Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 24 no more dunes

Day 24 CSR
Only minus 2 this morning! Another light icey coating on things left out. We set off about 8.45, after we had transferred fuel across from the big tank. We now have enough in the normal tank to get to Wiluna, where everyone we have met says the fuel is really cheap. Our first stop was well 11, Goodwin Soak. This is where the Australian Geographic sign a Notice to Travelers has been erected. It was just brand new in 1994 but looking quite old and faded now. Some brainiac has also managed to drive into the sign and bend the support post. On you-tube there is a video of Aboriginal rangers testing the water, finding that the water in the soak is better than the water in the well, but only just. The soak is pretty manky at the moment, it would take a lot of cleaning out to become drinkable. Not much left of this well, so we kept heading south to well 10. This was known by the drovers as the lucky well, as it meant they were clear of the worst of the sand dune country, and back into station country.  On the way to well 10 we stopped and climbed McConkey hill. We walked this little hill last time we were here, and thought it would be nice to do it again. Someone has built a big cairn on the next hill across, so after scrambling up the boulders to the summit, we walked across to find out if it was a monument to anyone. The rock cairn is in good nick, but the wooden part of the cairn has been wrecked, so we are none the wiser as to what it is about. Smoko at the base of the hill, and back on the track. We met a couple of people at well 10 traveling south, they were waiting for the rest of their group, so we kept moving.  There is a sign at the border of Glenayle station, asking you not to camp within 1 km of windmills. This is the first sign of civilization we have seen not being a direction sign to the CSR. Peter Vernon has also erected a sign wishing everyone  a safe trip.  Well 9 is just as we remember it, a cattle yard surrounded by a rocky plain, spikey trees and cattle all standing around. The well is actually running at the moment, and there were thousands of finches and pigeons flitting down for a drink.  We walked over to the actual well which was being guarded by a very big brown bull, luckily very placid. We also checked out the 'fort' built by the Forrest party to protect themselves from hostile locals when they were here in 1874. The fort is a pile of rocks, but it is easy to imagine the fear felt on both sides during this encounter.  From the 'fort' the ridge that the tribe assembled on before attacking could be easily seen. We stopped for lunch in a grove of bloodwood trees, much to the chagrin of a young bull who would have preferred we moved somewhere else. A vehicle coming along the track moved him on, leaving us in peace. Well 8 is derelict, dusty and not very photogenic, so we decided to make a dash for Well 6.  At well 7, we met a very friendly group from NSW and QLD traveling north. We chatted for a while, learning that one of them is from Kurrajong, our old stomping ground in Sydney, and another who knows people who went to the same high school at the same time we did! Well 7 is much as we remember, derelict, but the trees are much bigger.  The run to well 6 through the afternoon sun was spectacular, the spinifex lit from behind and the Ingelbong hills providing scenic relief. The track was very slow in parts, following the clay pans, until the more open country further south. We did encounter one last sand dune, a little one easily over in 2WD, but a fitting farewell to the sand dunes, or a welcome of what is to come if you are going the other way! Well 6 is as beautiful as we remember, and amazingly , we have it to ourselves again. We set up quickly in the fading light and took some photos of the well, and the beautiful white gum trees with their branches stretching over the camp ground. We also set up a star trail photo of the well.  A mouse provided us entertainment by trapping himself in the water bucket.  Getting very cold tonight, will be very chilly tomorrow morning.

Well 11

McConkey Hill

North of Well 10

Well 6 camp site

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