DAY THREE – FIFIELD
[gmap-embed id=”22″]The day began at 7.30am once again, after rising to another sensational sunrise through my window at the Trundle Pub. Immediately, we set off towards Fifield again, this time heading toward “Area 1” – our designated tenement. The terrain was very different to our sampling areas of yesterday – a lot more trees and bush-like vegetation. There were lots of Big Grey Kangaroos and we even saw a Swamp Wallaby complete with joey in her pouch.
Stopping for a sample, we bush bashed maybe 250 metres into heavy scrub and dense vegetation only to turn around and see a huge Grey roo watching us – he would have only been about 10 metres away. He was HUGE! (Almost as tall as AB!) Thick, stocky build – I can understand the damage these guys can do to crops. But I felt surprisingly special seeing this guy up close and personal. As he thundered off the ground shook with each bounce!
Today’s exploration was with gold and tin in mind, so we were on the search for pink granites. A change in rock indicates a change in what minerals the area holds and different minerals are found in conjunction with gold and tin. There is nothing more fun than smashing rocks with a sledge hammer to find out what it contains in order to ascertain where we should take soil samples!
I learned how to take wet samples from a creekbed using a shovel, sieve and bucket, watching the heavy sediments sink to the bottom and hoping it contains tin! Bagging up stinky samples to get assayed, collecting dry sediment samples to determine what minerals are present in the soil, and bagging and labelling rocks for chemical analysis.
At one roadside stop we found Devonian-period claystones. The Devonian geological period is known as the “Age of Fishes” so we immediately began cracking rocks in the hopes of finding fish fossils. Unfortunately the five minutes allowance went too quickly and we didn’t find any – although I am sure they were there hiding for the next excited geologist to find!
Collecting samples on one of the Fifield tenements, we found three old gold mine shafts. The opening to these shafts were so small I can barely imagine humans fitting down there. One shaft was so deep we couldn’t see the bottom of it. No rehabilitation had been done to the site – they were seriously just left abandoned with wooden supports and frames in situ!
Always keeping a vigilant eye out for wildlife I was very excited to see a huge, black wild pig making a mad dash for the tree boundary on a property. I was very grateful I was in the car paddock bashing at the time! The pig was as big as a cow!
Having collected all our samples for the day we were then able to have some fun searching for ultra-mafic outcrop. Some significant bush bashing with shovel, bucket and hammer in hand resulted in the discovery of the most perfect, beautiful fairy circle of wildflowers and igneous rock outcrop! Sunning ourselves in this magical wonderland was just epic!
Speaking of bush bashing……I have hiked before, and I have hiked in the bush. But I have never seen bush like such that we saw today. There are no vestiges of tracks (other than pig tracks!) and when you are walking through the bush you are zig zagging your way past trees, stumps and rocks. Everywhere you look is similar looking bush terrain with very little sunlight. It is so very easy to lose your direction and I can understand how people get lost and walk in circles. Today was a huge lesson in walking with a shovel over one shoulder, a bucket on the other arm and a compass in hand at all times, always taking note of which direction you are heading and never forgetting where you left the bloody car!
After a hot and dusty day, beers at the Fifield pub were in order, and of course, being the rookie, I became designated driver. After dinner at the Trundle RSL – chinese dinner, no less, where I think EVERY person from Trundle, Fifield and Syerston gathered for a Wednesday chinese dinner (even all the pub staff was there indicating the pub was either closed or chronically understaffed!) – I dragged myself off to bed, so exhausted I forgot to change into my jimmy jams!