This is What We Came for, Part 2
You may be wondering what our twin five-year old blond haired boys were doing while we were contemplating whether Palm Creek would destroy our newly acquired Cub Camper (read part 1 here). To get a better view of our companions’ creek crossing, and the potential obstacles we might face, we had all scrambled down to the bottom of the creek bed to watch the show.
Fortunately – or unfortunately if you are stuck at the bottom – the Palm Creek crossing was well designed for children passing time. In fact if you ask Lake or Finn, depending on the day, they may list the Palm Creek rope swing as the favorite part of Australia so far!
Yes, if you find yourself stuck at the bottom of Palm Creek, winch-less and waiting for someone to come along with a snatch strap, or if you’re camping nearby and relaxing in the shade, there is a rope swing perfectly sized for young-ins to do their best Pitfall impression. Trained by swinging on vines in the swimming hole near Mason’s store in Cape Tribulation, Finn took to the rope like a natural born Tarzan. He quickly developed a game where he would swing my way, look like he was going to jump into my open arms, and then at the last second twist his body and try to kick me in the belly. It was devilishly hilarious. Like any good brother, Lake overcame his initial hesitation and quickly mastered the rope swing as well.
A half hour later, Miranda had prepared four delicious tuna fish sandwiches, and Lake had perfected the Poppa kick maneuver, declaring himself a level six rope master. Finn was level five. I’m not sure how they kept score, but by this time my aching belly had had enough, so I started exploring other ways to cross Palm’s Creek while Miranda and the boys ate.
What I found was another crossing about two hundred and fifty meters off to the right. It was still challenging, with a steep sandy descent, but the angles were much better for our tow bar. I was a little concerned about an obstacle on red sand that looked unavoidable for our front left tire on the climb out, but the angle looked safe if we had to back down- and we were only a cb radio call or a 5k jog to Bramwell Station if we got stuck… so we decided to give it a go.
We lowered the air pressure in our tires to account for the soft sand, crossed our fingers and took a breath to say “here we go.” Miranda and I reconfirmed with each other the decision to go was mutual – a key to our marital bliss- and I inched the Cruiser forward in low first gear, feathering the brakes but letting gravity and our engine brake do the real work. We were all safely buckled in for the descent, which was good because at that angle you could feel the belt holding you in your seat! We made it down with some bumps but relatively unscathed, and then Finn, Miranda and Lake watched from the top of the creek as our Cruiser, dubbed Cave Lion by the boys, heaved through the crossing, left front tire reaching skyward, pausing for a very long two seconds, and landing triumphantly on the far side of Palm, our camper “Siberian Tiger” in tow. We breathed a sigh of relief and headed onward, our journey on the telegraph track having finally begun!