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Simon Wilson’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 28 Nov 2010

MapWell what an interesting weekend. Not in the best way either..
We went up to Alexandra for a bit of R&R in the tent. Lovely. Left Fri after work, got the tent up. Nice. No wind, warm, lovely. Birds tweeting, trees swaying, river gurgling, us snoring. All good.

Woke up to a lovely Sat morning so went to climb a hill. Which we did. Walked up the rocky dry hill with the smell of Thyme strong in the nostril, almost pungent. Sometimes we were on a track, sometimes just rambling up here and over yonder, stopping often for a sip of water or perhaps just a break from the sun in the shade of a pine.

We got up to the top of the particular hill we were wanting to get to and we sat and admired the view. Looking back down the valley to Alexandra. Warm breeze on our skin, the odd car on the road now opposite where we sat across the valley.

Julie was happy, she hasn't done many 'Simon' x-country wanders before and she enjoyed the same thing I enjoy about it - just finding a hill and climbing to the top of it. We planned our route down, which was going to take us past some bee hives Julie wanted to take a look at.

Just about to make our way down when we heard a loud 'BANG'. F#ck! Someone shooting. Down in the valley below us was a red car with a couple of people who had let off a shot. Holy crap scared the shit out of us. Too make it worse they were far enough away that we couldn't quite see which they were pointing. 'BANG' another one went off and we scarpered behind a rock. It was extremely unlikely they were actively shooting at us but we had no way of knowing. My concern was that they might have had a scope and had seen a glimpse of colour (us) and confused it for an animal. The other worry was that they might have been shooting randomly up the hill and a stray bullet might come our way. Either way - not good.

So we sat behind our large rock for quite some time and waited for them to go away. Which they they did not. I poked my head over the rock and 'BANG' another shot. F#vck. Maybe they really DO think we are a goat or something?

Julie was worried, I was worried, that was two too many worried people. We were safe behind our large rock, but we were trapped. We were up admiring the view you see. One side was a shear drop, the other side was idiots with guns. If we could just sneak over the top without getting ourselves in the line of sight... now that would be good because we could drop down into another valley and from there we could make our way up to car via another route. But it didn't seem like we could get over the top and remain out of line-of-sight.

I figured they wouldn't be there too long so if we just sat it out for a bit they would head on their way and we would be fine. What F#cking idiots shooting so close to town near all those walking and biking tracks! Grrr. Just then another car came down near the first one and beeped at them. Hoorah! Maybe they were going to tell them to F off and stop being such idiots! People got out of the car they chatted. I hid behind my tree and watched for a while. 'BANG'
F#CK! Back down behind the rock. I guess they were friends. Damn it!
Again - not close enough to know what was going on or in which direction they were pointing. They were on 'our' side of the car, that was bad.
The guns sounded (and I hoped) were just shotguns, but then we heard a shot ricochet off which told us it was a rifle. A serious one too judging my the sound, certainly not a .22 We were certainly out of range of a shotgun, and most likely out of range of a good rifle, but if they had a scope... or an unlucky shot (for us...) Who's taking that risk right?

So my sitting still plan wasn't working as they might now have another gun (sounds like they did) and maybe more ammo. And the last shot sounded like something serious so it was time to move.

I scampered up the rock face to see if we could stay out of sight and get over the ridge. Turns out we mainly could if we stayed low. We were in sight for a second or so buy no longer. So over we went and got down below the next ridge line. Phew! Still not out of jail because now we had a very steep valley we had to make our way down, then up the other side to remain out of sight. Oh well - at least we are out of the worst of it.

