Burton's Perth to Cape York Day 5 Wed 4 April 2012 Mingol Camp to Roadside Camp

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 11:42

Mike & Amanda

Mingol Camp was a great find. Many swims in the billabong, although Kate complained of the squishy mud between her toes... Both kids were reluctant to check out snags in the deeper water under a rope swing...wooses! Flies were a real problem, slightly offset by constant wetting in the pool. Mossies weren't much of an issue, more to do with our time of arriving at the place so soon after floods leaving little stagnant water. One truck went by late yesterday afternoon. Great evening campfire with plenty of deadfalls around for fuel.

The drive to Carnegie Station was easy, wide semi graded highway reminiscent of the Great Central Highway. We met Dusty the manager and his wife Jodie and baby Jazz - what a great family and what a welcoming station. We filled up with unleaded and they showed us the visitor’s centre, a lush grassed area, camping section and flushing toilets and showers. The Visitors Centre had photos of Len Beadell, David Carnegie and other explorers.

The Gunbarrel slowly deteriorated - wow what a drive! Down to single lane, wheel ruts, boggy sections that left the Cruiser gasping. Deep washouts, gullies and vicious rock outcrops that could take your sump out if not careful. The unpredictability of all these, suddenly re appearing in random order meant a very slow drive, requiring intense concentration. At the Mungilli Claypan we encountered a large body of water right across the track - even the bypass track was wet. The area was green and lush, ducks everywhere. I walked the track barefoot to find it consisting of about 100-200 mm of slimy mud with a solid rock base. The main track it was then, with water up to the knees... or bumper. We let the diffs cool a little before idling through, sliding a little...good practice because worse was to come! The section from Geraldton Bore to Everard Junction was a pearler. Rough as, at times the track disappeared entirely in the tall spinafex and it was guesswork for a couple of hundred metres....if the driver wasn't vigilant here the rock outcroppings would crunch something. Tunnels of spinafex, encroaching sheoaks and beautiful flowering wattle all pinstriped the car and trailer, then to find a deep washout and gully. Average speed at this time was around 20-30km/hr with long sections of slow crawling.

The plan was to reach Camp Beadell for the overnight stop, that wasn't going to happen. Evening was already encroaching and we needed a camp spot. I constantly reminded myself to drive to the conditions and not the schedule! Increasing from our 20 km/hr average could lead to disaster. We crawled along, some teasing excellent sections with an enticing 40 km/hr before finding a flat space amongst the sheoks, hidden on the left side of the road. These spots are few and far between so we braked and wandered over on foot to recce it. Whilst it looked good at first, every foot step revealed billion of small ants.....not here Amanda said!

Further on we found another spot, open, almost free of spinafex. We set up in a blink with Jack finding wood and Kate finding rocks for a fire ring. It really was too warm for a fire, still being around 32 degrees and humid. It had been threatening to rain everyday, black heavy clouds and the odd drop of rain....made us a little nervous thinking of what water would do to these tracks! Jack had a little mishap with a wood splinter under his toenail, requiring major surgery and a big white bandage from Amanda. The fire lit, the send you crazy flies receding, a glass of white and all is well. Amanda cooked us superb tuna pasta and we retired to swell earned sleep on a very warm night!

Mike & Amanda
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