DANGER: POTENTIAL FALLING BRANCHES (OR WHOLE BLOODY TREE!!)
We saw these signs warning about falling trees the other day at a beautiful bush camp we stayed at. It's the first time we've seen signs warning people of the risk, and it's definitely a good reminder.
But personally we don't need a sign to remind us to be wary of where we choose to set up camp - we've always been pretty cautious about camping under/around trees, and one night up at Cape York, we had a terrifying experience that reminded us exactly why!
We were camping at the infamous Gunshot Creek on the overland tele track. We planned to spend a couple of nights there in the hopes we'd see at least one person crazy enough to throw their car over Gunshot.
We pulled into the campsite and drove around looking for the perfect spot. We had plenty of choice because we were the only ones there. We considered one particular site for a bit, but then ended up choosing the spot next to it instead. Then later on in the day another family pulled up, also in a camper trailer, and set up camp in the clearing we'd been considering.
We all had a good old chat, as you do, and learned that this family was travelling with their neighbour from home, who was tagging along in his own vehicle and sleeping in his swag. We also learned their camper wasn't quite as watertight as ours- when they went through the Scrubby Creek crossing the water had all flooded in through the seals on their camper!
Anyway we all turned in for the night and went off to sleep with some difficulty as it was an extremely hot airless night, without even a hint of wind.
Then sudddenly at about 3am we were all woken to the terrifying and unmistakable sound of a large tree cracking through. Well I have never moved so fast in my life!! I reckon I was up and out of bed before I was even awake, and I just insinctively threw myself on top of the kid. Meanwhile the sound of a huge tree crashing to the ground VERY close by caused my heart to just about leap out of my chest!
We quickly realised that the three of us were ok, and our tent was intact. But we suddenly remembered the other family! So we grabbed our torches, and rushed over to check, yelling out to see if they were ok.
And as you can see in the photo, this is what we found in the dead of the night. A HUGE tree that had come down within about a metre of the swag, and only a few metres from both the camper trailers. And there we all were, at 3am, in various states of undress as a result of the stinking hot weather & the sudden tent exodus, just looking at each other in complete disbelief not only that this had happened, but that no body had been hurt!
Meanwhile old mate in the swag (who'd had a few drinks it must be said) finally popped his head out of the canvas wondering what the fuss was. He'd just about slept through the whole thing!
Needless to say not much further sleep was had that evening after that little adrenaline rush, and we were so spooked by the whole event we ended up packing up without staying any more nights!
All I can say is thank god that tree fell in the direction it did or this story would be very different...
And for the record we did find a bloke who was crazy enough to throw his car over Gunshot! If you haven't seen it you can check out the video below