CAMP: Lighter-Less Fires…

By the time I make my way back here, pull up a fresh page, and attempt to digest what will ultimately be spat out onto the crisp white screen, it seems that an eternity has passed, so many adventures have taken place, so meals have been made and the innocence of each of those fresh moments has passed me by. Lost forever to re-interpretation and critical analysis as they appear before me this time around. Humph! Good for the patience this one! Should’ve blogged earlier…

When I last posted I wanted to tell you all about the food I’d been experimenting with, but got lost in the moment just as my phone did! This time I want to tell you all about the fabulous camping trip I returned from last week, the places we visited, the food we created, the laughs and the triumphs, and well, those glorious culinary creations all made possible thanks to a giant roll of trusty al-foil and a trusty roll of giant “she’ll-be-right” attitude!!!

I would also like to share something about myself. What I am up to, what’s making me tick, and what’s fuelling intense sessions of creativity, brainstorming, gratitude, visualisations, new affirmations, meditations, new learning, new exploring and the some of the inevitable challenges that come with it. But maybe not everything all at once!

Well, it’s been a while, let’s just start with that camping trip and we’ll see how it goes from there!!

Alex arrived back in Cairns on June 18th. Prior to that his 5 weeks at sea had been spent (partly) planning and scanning a camping trip for when he arrived home. Whilst tucked offshore in his floating home he unfortunately has no internet access, this luxury is limited to the range of shore-based services, and these graciously provide him with unlimited e-bay access whenever he is within the service area!!! (Can anyone else see where this is going?!?!)

To cut a long auction short I struck up an interesting friendship with the postman as each day for nearly 2weeks he would deliver another interesting shaped, sized, or weighted package! A cross-country game of pass-the -parcel, and it was fun! Hilarious and fun! Before I was able to make head or tails of where we would camp I had taken delivery on a tent, air mattress and pump, camping chairs and tables, outdoor stoves, benches with built in storage cupboards that completely fold away, outdoor showers, bbq utensils, picnic hampers, plastic food containers… I thought I had seen it all! THOUGHT!

These were my two favourite items……

Bear Grylls Survival Kit

Portable Toilet!!

If I haven’t mentioned before Alex’s car is a beautiful shiny black 2010 Holden SSV Ute… The idea was to load up the back, head off and camp in the wilderness for a week or so. Great idea!

But there’s only so much access to wilderness you can get when you’re limited to sealed (or unsealed and in very good condition) roads!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

I love the way Alex does things; never by halves, never without thought, and yet, I don’t think on this trip we’ll be all that removed from civilization, or for that matter, a toilet block!!!

I did ask, although somewhat sheepishly, if he had ever given consideration to just buying a caravan!?!?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! At least we’ll be fully prepared for the next camping trip, the one where we take a 4WD! And here I was thinking I’d be happy to take a swag, a shovel, and a cooler full of food! No complaints however, we’re some organised campers!

We headed south from Cairns and into Gordonvale, where we were fortunate enough to be able to buy some firewood from the Gordonvale Sawmill as the suppliers in Cairns seemed to be all out! From here we headed towards the Goldsborough Valley, part of the Wooroonooran National Park. It’s a beautiful area, just off the Gilles Highway, nestled below the rugged Bellenden Ker Range, and meandering along the scenic Mulgrave River. It is the traditional area of the Malanbarra Yidinji Aboriginal people, and signs around the campgrounds explain how they used the area and their intimate knowledge of seasonal availability and local bush foods. The campgrounds themselves were very well-maintained, clean, quiet and surrounded by lush forests. The river was crystal clear and moderately flowing, and made the perfect backdrop to my camp chair, glass of wine and reading book!

We spent 2 nights in the Goldsborough Valley, the first of which was quite restless, getting acquainted with all the new sounds in our bush house! The bush turkeys took a liking to a plate that had been lazily wiped over (oops!) and attempted some sort of late night entry!! I did what most girls would do… grabbed the man in bed and shook him awake! Thankfully the second night we slept much better, familiar as we were with the things that go bump in the night and our relative safety behind zips and nylon!

Alex enjoyed getting out his fishing gear, and I thoroughly enjoyed starting AND finishing Animal Farm by George Orwell! Now that is a great book. I had always meant to read it, but it had until now eluded me. I actually bought this particular book in the beginning of the year. From Hidden Words Bookshop in Kuranda. It’s a magical place, I feel smarter just looking at the material on the shelves in there, “books for thoughtful readers”.

It was the cover art that got me. Shepard Fairey is one of my all time favourite artists!! I love his work, I love his inspiration, I love his movement (Obey) and his passion… I could go on, trust me, but I digress!  I finished it in a day (thank you for that much reading time!!!) and thoroughly enjoyed it! What a great book. I stopped to laugh at many points in the story, as although it was published in 1945, primarily as a satire on the Russian Revolution, it has some quite uncanny, farther reaching, modern day applications! In any case I highly recommend reading this small book if you haven’t done so already!!

My first campfire experiment was here with baked apples. I had brought along some small organic gala apples. I chopped the tops off, cut out the core from the middle, and then filled the insides with a dry mix I put together before we left.

This mix contained: rapadura sugar, dark muscavado sugar, ground cinnamon, currants and oats. It was a mash-up of a few similar recipes I had seen, but I think I would have preferred it without the oats (which I added for texture and to keep the mix together a little better). After spooning it inside I put the tops back on, wrapped the apples in aluminium foil and put them on the hot coals to cook.

I left them there for maybe 20minutes, but they could have stayed longer, and what turned out was a melted sugar, caramely, muesli like baked apple! It wasn’t too bad! Good way to get a man to eat an apple!

On that note, I should mention that Alex’s first campfire experiment was extremely successful and he was very proud to announce that he had started the fire without a match, or a lighter!! There was no artificial fire used in the making of his campfire! Nope. None. Thanks to a trusty Bear Grylls flint stone, and some possibly Bear Grylls-like foresight (Alex has now found a use for laundry dryer lint!!) we had a wonderfully warming fire to enjoy as the sun went down! God love my survivor man!!!


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