Canning Stock Route Day 5 - Rest Day at Well 6 (Pierre Spring)

Monday, Jul 07, 2003 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

When we arrived at Pierre Spring yesterday, we found a small quiet group of 3 vehicles already camped and looking as though they had been there a few days. They came and made themselves be known as ExplorOz users - Northern Territory travellers Kevin and Wendy Pritchard, Craig Cousins, Derek James and Karen Corkill and we later had a pre-dinner drink with them while our roast was cooking. (They were still travelling on NT time however and were nearly ready for bed!).

This morning we decided to climb the Ingebong Hills (not Ningebong as written in the Gard's book) and then see if we could find the actual spring feeding Well 6. Before we had set off however, a convoy of vehicles passed right through the camp, barely stopping to look at the site. We then drove off in their path to the north expecting to meet up with them at Ingebong, but they hadn't stopped there either.

4.2km from Well 6 is the signed turnoff on the LHS to Ingebong Hills, with a turnaround bay to leave your vehicle at the base of the walk path. Initially, the path heads straight up towards a small overhang containing some messy aboriginal rock paintings. By skirting the base of the rocks around to the left there are some better paintings before the track (undefined) leads up a loose and rocky ascent. Once on top of the main ridge, the surface of the Ingebong Hills is a series of folded layers of sandstone. There is a small cairn and stick at the summit and the views are worthwhile. It isn't overly scenic, with just the faint hills of and Mt Davis to the north-east. The rest appears flat and featureless and you can hardly believe that the magnificent eucalypts at Pierre Springs are tucked away down there just 4km away. What amazed me the most was that we could hear a vehicle approaching on the track below but couldn't see it or the track at all. From this perspective you start to realise the remoteness of your location, with the CSR track so insignificant amongst the vegetation of the vast countryside stretched out below.

Leah successfully made it to the top with a little help from adult shoulders but she appears keen to walk and has proper boots with good grip that she is learning to trust. She's a tough kid and even though she has a bout of the flu with a terrible runny nose, she is keeping up fine. I have noticed that she isn't drinking as much milk as usual and her appetite has been a bit slow, but that can happen with 2 - 3 year olds at any time.

At the bottom of the hills, the approaching vehicle we'd seen from our vantage point at the top of the hill was parked beside our vehicle and the two male occupants started walking towards us. It turns out that they are attempting to organise a Canning Stock Route Re-enactment (like the Year of the Outback Cattle Drive) for 2006 to mark the 100th Birthday of the CSR and are out this year to survey the route for themselves and to gauge local response to the concept. They gave us a Press Release and spent considerable time discussing promotions and possible use of ExplorOz. They had already met with the Halls Creek Shire Council and were on their way to a council meeting in Wiluna, which was already indicating support for the idea. Our biggest concerns were their requirements for stock watering points and their suggestions that clubs and interested bodies should be working to restore as many wells as possible prior to the event. I was under the impression that no restorations were to take place without the approval of the West Australian Heritage Council and that DOLA had made a recent recommendation in an internal report (which we were recently given by the authors) that no more wells were to be considered for restoration works. But Ken Morris, the organiser of the event seemed sure he had all bases covered and that the Australia-wide interest in the event would bring many positive results for the region. This proposed event sparked lots of conversation that continued all along the track for the remainder of our trip.

On our return to camp, we had our meat-salad lunch and then continued off on another walk to find the site of the original spring on which Well 6 was located. Although the spring was silted up after a cyclone in the mid 1960s, there is a lone paperbark tree 250m south of Well 6 in a silted up creek bed meeting the original descriptions. We have taken a marker for the "spring" and will investigate further.

Back at camp, a group of 3 vehicles had arrived, all with Toodyay and Northam licence plates. Leah noticed there were kids amongst the group and I had to assist with introductions, however they also turned out to be ExplorOz users and we'd even had email correspondence in the lead up to this trip. One vehicle in their party (the Toodyay 4WD Club) was experiencing a fair bit of fuel trouble, to the point that fuel wasn't getting through the lines to the engine and a make-shift arrangement had been used - a jerry can with a hose directly feeding fuel into the engine.

Every "mechanic" in the camp ground had a look at the vehicle but no fix or solution to the problem could be found so the jerry can continued to be the only way they could get fuel to the engine. We offered another piece of hose to enable a return line to take excess back to the jerry can and they seemed happy to continue with their north bound trip the next day.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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