Gunbarrel Hwy Day 6 - Camp Beadell to Jackie Junction

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2001 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 6 - Wednesday 27/6/01
Start - Camp Beadell
Stop - Jackie Junction
Trip Odometer - 181.4km
Stopped time - 3.09hrs
Moving average - 48.8km/hr
Moving time - 3.42hrs
Max speed - 6.52hrs

The puncture repair hadn’t held so we had no option but to use our second spare – so after yet another morning of tyre repairs. We had 2 nice new Coopers ST on the drivers side and a never used Grandtrek and a nearly bald Pirelli Scorpion ST on the near side. We rang Linda again on the Radphone and was happy to hear that she had arranged for a tyre to be available in Alice Springs for us on Friday, although we expected to arrive on the Saturday.

We finally lifted camp at 9.40am and made our way to the next bore camp, near Thryptomere Hill, which had a pump! We stopped for photos and to operate the pump. The Spinifex by the side of the track was as high as the bonnet and it not only felt remote but the whole area looked very unused. There were camps here but not as nice as at the next bore pump further on opposite the Len Beadell Tree. Immediately opposite the tree is a long track - we started to walk along it but it went for about 2km so we headed back for the car and drove down the back to find the pump. The water was clear and fresh so we all had a wash and topped up our water bottles.

Just ahead we came across the rear end of what looked like a gypsy-wagon with 2 camels in tow and 6 pulling it. The track was narrow and washed out so we had to follow at 5km/hr until a place to pass appeared. The girl driver wove us on so we continued without conversation but then came upon a 5tonne, 2wd Hino truck stopped in the middle of the track. I went up to his window and the driver nearly jumped out of his skin. We stopped to chat and heard their story and they heard ours. We sat on the red earth track and shared our lunchtime together.

We’re finding the details on the Hema Great Desert Tracks digital maps to be excellent and accurate and found the Gnamma rockholes and average camps nearby. If coming from the west all you see is a silver tin sign hanging on a tree.

This final section of the Gunbarrell to the Heather Highway Junction (Mt Samuel) was full of wildflowers but quite washed out. If conditions were wet it wouldn’t be fun, but for us it was very dry and easy to take diversion tracks. The section between the Heather Hwy and Warburton Road junctions was probably the slowest going of the entire trip with the very worst washouts slowing travelling to around 15km/hr.

At Jackie Junction we stopped for photos but there was no suitable camp clearing so we took the left turn to begin the abandoned section of the Gunbarrel Highway and to find a campsite.

After about 30-40kms we still couldn’t find a clearing and had to settle for a patch of gibber and Spinifex in a burnt out clearing. This section of track was incredibly easy-going, travelling at 80-90kms/hr comfortably on a recently graded and wide track.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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