Friday, 19 January 2018

Kooked at Kunanalling

22 - 28th October

Well I am some 3 months and 4 trips behind in my blog writeups, so as I sit by the pool here in Bali, (yep, no dust or flies to worry about here), then it's best I get onto updating my stuff hey!

It was always going to be tough. Late October and a trip to the Goldfields. It was probably going to be hot, dusty and full of flies. So Sunday morning I met Warren in Mundaring and off we headed for Coolgardie.

Doing the long stretch between Southern Cross and Coolgardie, I couldn't believe my luck - yep more bloody wide loads

But we got around them pretty easily and plugged on. It looked like lots of rain was falling to the North and South of the highway, but on the highway, apart from a small shower, we seemed to miss it all. That said, there was quite a bit of water on the road, so we only just missed it.

It seemed like forever, but we finally hit Coolgardie, then headed North to a spot I had checked out on tenegraph before we left. Travelling up the Coolgardie North Road, you could hear half the road surface beIng transplated to the side of the vehicle. It was certainly a bit slushy and slippery. But we found out turn off for our predetermined camp.

Unfortunately, Google Earth in this part of the world isn't real current. What looked to be lightly vegetated country ended up being the opposite. It was heavilly wooded and this in itself posed some issues just getting up the track to out camp. As it was, I had to chainsaw a few offending bits out of the way. Then to make matters worse, we couldn't get up the trackTo our camp due to vegetation. So we spied a small spot that we thought we could all fit into and set to work getting camp set up for the week.

But set up we did and we had a quiet night by the fire, ready for some prospecting in the morning.

Well best laid plans go astray. After a very easy morning, stuffing around with coffee, then eventually some breakfast, Warren and myself sat under a tree in the shade gas bagging for quite a while. Warren and myself had only met for the first time up at Mundaring on the way here, so we had some stuff to chat about.

My mate Steve was coming to spend the week with us today. He was coming from Bunbury. I was just hoping he could navigate his way to our camp. By about lunchtime, I was in the couldn't be arsed in pulling out the detector mode, so Warren and myself cracked a beer and talked some more BS. About 1400 I suggested to Warren we should hike the 2km's out to the main road to see if we can get Steve on the phone - we had no coverage at camp. I was a bit worried Steve might not be real keen on abusing his new 200 series down the tight bush track.

Well it seemes like no time had passed, but we got out to the main road and found we did have some coverage.

With some luck, we got a few broken calls into Steve and let him know both where we were and what to expect. So Warren and myself being out of beer, we hiked back to camp and chilled out until Steve arrived:

Late afternoon Steve arrived and we discussed how all 3 of us would fit into camp. I moved over so Steve had somewhere to put his gazebo. Although I Carried one with me, with the limited space we had to play with, it just seemed easier for me to use the awning instead.

An awesome night by the bush tele, we retired for the prospect of some yellow in the morning.

Tuesday morning arrives and the ritual of stuffing around with coffee and breakfast takes place yet again. Steve is keen as mustard to get his 5000 on the ground and is into it well before myself. Warren, not being a prospector per'se became Steve's pick boy.

I wasn't real happy with the look of the ground. It consisted of soft loamy top soil, obviously deposited In times of heavy water flow. There was no rock, quartz/ironstone whatever to speak off and to be perfectly honest, it wasnt auiferous in my uneducated mind. But I pulled the 4500 out of the bag and gave it a crack.

I suppose the one advantage of this ground was the lack of rubbish to be found. Every now and then we found evidence of old cattle mens camps, broken bottles and bully beef cans, but they were few. Not like a lot of places where metalic junk keeps you busy all day.  We did stumble across one little pit and the only piece of quartz found so far. Discarding the large lump as nothing of worth, Steve ran the 5000 over it and it gave off a slight bastard, that was mine!

So some time was spent busting it up, but no colour was to be found. Obviously just mineralisation of some description.

The surrounds of the pit was obviously a large camp at some stage. A railway Used to run through here, maybe the camp wasn't From cattlemen, but gangers??? anyway, we found a few old Bits of interesting stuff:

So it was getting close to lunch and we headed back to camp where I had the find of the trip; an old tag that once belonged to a Dodge trayback truck:

What a piece of history that was, along with a couple of other small finds:

Once home I did some digging on Winterbottoms. I found a superb photo of their premises thanks to the WA Museum:

And a small piece from RACWA that's worth repeating:

After lunch, I couldn't be arsed, so I just followed Steve and Warren around. I think I had set myself to believe the ground was useless so I couldn't see the point dragging the detector around. Even just walking around, I was struggling, so I decided to head back to camp for a bit of a clean up. feeling a million bucks after a shower, I went downhill later that afternoon and evening. I just felt lethargic as hell and sat with my head in my hands. About 2000, I wandered off to bed without dinner, hoping I could sleep off whatever lurgy was making me feel pretty ordinary.

Felling a little better on Wednesday morning, after the coffee ritual, we headed out with detectors in tow. A couple of hours on the ground and we all came to the descision we were wasting our time here. So I checked my maps and found I had some ground marked a bit further out near Ora Banda. At about 1100, we decided to break camp and shift for different ground.

Via the old Kunanalling Hotel:

Finding a track heading up to the patch, we drove around a bit and found a suitable place to park up. The ground here looking far more promising: quartz and ironstone littered the ground. Salt and pepper - yeah!

Thursday morning dawned and I was now feeling much better. Moving camp on the Wednesday was hard work I tell you.

Running the detectors over the ground for a few hours, we returned to camp empty handed. The wind was starting to pick up, and the longer we sat in camp, the worse it got. It got to the point it was useless to go out again. It got so bad, I couldn't even cook dinner, so I had bickies and dip for sustenance. You have to see the vid to understand just how bad it really was. Another day written off.

Friday dawned and the wind had finally abated, somehow we all survived the night with little damage - I still cant believe my awning withstood the pace. Little did Warren know, but I knew today was Warren's 65th birthday - so Steve and myself went over and gave him 65 all the bests. So our last day on the ground and we got the detectors swinging. Coming back to camp empty handed (as per usual), we collected timber. Tonight was going to be special. A baked dinner from the camp oven for Warrens birthday.

And a brilliant dinner it turned out to be too. Warren even supplied apple pie for desert.

Saturday morning dawned. We were sort of over it by now, it had been a very unproductive trip. Up early, packed and back on the road for home, Warren and myself said goodbye to Steve at Merriden, and Warren and myself parted company in Midland.

Whilst it was not as planned, I'm sure we all enjoyed the company and a week in the bush. This prospecting business still eludes me......Grrrrr.

Trip Stats:

6 nights under canvas
1408km travelled
176L fuel used
for an average of  12.5 L/100Km
cost of fuel $228
9.5L of water used
17 beers, 1 cask of red and 5 cans of lemon soft drink consumed
camp fees nil

With an overnighter at Yanchep (not reported) and Sandy Cape in the last entry, the nights under canvas tally stands at 36.

And the trip vids:

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