Canning Stock Route Day 7 - Well 12 to Calvert Range

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 7 - Wednesday 9th July
Start - Well 12 area
Stop - Calvert Range
Trip Odometer - 157.8km
Stopped time - 3hrs 41 mins
Moving average - 33.8km/hr
Moving time - 4 hrs 39mins
Max speed - 69.6km/hr

We set off at 8.15am this morning and made it to Well 13 just after 9am. This well is 2km off the track on the left just after the ruin of the Land Rover (hardly distinguishable now it is so rusted). The well is in total ruin - it has collapsed in on itself and there is no hole just a slight depression in the ground. The trough however is long and mostly intact.

Well 14 is overgrown and collapsed. We have recommended to Hema that they remove the campsite symbol from maps for this area, as its a pretty poor site for camping.

Well 15 is one of the restored wells done by Ken Maidment. In the case of his restorations, they are not "fully" restored in the sense of a return to history, but they are certainly repaired to the point of getting fresh drinking water. Be sure you bring your own bucket (we used a 15L galvanised bucket) and about 50 feet of rope as not all restored wells have buckets and ropes.

After passing Rankins Trolley, we came to a very pleasant area with views of a long red sand dune just 200m to the WNW. This is Well 16. We found water that was clear and tasted fine, but possibly a little salty. There is no lid to keep animals out and the hole is slowly collapsing. Trough and A-frames mostly in tact but collapsing. Camps in the mulga offer very little protection but is flat. Scarce firewood. We had our lunch here and planned to reach the Calvert Range for the end of the day so moved on at 1.35pm.

We reached the Calvert turnoff (no marker) at almost 2pm and found the temperatures getting hotter now which is pleasing.

At this junction we swing east and at the very first dune needed to drop the tyre pressures. This is a delightful dune run for about 36km over lots of red sand dunes. The track is very scenic but annoying for the driver because insufficient run up for the dunes is given in the original lay of the track - consequently people have been forced to create run up tracks before each dune. Seems strange that the track wasn't created with the right approach in the first place!

The reason for visiting the Calvert Range was to experience this little known gem in the desert where some unique aboriginal art galleries housing literally thousands of pieces of top quality rock paintings and some carvings can be easily seen from 2 main locations just 40km or so off the CSR. It would seem crazy to not take advantage of our trip this far out in the Western Deserts to go just a little further east to see these rarely seen artefacts that I'm sure in time, will become protected and possibly inaccessible to visitors.

So image our surprise, when after an hour's travelling through what really felt like the middle of nowhere, we came to our camp and found another 2 vehicles already setup. They too, were ExplorOz users and very kindly gave us a tour of the aboriginal carvings and paintings that they had found over various previous trips, sights we couldn't have hoped to find ourselves. This is an area where there is no intervention, no signage, no trail markers etc. You really need to have done your research in advance to know where to look or at least have plenty of time and the inclination to be a little adventurous to find them yourself.

We camped just a little way back near the main junction under a lovely grove of trees beneath the base of the range. We hadn't brought any firewood and there is none here so made do with dinner cooked on the gas stove tonight. As soon as we stopped the car to setup Leah asked to go to her swag for a sleep (before sunset) - thinking this was a bit strange we took her temperature to find it was now up to 39.6°C. We gave her Pandadol, then she had a sleep for an hour and then woke up quiet but happy and did some watercolour painting while we cooked dinner. She didn't eat much and went to bed. It's my guess this is the end of her flu, as I've seen this kind of temperature spike after a long cold with her before so I was concerned for her but not worried about the situation. Looking back at her symptoms, the walk up Ingebong Hills probably sapped all her energy and her poor little body finally gave into the flu.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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