[First filed: Jan 7, 2011 @ 12:04]
I occasionally like to escape the madness of the city that is Canberra by heading bush. I have been known to head as far south as the Snowies in summer for a week or so to escape the heat. Mostly though, due to fuel costs I stay nearby.
This week I headed out to Namadgi to rest up. I decided to do a bit of amateur astronomy using my telescope. Now this telescope cost me a pretty penny some years ago, and is one of the most expensive things I own, or it was up until Wednesday night. On Wednesday I wandered into the national park, set up telescope, a rug and sleeping bag then ate a basic cold dinner as I waited for the sun to go down. It wasn’t long after sunset that I first heard some dingos howling in the distance. I didn’t think much of it, as I’ve heard that before.
Less than an hour after sun down, as I was just getting in some observations, I was attacked by a pack of wild dogs. I was very lucky that I heard them coming. One barked probably a couple of seconds before they came in. I was just able to grab my torch and flash it towards them when three dogs rushed at me and started to try nip my legs.
Instinct took over with me trying to kick back at them. I wasn’t about to let a bunch of wild dogs take me down. Thoughts of the pain of being eaten alive pumped the adrenaline into me and I spun around yelling and kicking like mad. But it wasn’t enough. The cunning bastards encircled me and started to bite at my legs. I had on thick trousers, so no damage was done at first. I was very worried about what would happen if they got me on the ground though where they could get at exposed skin.
I looked around for a weapon, spotted my telescope with it’s big tripod legs and grabbed it. For probably a fraction of a second I thought “I can’t use this, I’ll damage it.” Then another of the dogs, a little terrier type thing that honestly looked harmless until it bit me, bit me again. I didn’t need more prompting. In a frenzy of defence I swung my telescope and tripod legs at the three dogs which had been joined by a fourth. I began to realise I was quite literally fighting for my life. I got in some solid hits and kicks and the dogs began to retreat. It seemed like ages, but was probably less than a minute later that they all ran off.
My telescope was, and still is a mess. The barrel has all been squashed in, it is barely recognisable. One of the three tripod legs has been broken off. The mounting arm, a massive bit of metal has broken and it all looks kind of unhappy now. Alas, my poor telescope was destroyed by wild dogs. I admit that it had been taking up too much space in my van, but still, it wasn’t the way I wanted it to go.
This attack took place in Rendezvous valley, probably less than 2 km from the Gudgenby homestead. So folks, be careful of wild dogs in Namadgi. Carry a stout stick with you at all times. Keep an eye on what is following you, as I’ve had wild dogs follow me before. And to the idiots that dump dogs, may they follow you home and eat you for dinner!
Also, does any optical expert want to trade a beaten up telescope for something smaller, like a cheap set of binoculars?
[ED – Any chance of a photo of the telescope?]
UPDATE: Now with a picture of the dog-smiting telescope.