So we scrambled through thyme and over sharp rocks down one side and up the other. As we came up to another ridge (a long way away at this stage) I looked over the top and see that the cars were leaving. Thank F#ck for that. They cruised down ridge opposite us across the valley from where we stood. I stood as high as I could on a rock on the ridge line and wolf whistled. It was a good one. The car slowed on a corner and stopped. I waved my fist at him in what I hoped he could see was a fist of: "F#ck you, you stupid f#cking idiot! You could have killed us! If I find you in town I'm gonna punch your F#cking lights out. F@cking idiot you scared the shit out of us!" ggrrrrrrr@@####

So that was that. Up we scrambled, down we scrambled. And finally, a bit shaky in the knees, we made it back to the road and the safety of the car.

So we discussed on the way back into town whether or not we should go and see the cops. 'Probably' it was a shotgun. 'Probably' they weren't aiming at us. But all the same - what a stupid place to shoot! So close to town and so close to so many walking and biking tracks. How ridiculous! So we drove down to the police station to at least have a chat with the cops and let them know what had happened.

No cops in the shop of cop. So off we went. Well we tried. Driving out of town and what is that coming towards us? A cop car. Flashed my lights and indicated for her to come see us. Which she did. Nice. So we told her the story and she took our details. Not much she could do, we had no rego of the car or ID. Well at least she knows and she was going to pass it on to the local guys, they might know who it was and maybe they could have a chat with them and tell them to go a bit further out of town to shoot.

Well that was good enough. Not a nice experience but we did the right thing. Next day Sunday and I said to Julie that we should 'get back on the horse again' and go for a walk on the same track. I was certainly spooked by the experience as was she so I thought it would be best to get back out there again (as the common wisdom goes...). And I wanted to find the site they were shooting from and see if they left any shells behind to tell us that (hopefully) it was shotgun after all.

So jumped out again - taking a few precautions this time. Two cell phones, and a good look around to make sure no one was about shooting already..
And for good measure we stayed high on a track near the road that would allow us to get onto the road should it all go wrong again.

So off we rambled we looked across to where we had been stuck behind a rock, and down to where I thought the shooters had been. 'Julie - just think I might pop down there and see if I can see where they were'. She was delighted...
Well we got down there and sure enough I came across a plastic bullet holder. No need for them to take away their rubbish of course, just chuck it on the ground you lazy pieces of shit. A bit further on and there they were - empty cases. Oh oh. Not little ones. Not .22 Not shotgun shells. Big 7mm hunting cases. F#ck me. Julie lost it. I was none too happy either. I don't think they could have got us from that distance but the bullet certainly would have made the distance.

We had a look around and fortunately... found a cardboard box on the hill. And through it were 13 rounds. So they did have a scope... Anyway - at least that was in the opposite direction to where we were. So turns out we weren't in danger, but we didn't know that at the time and had no way of knowing it either. The way they were shooting was up towards the road which was silly, and they were just far too close to town to be doing that sort of shit with big bullets (or any rifle really).

We took a couple of the cases and took them back to the cop shop and just to give them a bit more info. We had a car make and colour, and we knew what kind of ammo they were using, so hopefully the police records might be able to match the two up. If so - would be great to tell them that they scared the shit out of two people and next time bugger off further out of town when they want to play bang bangs. AND... don't have your target pointing up near the road you f#cking ding bats.

So - very exciting weekend. I was going up to chill out...
Having said that - it was nice to have some time out of town and in the tent. Though I must say we were a bit put off with Alex after that 'thrill'. Added to that was the experience of sitting in town having a coffee and watching as many cars full of young idiots (I presume local) drove by in shitty old lowered holdens and falcons. Morons. Windows down, drinking beer in the back, shouting out at people etc etc. Hmmm. Maybe next time we camp somewhere different. And somewhere nice that people don't shoot at you would be a really nice touch too.

Work - stressful as hell so I'll keep it slim. All consuming, stress making, vaguely depression making if the stress is not contained. Not flash. I hate this time of the year. Everyone loses their little heads.
Applied for a 'promotion' at work. Keen if it is the job I 'hope' it is, not keen if it turns into the job I 'think' it is. Will wait to see if I get an offer and will work it out from then. But - given how much stress I'm already under, I'll need to be careful in my considerations...