On The QT

Aussie Adventure Day 14

Blogger: Pat Lynch

Day 14 – Getting stuck in the Dry Lake – July 15th

It is a nice, mild, pleasant morning. I am up first and I got the fire going and the water on for tea and washing the wear. One of our punctures is still causing a problem as it went down slightly overnight. Rob pumps it and it will get us by.  We head to the Gorge about 1km away, which we failed to get to yesterday evening. We find Robs path that he made in 1985, it is incredible that it has existed all that time and this is a sign that nobody has been here since. We get to the Gorge by 7.55. It was a 5 minute trip and we park our vehicles and go exploring in the Gorge. The interesting thing about the trip is that it is broken up nicely with foot walking and climbing. The Gorge is incredible and easy to walk. There are lots of large rocks to stand on and progress is swift and good. We find water at the bottom of the creek which is about 2 to 3 ft deep. Its normal level is about 8 ft deep, in like a trapped rock base. Bird life is plentiful and they are suspicious to see us. It is incredible to be the first Irish person every to stand on this part of the world. Anyone that ever came here were with Rob. We find a rock painting which we photograph. This was chiseled carved stone many years ago. All the original Aboriginals were brought in to compounds since 1930 but this stone could be several hundred years old. We leave it exactly where we found it but we did photograph it. We make our way back to our vehicles and arrive at 9am. We are now the furthest away point from Perth on this trip, about 1750km. We are about 600km from the nearest civilised person. No one lived here as there is no water or roads. The summer temperatures go up to 45 degrees. We bush wack our way back from the Gorge and back up Robins trail again.

We drive to the next creek about 2km away and again we go exploring this creek. It is now 9.15am. About 1/2km into the creek, we find an original Aboriginal site under trees and still in tack. A stone is clearly seen that is used for grounding flour and some stones used for sitting on. We trek on about 1km further into the creek which goes further in the creek we were in earlier that day. The high rock on each side of us is magnificent. We find a cave in the rock face and see an original basic painting which we photograph. We have climbed about 300m in height and about 2km from our vehicles. We decide to go back to our vehicles and arrive at 10.30. We have an orange juice instead of morning coffee. Our fridge is acting up and we transfer the perishables into the other vehicles.

We are heading to the Constant Headlands. We bush wack for the next hour or so. It is very tough on the stomach muscles as you are literally being thrown around the vehicle. At 11.34 we stop to check our location and get map readings. Just at the edge of the lake again and we see the remains of water from the last rain. It is salty but camels have got used to drinking it. We now run up the inlet of the side of the salt lake. We stop for lunch at 1pm and had crackers, cheese, tomato and salmon with hot tea which is quickly boiled in a special  type of kettle where small sticks are dripped into the middle of it and it heats the water which is surrounded by the fire. It can be boiled within 3 minutes. It is cloudier than this morning but they are high clouds. This suits me as the extreme sunshine does not suit an Irish man. On we go to the shoreline of the lake.

We now begin to cross a dry lake which is 3 to 4km long. We make great progress until we begin to sink in soft mud. The other vehicles behind us do this also. We fail to go either forward or backwards and we get out to examine the vehicle. Mud everywhere. All the tyres are completely covered. Rob decided to leave down the air on the tyres. A few drops of rain fall on the cars and we reverse back over our track and find a path onto the new track. Rob drives it hard and we head to the shore about 1km away. The ground improves as we get nearer land. It is better to have one vehicle on shore than none. The other vehicles use the same techniques as us and all vehicles arrive back on dry land. A problem solved. All vehicles are re-pumped and we are ready to go again. I see a group of 7 camels in the distance. It is too far away to get some photos. The are the first animals we have seen today. We drive on around the shore of the lake. As we lead Rob gets off the lake onto land as the ground is soft again but it is too late for Nick, he gets bogged in the soft ground and is firmly  stuck in 1 ft of mud. The last vehicle stops before it gets stuck. The 3rd vehicle is used to tow out Nick’s Nisson with towing chains and ropes which are about 100ft long. Both vehicles are connected with walkie talkies like phones with one person on the bank of the lake also connected giving instructions. Within 15 minutes Nick is out. We are now 1 day behind schedule and some places to call to will have to be cut from the trip but this is ok. We have to head inland and cut off a peninsula of the lake and get back on the lake again.

Progress is is slow and we have to head inland as the lake is too soft. By 4.15 we are 14km behind where we should be today and unfortunately it looks like it may rain. Drops are falling on the windscreen. We come across 2 more lots of camels. One group had about 10 camels in the group. A spectacular sight. They have never heard noise and they are as inquisitive about us as we are of them. When we get with 100ft of them they run off. We hit camp time and we find a suitable spot. Cloud cover indicates it is going to rain. It is quite mild. The fire is got going and we all help gather timber. Dinner is prepared of beef stroganoff and tagliatelle and at this stage we are repeating the menu from last week. Some of the guys take extra precautions in the event of it raining. One goes under the rear of his vehicle and the other puts up a 45 degree tent against the front of the same vehicle. He puts his swag then in front of the vehicle under the made shift tent. No stars tonight and it is very warm. I leave the canvas of my sleeping bag open and as I feel too warm. I wake some time during the night to see all the stars above me switched on and I am frozen with the cold. I quickly pull over my canvas and get my head in under the canvas and go back to sleep.

Heading to 24LS and 123LE tomorrow – an exact spot on the map!


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