This is the follow up of Day 5 Drive to Muloorina
I arrive at Muloorina early in the afternoon. The weather looks promising to hold for a few more hours. My plan was to visit the lake tomorrow, but I decide to go now – somehow it feels right. This would be my good stroke of luck, because the rain will start during the night and considering the deep mud, I encountered next day driving back on the main road, I doubt the 42km from Muloorina to the lake would’ve been possible.
It is again easy driving on a sandy track. I can see where the big mud was a few weeks ago – deep, deep sections dug by tyres, some of them still soaking in pools of water. The track simply bypasses them. I’ve read about a dune just before reaching the lake, but today there is nothing hard (or soft for that matter) along the 42km to Lake Eyre. I pass a few cars and find a few more parked at the visitor’s car park. Quite a lot of people are visiting today…
From the beach dune you can see vast dry space and beyond it, far, far away on the horizon, something that looks like water. I start to walk, intending to reach it. A few dark specks appear in the blitz just below the horizon. They move towards me and soon gain the shape of a mum and dad with three kids. They couldn’t get to the water, they tell me. The father is disappointed: “It’s a mirage” he suggests. One of his little girls warns me to be careful not to be swallowed by the mud. I promise to be careful and continue to walk on the increasingly soft lake bed. If it’s getting softer, I think, the water should be getting closer, right… Wrong! The water will never come close.
Just before giving up, the mud firms into a salty crust and the walking become much easier, like walking on ice without the slippery bit. Soon everything becomes white. To speed things up, I start running, but the illusive “water” starts moving away with the same speed. An hour later this situation doesn’t change, only the high beach dune behind me becomes a thin line and would soon disappear.
I enjoy all of this light and white space, the walking on the frozen salt. I could walk like this forever, but some instinct tells me that if I lose the thin line of the beach and the sun suddenly disappears, I would be lost. I don’t want to spend the night on the lake. What if it starts to rain?
I turn back and a couple of hours later get to the car for the uneventful drive back to Muloorina camping ground. Muloorina camping ground is wonderful. There are quite a few cars there and everyone looks serene. There is something in this place, I don’t know – the air, the waterhole, the sunset maybe…
Friends, I am going to finish my story now – I have another two days for my long 2000km drive back to Sydney. I will spend the night at Broken Hill again and will drive through some thick fog and mud the next day. Yes, on the way back from Marree, I will encounter large unavoidable pools of mud, enjoying the floating sensation that comes with it and the delicious realization that the Landie is capable to go through, never skipping a beat. The whole car will be covered with mud, which I’ll bring back to Sydney, and will take me half a day to hose off. But for me this is not so important. I had a wonderful trip. I saw the amazing Flinders and walked on Lake Eyre! Not many people in the World can praise themselves with the same.