• Hinterland Hikes

An Unexpected Visitor

Insects are ticking and beeping in their great nocturnal song. The fire drums; like thunder in a far away storm. Occasionally a branch falls or leaves rustle somewhere in the darkness. My instinct want to know what’s out there.


I’d spent the day on The Historic Nightcap Track. Fires had burned sections of the walk and blackened palm fronds littered the track and hung in trees. It was strange to walk along a ridge of desolation and then enter a luscious green valley. Like evidence at a crime scene, the behaviour of the fire could still be determined.

My camp was beneath an ancient hollowed tree known as the Post Tree. I had a little fire and cooked dinner in the Trangia before retiring my tired body to the tent.

I was going over the day in my mind when an unusual sound just near my head caught my attention. When you spend time in the bush most sounds can be attributed to something familiar. When an unusual sound hits your ears at night your senses immediately heighten. I went through the animals I thought would be around and I knew what it must be.

I found my torch and held it against the tent fly mesh. I clicked the button and revealed a beautiful big scrub python. My fire must have attracted it. I estimated it at around three metres long. My presence wasn’t threatening to this animal that is an apex predator in this environment. I spoke with it - my heart racing with primordial excitement - as it moved through camp.


I barely slept that evening. Partly because of adrenaline but mostly because the rain that fell on the tent kept me awake as it sounded exactly like popcorn in a microwave. I used the moisture dripping from leaves to wash my face and brush my teeth in the morning.

The National Park was shrouded in mist and dripping with sound and moisture for my walk out that morning. I was smiling most of the way.

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