Monday, 28 May 2018

Mowing the Spackman

Under construction: I need to get "its got knobs on it" completed first, and to keep trips in order, this and the next post have been published incomplete. Will return to these when time permits.

April 8 - 14

Well it had been 12 months since my last desert trip and I was longing for a dose of blackfella feet. So, with some time off, I arranged with Warren to get out there and get my desert fix. A mix of some places I had been prior intermixed with some new country I hadn't explored.

The plan was to knock over about 3000 Km's in 7 days with major transport stages on the first and last days getting to and from country.

Some hours later we hit Kalgoorlie for fuel and continued on North, stopping at Menzies for a short break:

It was quite hot, around 39degree's, something I wasn't expecting in early April. But push on we did and we made our first camp just outside of Leonora at a place called Malcolm Dam. A place I have meant to visit a few times prior, but time constraints had stopped me in the past.

What a magnificent place this was, and best of all we had it to our self. Although still very warm at 1730 in the afternoon, after an 850km day it was an amazing sight sitting down with a beer watching the sun go over the horizon on the far side of the lake:

After cooking dinner in the dark, we hung around for a bit and retired to bed. We noted there were a few feral cats around and wondered how that would go through the night. In the end, they posed no issue, but the temperature sure did - we didn't get a lot of sleep that night. Too hot and no breeze.

Up reasonably early, we scored a pretty good sunrise:

We were on the road on day two by 0830. First stop on the agenda was a cache just outside of Malcolm Dam. With a quick find under the belt, we motored onto Laverton for fuel. I have to recommend the pies here at the servo, they are mint. I am told they are made by Miss Maud in Perth, shipped to Laverton in raw form and they are then cooked on site. The pepper steak was to die for. Now on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert, I was hanging to get on out there.

Onto the Great Central Road, we headed East, the plan to knock off a few caches on the way. The first one, just outside of town, an easy find. The next one was at a site known as Giles Breakaway and the scenery here was simply stunning to say the least. Photo's just don't do it justice. To add to that, it would also be a remarkable campsite, even with it's close proximity to Laverton.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the cache here. I should have taken my paperwork, because once we gave up and returned to the car, the clues on the paper would have led me to the right spot. But With a long way to travel, I had to can it in favour of getting to camp at a reasonable hour.

About to leave Giles Breakaway, we hear a truck thundering down the road and this was to be a major inconvenience. Unfortunately a major gold project is now underway out here - The Gruyere Gold project

 - And they are using the GCR as their supply route. Let me assure you, being stuck behind a truck travelling around 85Km/h in extremely dusty conditions, with no chance to overtake for over 100Km's has knobs on it. We were almost at the point of just pulling up for a bit when he turned off on their new private haul road. Thank goodness for that.

What concerns me most is the potential safety issue of a major operation supply route on a well used public piece of gravel road. That can not end well and after being stuck behind this truck for over 100Km's I wont be the only grizzler I'm sure.

Time was now getting away from us. A quick stop at White Cross to show Warren and we hit the GCR again for the David Carnegie Rd. The car was showing it was 43 degrees outside. At the  Carnegie Rd junction, we headed North for the 40 odd Km's to the Breaden Bluff turn off.

Now well into spinifex country, the occasional small dune appearing, I was in my element. Blackfella feet country! The track up was how I remember it when last here back in 2013. Good sandy track, some small sections of corrugation, a washout or two, but overall, very good for an unmaintained desert track.

Turning in for the Bluff, the track at times just lines in the spinifex, rocky and with a fair bit of vegetation. We arrived at the campsite about an hour before sundown, and it was hot. We got to work setting up camp and a well deserved beer. It had been another long day:

Another very hot night ensued, trying to sleep in a swag with no breeze wasn't much fun at all.

Morning came around. A couple of coffee's and I spilled the beans to Warren. Today was my birthday. I couldn't have picked a better place to spend it I reckon. Breaden Bluff, named by Carnegie on his journey up to Halls Creek, after his second in command, Joe Breaden.

After breakfast we ventured over to the breakaways we could see, some 300 odd meters away. navigating your way over the rocks, and through the vegetation, full of golden orb spiders posed a challenge.

Ex TC Kelvin:

Trip Stats:

6 nights under canvas
3164km travelled
385L of fuel used
cost of fuel $611
for an average of 12.17L/100

camp fees $0 - No fee's out here 👍.

The running tally of nights under canvas now stands at 10

Trip vids:

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