have to pay attention to where the sun is so I know where I am.) I figured out where I was going, found the first three markers with little trouble, and then I went the wrong way down a hill and had no clue where I was. So I went back to number 3 and tried again, and got lost again, and went back again, and found marker 9. Sure, it looks similar to a 4, but it ain’t a 4. But now at least I knew where I was, and there was a creek I could follow right up to number 4. And funnily enough, I ended up somewhere I’d been before, and didn’t realise I was close. Dang. So found number 4, and found the rest with little or no trouble. I was out on that course for two and a half hours when it should’ve taken an hour and a half. But I got back before they had to look for me, so that was a good thing.

So we’d made reservations for a room in Hawker, about 40 minutes from where we’d been. Got our room, sat around for a while, had showers, went to the restaurant and had schnitzels (which weren’t that great, but they filled us up). Back to the room, sleep.

Sunday morning. Woke up before the alarm. Had breakfast delivered. Ate breakfast (bacon & eggs & toast…mmmm). Got going early because it’s funny how fast you can get ready in the morning when you don’t have cats or computers to distract you. Got to the start again, which was a bit closer than Saturday’s, and the road to the start went up a steep hill, and back down just as steep on the other side. And we were actually early, so we just sat in the car and tried to stay warm till our start times (Darrin 10:14, me 10:30). Our friends Colin & Aaron showed up, and they had start times right after each of us (10:16 and 10:32). So at about 10 we went down to the starting area, waited for our names to be called, and lined up behind everyone else who was going. Got maps, started, yada yada yada. This one was much easier than Saturday’s, partly because the person who set it up was a little more forgiving than the previous one, and partly because I’d done the previous day and I was getting used to the terrain. And I had very little trouble with the Sunday course, except for marker 6 where I got off the track too soon, but I found where I was pretty quickly and finished in a reasonable time. Had some hot dogs & drinks, hung around till they were ready to pack up in case they needed help, but they had enough people so we left. And went up to Pugilist Hill lookout. Which is a big hill right next to the event. Very steep road up there, but we had a good view. Nearly 360 degrees of mountains. I took some pictures, they’ll be in the gallery in the next few days.

Back to the hotel. Hung around there for a bit, had showers, changed clothes, went back toward Wilpena and the Woolshed Restaurant, which had been booked out for the orienteers for a buffet. And we stuffed ourselves. We ate till it hurt. Hung around chatting with Colin & Aaron till 9 or so, then drove back to the hotel and watched a bit of Die Hard 2 on TV before we went to sleep.

Monday morning. Had bacon & eggs for breakfast again. Checked out of the hotel. Drove to the last event, which was right next to the one we’d been to on Saturday. Got our start times, maps, and off we went. And I was doing great till marker 9 (out of 14), where I went down the wrong side of a hill (went south instead of east) and ended up almost at the bottom of the map. And I looked around for that stinking number 10 for at least an hour, then I finally decided I’d had enough, and it was getting close to the course closing, so I had to go back anyway. Got to a wide creek and realised I’d been at the OTHER wide creek further south. Found my way back to the finish where Darrin was waiting for me. Got back just over a minute past the closing time with sore feet, sore knee, and kicking myself for messing it up.

Drove back through Hawker, where we’d intended to get petrol again, but being the last day of a long weekend, everyone and his dog was there waiting already, so we drove on, since we were doing pretty good already anyway. Stopped at a bakery in Orroroo (I hope I spelled that right, can’t be bothered checking the map) for lunch. Drove on to Riverton where Darrin’s mum has moved to, and had tea with them. Drove back from there at about 10, got home around 11:15, got unpacked a bit, crashed in bed.

We’ll definitely be going back when they do a 3-day event again, so I can beat the map rather than the other way around. And Darrin loves the area because it’s HARD, and none of the maps around Adelaide compare to that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *