Thursday, 15 February 2018

Wandering down to the Warren

18-23rd November

Well after being cooked at Kunanalling, Warren decided he hadn't had enough of me and wanted to join in the fun of another 6 days away. Being November, going South was the only option. Leo also took the opportunity to get one night in with us and see some bits of the south West he hadn't seen before.

So I decided we would head down to Augusta, then follow the coast east from there. Where we ended up, we ended up. And seeing we had no real plan in place, I thought I may as well get some caching in too. Both Warren and leo hadn't seen what it was all about, so it was a good thing to show them as well.

Meeting at the "Ice Cream Cones" on Forrest highway,  I quickly showed the boys what this geocaching thing was about. A tricky little cache, Warren actually found how to open this hide. Not a bad effort for a first timer.

Slowly making our way South, stopping off at some pre saved caches filled in the day quite well. I picked up a couple of trackables and geo coins to be moved on later in the trip

Pretty sad, when we got to Fergus the Bull, he was having an ear replaced. Apparently, some of the lower IQ people in our society think its a great game to steal his horns, break his ears or just otherwise be a dick.

Some more caching whilst heading South and we arrived in Dunsborough. And here I came up with a good thought - Who wants an ice cream at Simmo's?

Well we all do. It was reasonably warm, we had time up our sleeve, so why not. It had been years since I had been there, so I went with the old favourite : A Liquorish ice-cream. Sounds terrible hey, but wait till you taste it:

From there we headed out towards Yallingup. A cache near here sounded interesting and I was hoping it might provide a camp for the night. Unfortunately it didn't. The South west corner here is absolutely magnificent. Brilliant coast, Wineries and breweries galore, a real tourist mecca. The Achilles heal is the lack of camping facilities. There is very little unless you want to spend +$30 per night in some commercial venture.

So out with the maps and we decided to head to Cranebrake Pool. I said it will probably be busy and seeing its a small place, we may not get in. Only one way to find out I guess.

So on the way, we come across more evidence of some of the diminished gene pool in the area. This thing was still smoking and hot. It hadn't been torched much before hand. A great way to find your pride and joy hey.

Upon arrival, as suspected, all sites were taken and it appeared like bogan central. So that was a win. We made our way to the overflow area and found we had it to ourself. Awesome. A pleasant quiet night was had by all.

Day 2 and after breakfast, Leo hit the road for home, Warren and myself headed further south.

More caches along the way took us to some obscure sites, this fire tower, we wouldn't have known about otherwise:

Warren actually found the cache before I had even got out the car. Mind you, it was pretty exposed, but I guess with a days training up his sleeve, he was well on the way to becoming level: Expert in geocaching.

Then slowly meandering our way further South, we stopped in at Margaret River falls. A pretty little place, but the cache here had us stumped. Mind you, the tree cover didn't help with the location accuracy of the GPS.

And eventually we made Augusta. Cape Leeuwin in the background:

Checking out the new marina, and wasting a couple of hours getting some more geocaching tally's we headed for Alexandra bridge. A pretty little place it is too, mind you, I would hate to have to rely on solar here, the tree canopy making an awesome shaded spot to camp.

Just after dinner, glass of red in hand, Warren and myself were sitting under my awning. I hear a noise above and felt wet. Bloody possums: Grrr. It had decided to piss all over my awning and I copped its spray...Grrrr. Lucky, it was only a light shower.

However later on, the furry bag of piss dumped a whole bucket load on my awning. I couldn't believe so much fur could hold so much liquid. Eventually it buggered off in the tree canopy to annoy some other poor hapless bastard. It didn't return for the rest of  night, thank goodness.

Out with the nanopresso in the morning, I made myself and a fellow camper a good brew:

It was a late start today, getting underway about 1030. We didn't have far to travel, only about 120 odd Km's, so it was nice getting a late start in. the target for today, Black Point. I knew it was a bit of a sandy track in, and this could slow us down, but we should arrive in plenty of time for camp.

And a slow trip in it was, but I'm sure Warren was loving it. Arriving at Black point about 1430, the weather had taken a turn and it wasn't looking great. We hung around Surfers cove for a bit to see what the weather was going to do. A few light showers passed and an hour or so later we drove to the other side: Stepping Stones. There was a cache about 1.5Km's hike up the beach, but the weather still looked very daunting, so I decided to leave this cache for another day

We took a look around both campgrounds: no one was here: And decided on the Seal Cove site. It had some timber left behind from a previous group, so that will come in handy. It also allowed us to have the campfire Olympics:

A nice night ensued around a cosy fire. Unfortunately a couple of hours in, the heavens opened up. We retreated under the awnings until it stopped, then came back out and finished the fire off - with another glass of red no doubt.

Morning dawned nice and sunny. The bad weather now gone:

My coffee clobber seems to grow every trip:

I thought I should take Warren to lake jasper seeing as we are passing by. But first I conned him down to jasper beach:

Getting down and on the beach wasn't a problem, but warren started to worry when I couldn't get off the beach. A bit more adjustment of tyre pressures and I was up on the second attempt. Warren took 2 goes too.

From there we headed out to lone karri beach. Stuffed if I know where the karri is:

And now having no plan on where we are to both travel and stay, we ventured into lake Jasper. There is bugger all camp spots here now, due to all the anti-social behaviour of previous years, Dpaw in their wisdom have made it low key, low volume.

It was only about 1300, a bit early to camp. So we had some lunch and pushed on. Some time later, bac on the blacktop, we ventured into a nice little place: Snottygobble campground. Now well later in the afternoon, timing was just right to make this out camp for the evening. A nice little fire in the fire ring topped it off.

For our last day on the ground, we just went exploring. No plans had been laid, we would just see where we ended up. First stop being Beedelup Falls where I managed to pick up another 2 caches:

From there we headed out to Lake Yeagerup and another cache I could not find:

And seeing we were in Yeagerup, it was time to hit the dunes and head for Yeagerup beach:

On the way out we took a back road for yet another cache:

It was a killer. In open shoes, peeling back vegetation in true tiger snake country. I almost quit 20m from the cache, it got that bad. But I couldn't let it go and soon enough, determination paid off with another find:

From there we headed to Drafty's camp. There was no sites available that was suitable for our set ups. I just don't get Dpaw. Lots these days have camper trailers and most Dpaw sites you go to are for tent based camping - they are either very small or you have to walk your gear in. No room for either camper trailers or a vehicle with an awning. Of course, when we arrived at Drafty's, the only couple of spots out of all the sites in the place suitable for us were taken.

So we ventured further on to Warren campsite. Again all the sites too small and no room for us. However, the carpark for river access had the room. With no "no camping" signage, we took the opportunity and set up or the night.

Here we met Verena, a German cycling across the world. Telling us her tales of cycling the Gibb River Road, she earnt our respect. What a champion. Warren and myself had another awesome little campfire to sit by tonight.

Unfortunately morning came around too quick. Some coffee and a last chat with Verena, and we were on the way for home. It had been a great 6 days and I thank Warren for being there.

Trip Stats:

5 nights under canvas
1153km travelled
144L fuel used
for an average of  12.5 L/100Km
cost of fuel $195
camp fees $42

The running tally of nights under canvas now stands at 41

And the trip vids below:

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: