Four vehicles left from the Bluewater free camping area on Friday 1st December around 3pm with Simon leading due to being first cab off the rank.

It was a very pleasant trip up to Paluma where Nick and Val joined us. We deflated our tyres for the trip into the property. After about 15kms of gravel road we turned off onto the 4WD track to the hut. This trip takes about an hour. Simon was still leading and decided that he would go straight ahead where we normally take a right turn. Nick advised that it would still get us there so onwards we went until we came to the normally shallow or dry creek crossing. It looked a totally different crossing from this direction especially since there was a good flow of water in the creek and we couldn’t see the track on the other side. After working out where the track was we proceeded across the creek with no dramas.

After some nice 4 wheel driving over the range and into the valley with various creek and gully crossings we made our first stop for firewood. Well our leader sure knows how to pick firewood. You could have cut the limbs with a knife as it was soft centred. He redeemed himself on the second stop and we loaded up with firewood and on to the hut to set up camp.

The grass had grown quite a bit since we were there last so we had to peg our annex mats down. Simon set up his swag in the hut. He then proceeded to do what a good trip leader does and set up the fire. We forewent Happy Hour and dinner and drinks were consumed. A good night around the fire was had by all.

Next morning we got stuck into some work on the hut, the plan being to hook up the water and build the shower. The water was hooked up fairly quickly and some work done on the toilet cistern to get it working again. Simon did a great job on the shower with assistance from Errol and Chris who arrived that morning.

Nick and I worked on the plumbing and got it all set up for the shower and the kitchen. Water was connected for the shower but not for the kitchen until we get the drainage sorted out next trip. The final job was the shower base. The concrete was mixed and Simon poured the base. It was bloody hot so we took a drive to the water hole 15 minutes away and had a really nice swim. Nick spotted some good size Sooty Grunter, so we will have to give them a go next time.

After the swim Simon finished the base off and it was happy hour time. About that time Simon decided to take his drone on its maiden flight. All seemed to be going well until we heard shouts of “come back, come back” and the drone headed straight for my vehicle. Luckily it skirted over the vehicle and Simon hit the kill switch. Nick was surprised that the drone was supposed to respond to voice commands, but turns out it doesn’t as the drone was lost on its second flight after deciding to go its own way again. Because he and Errol couldn’t find it Simon walked close to where he lost it and tried to fly it out. Unfortunately some long grass tangled around one of the propellers and burnt the motor out. He eventually found it by reviewing the video.

A great night was had around the fire and the usual shapes in the fire commentary started up after a few beers. This time it was a clown or a jester, at which point we discovered that Nick has a clown phobia and was not at all impressed with the direction the conversation was going.

The photo doesn’t quite do it justice but it was a great talking point.

Next morning after a late night we took it easy while the campers dried out from the overnight rain. We filled the water tank with the petrol pump which Tim has left at the hut, and eventually packed up and left about 11am. We travelled back the same way we came in and crossed the creek again which was deep enough to wash the bottoms of the vehicles and campers. It was an easy trip home once we hit the bitumen and inflated the tyres, arriving home about 1.30pm.

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