b'consider using this campground. Wewould have chopped up the areadriving in and out. There is no toilet herebut for those who are self-sufficient itwould be a lovely place to camp. A fewdays could be spent exploring thesprings area and watching the localbirdlife. Todays finish line was theMilmed Rock Track intersection. From Broken Bucket we moved ourbase camp to Big Billy Bore camp-ground. This is opposite Big Billy Bore,sunk in 1912 and still providing a nicewatered area for wildlife. Again, FFMVwere checking the campground, whichhas recently been upgraded and haswheelchair access toilet, shelteredbarbeque area and on top of thehighest dune a platform giving 360views of the surrounding area.By day three I had some serious legpain, especially when going down hills.Most of the time the Murrayville Track can be easily traversed by 2WDThere areno mountains to climb in theunless it rains.Big Desert but in the northern partsthere are many smaller dunes. I hadThere are three designated camping garden still exist and can be found on even for the most part forgotten that myareas along the Murrayville Track. We the southern edge of the desert.face still hurt and that I could only eatused two of these as base camps, Winter skies are often a glorious blue in mushy food. My original plan includedBroken Bucket and Big Billy. Forest Fire our area, and seem even more so when riding a pushbike south on the returnManagement Vic (FFMV) regularly the horizon is dark green every way you journey but decisions needed to bechecked the campgrounds while we look. It has rained in the past few days made on what was sensible and whatwere there, keeping them spotless and and the clay topped track is either slip- was foolhardy. My knee was puffy andthe toilet facilities well stocked.pery or sticky to walk on. At one stage I hot to touch. I couldnt even manage toDay 1 of the walk was pretty easy as the slid along the clay and my knee went ride the bike comfortably in the camp-Netting Fence is only four kilometres clonk in the way that dodgy knees seem ground and knew that if I fell while onfrom Broken Bucket campground.to do. Graeme does not have dodgy the road, I could very easily breakThere are a couple of Mallee fowl that knees and has no comprehension of the bones, specifically my pelvis, which didcan often be seen at Broken Bucket, but medical term my knee just went clonk. not seem appealing. I reluctantlynot this time. They have no fear of It was a little painful but still seemed to abandoned the bike ride idea.campers and will wander right through move okay so we headed on. My walking buddy reminded me that Iyour camp, on their way to wherever It was frosty when we were ferried to the had only ever said that I was going toMallee fowl go in their spare time. Over Chinamans Well Track intersection to walk The Murrayville Track, and that thethe years I have looked for their mound begin day two. The banksia is just start- track refers to the part of the roadwithout successwhich is probably a ing to flower and there were quite a few through the desert. If we ended the walkgood thing as it means it must be well commercial bee hives on the side of the at the northern boundary, we wouldaway from traffic. track. Bees are usually pretty tolerant of have completed The Track and wouldOn day two we were joined by others people and go about their business. But avoid a 13 kilometre walk on hardwho heard we were camping and wanted not these bees. We all had bees in our sealed roads into town. This seemedto come along. Fortunately, there is hair at some stage and I copped a sting like an excellent compromise. plenty of space in the desert to observe to the face. This provided good life That night I limped up the nearby dunesocial distancing. Todays stage is from balancethe pain from my swelling to the viewing platform. The track is wellBroken Bucket to Chinamans Well face distracted me from the pain from marked with reflectors, and if you areTrack. Like the Netting Fence Im vague my knee.ever camping at Big Billy, it is worth theon the details of the origin of this track We passed the campsite at The 600m trek. Wow! During the day you getbut the remains of the well and the Springs. This is much smaller and an uninterrupted view of the landscapecleared area that was once a market because there has been rain, we didnt but at night the view of the stars wasjust incredible. I live in big sky countryThe finish line, northern edge of the so a view of the stars has to be prettyBig Desert.spectacular to impress meand I wasimpressed. A clear winter night and aview like you are lying in the bottom of asnow dome. It made up for the fact thatI had come up here to send a text to myfamily to come and pick me up the fol-lowing day. On the platform, if you holdyour phone in the right direction, witharm outstretched you can just getenough mobile service for texts. Sunset from Big Billy Campground Jo UssingWESTPRINTTRACKWATCH SEPTEMBER 2020 23'