So with the 2021 Knot Dragon Festival (still just a camping trip) failing to go ahead due to severe weather and massive flooding, there was also a fair chance of the same thing happening to the 2022 trip out. Fortunately we took the chance and ended up winning; the weather was amazing, flood waters had gone down and BOM was proved wrong once again.
This year’s turnout was very low, despite the weekend being chosen to fit in with everyone’s schedules. Everyone seemed to get sick or have work or carer duties this weekend, which in fairness is fairly typical when trying to organise any out-of-town event. We did have some other friends with their small child join us for one night as well, so Ollie had a mate to hang out with.
We set out after Ready Steady Go (golf!?), around 12pm. The van was fairly simple to pack up with Rosie doing all the sorting, organising, food prep and hard work the day before (thanks babe!). The trip down to Wee Jasper was fairly uneventful, although the road did have the same number of dangerous potholes as most of the roads in NSW and Canberra. Still, we navigated them pretty well and managed to get to Micalong Creek around 2pm.
We found the campsite to be fairly empty overall, compared to previous trips at this time of year. BOM’s (incorrect) forecast for thunderstorms probably had something to do with this. We found a decent sized spot on some flat ground right next to the creek and started to set up.
Ollie helped by heading off down the road on his bike, letting us get on with setting up the tent and awning. Once set up we chopped some wood, knowing that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea after more beers later that night, and settled down to chill out.
Rosie had brought some new toys for Ollie in a stroke of genius – he played with them for hours by himself, letting us soak up some sun and sink some drinks.
We gave Ollie a go with some basic binoculars we found in our packing gear. He loved it, but seemed to prefer looking the wrong way through them so that things were far away instead.
Elle was the first to arrive – sleeping in your car means much less set up, so she was done and drink in hand almost immediately. Casey arrived soon after with his van – again, much less setup and bother. The original Dragon Dreaming crew were back, albeit in a much more low-key way.
Lee-Ann, Ben and Owen arrived around 7pm, still with plenty of light to set up their tent. We’ve camped with them before and had a great time, so it was good to see them come out again. They’ve got a small but effective setup, and they had bought a little centre-console fridge and battery for its first test run this trip.
We got a fire going as the sun was setting and let the two kids burn marshmallows on it for a while. Dinner that night was fajitas, prepared the day before and very simple to cook and serve. Ollie had sausages, as per usual while camping.
After that we kept drinking and putting wood on the fire as necessary. The little creek was roaring with the extra water so we could have some music turned up as well without disturbing nearby campers. The kids went to bed pretty easy – Ollie fell asleep in front of his tablet in the tent.
That night wasn’t great for either of us. My mattress slowly deflated overnight. It’s foam filled, so it wasn’t the worst platform, but my weight meant I could feel the ground when on my side. Rosie had a small child rudely jump into her sleeping bag in the middle of the night, and then proceeded to kick and shove throughout the night. So we were all up and about at 7pm. Can’t same the same for the other campers – Elle and Casey came out only after 9.30-10am! Must be nice.
That morning was fairly quiet, with the boys alternating between sharing toys nicely and crying because the other had the toy they wanted right this second. I rigged up some extra shade and shelter if the rains forecast came. It wasn’t pretty, but it did the job.
Lee-Ann’s little battery pack didn’t seem like it had been up the job of keeping the fridge cold overnight. We played around with a few settings, as it was possible that the fridges low voltage cutout was activating when the fridge activated, prematurely stopping power. We weren’t able to fix up though as the manuals weren’t there, so we just ended up plugged the little fridge into our van to keep things cold for the rest of the day. The van didn’t mind three fridges running off it despite the often overcast weather that day.
We ended up going for a bit of a walk up to the waterfall upstream. We didn’t make it the whole way – Ollie wanted to turn back almost immediately – but we did go far enough to notice a small red-bellied black snake sunning itself on the grass next to the road. After ticking it off a little too much by just being in the general area, it moved away and so did we. On our way back we didn’t spot the snake anymore, which was both good and bad considering how close to our campsite it was originally!
Lee-Ann, Owen and Ben headed off that afternoon after packing up. We ended up having a very nice cheese platter in the shade of my newly enlarged (but sad looking) awning.
That’s how we spent most of the afternoon, drinking in the sunshine. Rosie and Casey both managed a dip in the freezing creek, but all the rest of us managed was a light paddle in the shallow water. The water was very cold this trip.
Dinner that night was some sausages and a few more fajitas. We did have pasta ready to cook, but we’d been eating cheese all day so there wasn’t a big incentive to start cooking. Rosie went to be early that night, with the rest of us crashing out around 10pm. It’s hard work drinking and talking nonsense all day in the warm sun. Just as we ended up in bed it started to lightly rain. I’d managed to ensure that everything was tucked away and tied down just in case. The rain persisted most of the night, with some thunder and lightning around 8am being the worst of it. Some water managed to seep through the floor into the tent, not a huge amount but enough to make us consider camping options that don’t involve laying on the floor.
That morning, with the light drizzle going on, we packed up the van fairly quickly. As with our Boys Trip to the Coast any wet gear gets stuffed into a black garbage bag for hanging out when we get home – it actually makes packing things up quicker. Ollie again helped by staying in the van watching his tablet and letting us do all the work.
We were ready to head off at around 9am. The rain proved useful when doing the washing up. Heading back to Canberra it was raining off and on the entire time. There seemed to be less potholes on the way back though, for some reason. No issues getting back home after a great weekend away.
A big thanks to our friends that were able to make it on this trip.