A Saturday adventure...........................

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 22:32
ThreadID: 24183 Views:1906 Replies:2 FollowUps:7
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Every time I come to Alice Springs my mate Bill finds time to take a day off. He works most Saturdays but today was that day off. Then we have to find somewhere new to go. Have run out of places having lived here for some years a time ago, but I suggested we go and take another look at Fish Hole Gorge in the Chewings Range, about 90km west of Alice. The gorge lies within the West Macdonnell Range National Park and also just outside the Old Owen Springs pastoral lease which has been taken over by NT Parks and Wildlife. This gorge also lies in the headwaters of Ellery Creek.

We were surprised to find no locked gates, in fact no gates at all as we made our way along the washed out track. Years ago I had tried to access Fish Hole but had gotten hung up in the creek on some rocks and after a tirade from the handbrake managed to turn around and limp home.

This time we found a newer track heading in towards the creek and some fresh human footprints. This track had been obviously put in by the rangers as they had to access the creek to shoot feral cattle still resident in the NP(some smelly dead steers attest to that) . But their vehicle tracks stopped in the creek. My mate Bill went on ahead on foot and reported back via radio that he thought progress was possible. Placement of the wheels in the right spot and desperately trying to miss jagged rocks and wood stakes we made 2km progress up the gorge in 2 hours.

Then we found a faint track which had obviously been put in by the pastoralists who farmed on the other side of the range. But is has been many years since that track was used. We lost the track several times and had to search hard for it. The GQ sustained a host of new scratches and I will have to do more work on the mudflaps again!

My Raster Maps show a track going through the gorge but I thought that these tracks must by now be non existent. We made slow progress using Oziexplorer to guide us along the way. The 35km through the scrub and the gorge and then over the range took 6 hours. There were two open barriers which had been put in by others to stop progress along the track but they are now rusting away. After that we were on easy street taking the track along the base of the range. This track is well used in places by the pastoralists and in other places the track was barely distinct. There are numerous washouts which caught one unawares and some heavy braking was needed on occassions. Along the way we were also able to access Painter Springs which has two maginificent date palms growing there on the side of a rise. The spring is dry at present but will no doubt flow again when the good rains come.

We accessed the Tanami Road via a bit of cross country as our track had evaporated, about 7km from the Stuart Hwy and from there it was a smooth 28km run back in to the Alice.

Once again the GQ proved to be a capable off roader.

What has surprised me the most is the the good run that I am getting out of my Cooper STT's. I have taken them over some horrific country and they have performed very well. On one tyre I have decimated the "R" in Discoverer. Funny though, the tyre is white underneath. Thought all tyres were black all over :o)

Tomorrow is clean up day, tighten loose stuff, pack the truck and head for Queensland and Birdsville on Monday.
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Reply By: Lone Wolf - Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 22:48

Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 22:48
"On one tyre I have decimated the "R" in Discoverer. "

Don't worry...

It's when you decimate the "e" as well, and the scar left behind sort of resembles a "y", that's when you need to start praying...
AnswerID: 117473

Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 22:59

Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 22:59
Hahahahahahahahaha..............
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Follow Up By: Bob of KAOS - Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 21:21

Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 21:21
Lone Wolf

don't you worry about the Landy mate. Its been up more tracks like Willem's in the West Macs than you've had hot dinners.
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Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 07:48

Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 07:48
" The GQ sustained a host of new scratches and I will have to do more work on the mudflaps again! "

Willem.... I did work on my GQ's mudflaps.... I took 'em off!

LOL.... ;-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris M (QLD) - Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:48

Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:48
And ya can't buy em anymore either new from Nissan...
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Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:59

Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:59
Hi Brian

I had just refitted all the mudflaps after tearing them off on the WA trek.

Frankly I will remove them and possibly the flares for good when I get home and then fit scrub bars to the front of the truck.

This truck is too pretty for the bush. I think they designed it for the upmarket mob and not for the Ernest Giles type of explorer :o)

Failing that I might just covert my old HJ60 to my bush wagon.
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Follow Up By: Nudenut - Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:58

Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:58
too pretty for the bush you say....get some more scratches on it!
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Follow Up By: Brew69(SA) - Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 07:32

Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 07:32
Chris, i just had a new one fitted after tyre damage. Must still be some at the dealers.
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris M (QLD) - Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 17:23

Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 17:23
That's good to hear brew...just couldn't get a set of 4 in QLD when I was lookin' a couple of years back. But now I'm back in the market, that's good news.
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