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Wilderness under the stars


lachlan hurrell

“Lachy would you like to be helicoptered in for a nights camping at the source of the Murray River with a couple of inspiring and passionate scientists?” Without a whisper of hesitation my eyes lit up and I ran to my room to pack a small bag with essentials for a night out under the stars high in the mountains. I loaded up the helicopter with scientists Julian and Richard from the Melbourne Museum and their infectious laughter and enthusiasm for these creatures called caddisflies began to sink into my skin. As the chopper roared to life and climbed high over the mountains and wilderness of the alpine forests my thoughts drifted to these small aquatic insects. I imagined being a Caddisfly, spending most of my life in the rocky bottoms of streams, the current gushing past me, building my silken traps underwater to capture prey. Towards the end of my life my body would change form, then I’d leave the comfort of the stream and emerge for a day or two, to fly around in groups, dancing above the flowing streams in search of a mate.

I was interrupted from my day dreaming by the Pilot turning hard over a great gorge and I saw small waterfalls, pools and the winding stream that later forms the mighty Murray River down on the flats. We unpacked and I watched the chopper disappear into the distance, as I started to set up camp I looked over at the two professors excitedly unpacking their contraptions. Richard, fit as a fiddle from a long life of adventures, hopped into waders whilst Julian started setting up what looked like a futuristic alien signalling device…… What surprises did the trip in the wilderness bring?