Written by Bruce Greenhalgh
Some readers might recall the mid-1990s movie ‘Waterworld’. It starred Kevin Costner, cast as a ‘Mad Max’ style character, and was set in the distant future at a time when the polar ice caps had completely melted and submerged all land. Only a remnant human population had survived by living on artificial floating ‘atolls’. The film rather failed to live up to its massive budget and reviews were, as they say, ‘mixed’. Swayed by them, and away from my penchant for post-apocalyptic tales, I’ve never seen the film. And now I don’t have to because I’ve experienced my own Waterworld, the Ngadjuri Roaming rogaine.
Coordinator extraordinaire, Richard Sprod, told me that Bundaleer had received 80 mm of rain in the days before the event. I’ve no reason to disbelieve him, apart from thinking ‘Only 80 mm?’. I’m struggling to recall a wetter, more sodden, South Australian landscape. The two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen was everywhere, and in abundance. On the upper slopes of hills I found myself traipsing through puddles and anything that looked like a creek had flowing water. For once the blue lines on the map actually, consistently, denoted water instead of representing a mapper’s leap of imagination.
Fortunately, the rain held off on Saturday, and Sunday was one of those Spring days that set a seasonal standard that’s too infrequently met. Even my addled ‘where the @!%$!? is the control?’ brain could acknowledge the beauty of sunshine glistening on streams flowing through rich, green pastures where sheep contentedly went about their business. The novelty of the sound of running water was not lost on me either and we even used the sound of the multitudes of frogs as a navigational aid. In the dark you could tell you were nearing a dam or creek by the increase in the volume of frog croaking.
These were compensations for our ordinary performance. Like Kevin Costner and co with Waterworld’s budget (it was the most expensive film made at the time) we were too ambitious with our route planning and my apparently water-logged mind was making plenty of bad decisions. I know – it’s one of my rogaining rules – not to rely too much on lesser mapped tracks. Yet, there I was again expecting to find, when approaching a ‘dotted’ track, something akin to a major highway with signs saying ‘Control 84, next exit 200 metres’, instead of a barely discernible wheel track or two. D’oh! As for other mistakes, well, I don’t want to revisit them. There’s only so much self-inflicted water boarding I want to do. Instead, I’ll use the memory of a pointless trudge along the seemingly endless Spring Road to remind me that rogaining is about thinking as well as moving.
With that comment I guess I’m stating that I will be back, if only to witness the marvel of rogaine volunteers creating events. That the organising team were able to even run the event is worthy of great praise, that they did so and produced a quality event is a tribute to their talent, intelligence and hard work. Well done and thank you to all those who helped keep the Ngadjuri Roaming rogaine afloat.