Cape York Day 31 - Seisa to Cairns

Sunday, Aug 23, 1998 at 17:33

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

(Day 20 TLCC Cape York Trip - Michelle Jacka & David Martin)

Our trip today was to be a little adventurous with Collyn leading us along tracks he had not previously traveled. Armed with a Hema map, a set of topical maps and a GPS unit in David Martin’s troopy we were sure to get to our destination of Palmerville. We set out from Musgrave Station heading south for 30km. Turning right off the Development Road we journeyed through cattlefarms and numerous sets of gates – some to be closed and some to be left open. After a number of sharp, steep dips into dry river crossings we came to a sign post clearly showing Dixie Station, Crosbreck, Oroners, Sefton, Koolatah and Normanton. Here we turned right and tracked west. We passed Dixie Station and a few large lakes and noticed some interesting wildlife hanging like white plastic shopping bags from the trees. Our resident biologist Bonnie suggested they might be ant nests or even spider’s nests. Upon hearing this Thelma quickly threw away the specimen she had collected. We found a beautiful lagoon with lilypads and birdlife and guessed it was part of the 8 Mile Creek. From here we found the roads a little difficult to locate and started to confirm tracks with the GPS. Further along we discovered a new fork in the road to Dixie and then observed two men draining fuel from an overturned tank. Collyn stopped to talk a while and learned there had been a recent Gold discovery in the Dixie area and so a new road was being built. We pushed on towards Kimba and the track became narrow and faint. The cars were making new tracks over tree saplings. This was a little-used road but Collyn managed to find the only rutted section and caught his left wheels in a long deep rut which twisted his steering wheel 90 degrees. We must have snagged a tree root which pierced the back left tyre of our troopy and so the convoy stopped for another roadside wheel change. Bill had been complaining the whole trip about the unsafe use of the highlift jack for wheel changes and his worries rang true when the troppy fell off the highlift jack and slipped around the front wheel. The job was completed successfully with the bottle jack.

Our lunch stop today was in the middle of nowhere but beside an overflowing windmill pump. David climbed to the top and most of us either drank or splashed some water around as it was a very hot 38 degrees in the shade.

It was 2.30pm by the time we had made it to Kimba Station to confirm directions with the farmers. We were told to drive on through their property towards Pinnacles and then to drive across their airfield. Once we crossed the King River and later arrived at King Junction we looked in horror at our Hema maps and discovered we were way off course to reach our destination at Palmerville. After talking to the station workers we learned that the Hema map was in fact incorrect and the roads Collyn had chosen to take us along had long since grown over. We had to detour back 30km along bush track at 4pm. The choice then was to decide whether to continue to aim for Palmerville or pull into Laura. After a long, hot and dusty day the prospect of a shower was too tempting so we went to Laura and enjoyed facilities at our campground.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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