13/09/15 Our next travel leg took us from Murray Downs Station along the Stuart Highway through Barrow Creek and the small community of Ti-Tree, and east on the Plenty Highway to Gemtree. Starting at 10:00am and finishing at 5:00pm, it was a long day for us, although we weren’t travelling all that time. Along the way, we’d pulled in at the Barrow Creek Telegraph Station for a look around the historical site, and at Ti-Tree for fuel and lunch and a catch-up phone call home while in cell range.Gemtree to settle in to a couple of quiet drinks beside the van as the sun went down.
The next day had an early start. We were up and heading on a tagalong fossicking tour to a garnet field tucked away in the scrub about 30kms east along the Plenty. Loaded with four sieves, a shovel, a pick, wash bowl and twenty litre container of water (no donkey, though; that was me), we spent three hours digging for the elusive garnets in a lunar landscape pock-marked with hope holes. We certainly came down with a bad case of Gem Fever and were the last to leave, with a reasonable haul for our efforts.
Most of the garnets were only good for Show and Tell, but about ten or so were of a size and quality suitable for cutting and mounting. It was a great experience, and we could certainly appreciate how some people get so caught up in fossicking as a hobby or lifestyle. “Just one more sieve load, then we’ll finish up.” But when you look down and see a garnet lying there in the bottom of the hole, the Gem Fever takes hold again.
The last day at Gemtree was a rest day, reading and watching movies and generally relaxing.
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” – Oscar Wild