It was 1:50am. I know that because I was startled out of a semi-sleeping stupor to the sound of engines. One to be precise. Must be a 4wd, nothing else would get in here. Lights flashed across my tent and swept around the clearing below me. My tent was perched amongst the trees on a bench above the main clearing. Again the bright white light sweeps across me, turning night into day. I jump up, excited at the thought that someone has come to rescue me from my misery. The sudden sleep induced euphoria is soon swept aside by the realisation that they are not here for me. I am not in any distress. Extremely uncomfortable with the tent leaking on me but certainly not in any need of rescue. Then the harsh reality sinks in: at 1:50 in the morning on a rough 4wd track deep in the mountains they can be up to no good. So my initial urge to stick my head out and wave has gone full circle and now I hunker down low in my small tent, feeling very vulnerable. I curse the reflective guy ropes. The engine roars and they circle the clearing. Well the lights all turn away from me. Good, they are going. They completed the 360 degrees and then trained all lights on me! Oh great, target practice time. I lie with my heart beating so loud that my ears throb. The engine roars again and they are gone. For good I hope.
I lie for a long time listening to the wind in the trees and the rain splattering on the tent not inches above me sending a mist of spray each time. Patchy sleep overwhelms me again.