Canning Stock Route Day 11 - Well 20 to Well 24

Sunday, Jul 13, 2003 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 11 - Sunday 13th July
Start - Well 20
Stop - Well 24
Trip Odometer - 135.2km
Stopped time - 2 hr 32mins
Moving average - 38.1km/hr
Moving time - 3 hr 33 mins
Max speed - 70.4km/hr

We were off again by 9am and backtracked out onto the main CSR track and heading towards the northern end of Lake Disappointment. Just 13.4km from Well 20 we found another great campsite and could just easily have stopped here for the day. Easily found a track leads up to a small rise on the left directly opposite the most glorious views of Lake Disappointment to be seen on the whole excursion.

About 100m up the track are some campsites under desert oaks with great views to the white shores below. Oh well - really, it was too early to stop for the day, but when I come back here again, I will aim for this campsite and stop a few days. There was a general feeling of ... space that I found relaxing.

7.7km further on we came to a fork, where you TR to access Wells 21 and 22 - this is definitely the most popular route. Seems strange that the Hema map indicate that this is an "alternate route", since if you turn left at the fork you will bypass both wells altogether.

We came across a convoy of Land Rovers en-route to Well 21 heading in the opposite direction but could hear the banter on the radios long before we saw them. We found water a long way down into the depths of Well 21 but the timbers are starting to cave in. The lid is intact, the trough is in ruins, windlass in ruins, rusty bucket and almost covered by overgrowth.

We had a straight, flat, although corrugated, run to Well 22 with a couple of nice dunes in the last section. This well is in an area with lots of camps tucked away in little bays. Could easily hold loads of campers. The well itself is an unusually tin-lined well shaft (most others are square 6x4 and framed with wood).

Well 22 is just a little over 8km from Georgia Bore - where good quality water is almost guaranteed. The drive through this section was unexpected with views of green hills, lots of purple flowers (purple tinsel bush), less spinifex and mostly green shrubs and some gum trees.

Again, where there's water this year, there were hornets but I don't think they often bite because we spent about an hour mucking about with the water and were literally surrounded by them and none of us got a bite.

The water tasted pure but was brown and cloudy - which we did not expect. You never know the reason for why water is coloured, so rather than take our chances and empty out the last 30L of good water in our 65L water tank, we took just 10L in a spare jerry. We guessed that the water only needed a little settling overnight but as it was only midday we decided to drive on so took our chance that we'd reach good water at 33 soon enough.

At Well 23 (in the middle of the track and in ruins) a track runs out the back to the Fuel Dump operated by the Capricorn Roadhouse in Newman. We hadn't booked any fuel as we'd make it to Kunawarritji Community with plenty to spare, even though we'd travelled so many side tracks including Calvert Range and Diebel Hills (we carry 220L in fuel tanks and started with 3 jerry cans). The layout of the Fuel Dump is interesting just to stroll around - with all the empty (or near empty drums - some still had 20L in them) set aside in one stockpile, whilst the full drums awaiting travellers are lined up in another area, clearly marked with each owners name and the fuel type. There was even a fuel pump for public use.

So just up the track a little further we stopped for the day at Well 24 - a lovely spot beneath a small rocky outcrop and many secluded camps tucked amongst the bushes. We were the only campers, although there was evidence of one hell of a mess from the night before (presumably a tour group by the number of fresh camps). The mess was due to the fact that this camp is full of dingoes and they had already dug up the buried rubbish that last nights campers had left behind. Bits of egg shells, orange peels, toilet paper - all the stuff that we tell you to BURN NOT BURY. The dingoes were having a field day!

Finally, we arrived at our camp at a sensible hour - 3.30pm and set out Leah's watercolour paints and paper for some painting fun whilst David prepared his wonderful baked bread.

We cheat and use the regular bread mix we put in our bread machine at home, place it in a large stainless steel bowl, cover it with a damp teatowel and put it under the hood of the vehicle whilst it is still warm after the day's drive. After about an hour it has doubled in size and is ready for baking in the camp oven. Bread made with yeast keeps considerably fresher and doesn't take on the rock solid texture of damper when eaten the next day for sandwiches.

David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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