Simpson Desert Day 4

Friday, Aug 27, 1999 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

The 53km of French Line from the Colson intersection to the Erabena intersection took an incredibly long time, for no other reason than the dune run ups are quite bumpy (thanks to people who don't let down their tyres enough). We turned right (south) at the Erabena intersection and took the 50km to the Lone Gum Tree, which is an interesting sight in the desert because no one knows how or why this huge gum tree is here as it's native territory is the claysoils of flood prone areas. The tree is actually on the Rig Road.

After visiting the tree we backtracked up the Erabena and turned right (east) onto the WAA Line. Of all the tracks we crossed on the Simpson the WAA was the most difficult at the time due to "blowouts", sections of track that have eroded by wind around an obstacle (like a rock or hard soil) resulting in gaping great holes right where one of your wheels should go! This photo shows a blowout in the shade of the spinifex. Not that they caused us any concern but we did take the diversion tracks around some of the particularly bad ones. For anyone travelling from the east to the west then this would cause greater concern as you wouldn't see them (only on the western approach). The height of the dunes on the WAA however are considerably less than those on the French Line.

After 6 hours of driving today we finally made it to the intersection of the WAA and Knolls Track. The entire Simpson Desert is fairly easily navigable by GPS/compass/sun direction or track markers. You'll notice however, that some idiots have "souvenired" many of the track markers making it a little more challenging to check your position. This particular intersection was a bit conflicting with our calculations and since the intersection was not marked we continued on, unsure that we were at the right one. Our Westprint map and SA Parks Pass booklet did not show any tracks continuing further east past the intersection but here was a track. After a few kilometres we turned back and it wasn't until quite a few more kilometres along the Knolls Track that we found the first marker confirming we were on the right road. So, please if you go to the desert DON'T TAKE THE MARKERS.

We'd just about had it for the day after almost 8 hours driving but we wanted to get to the Approdinna Attora Knolls - two gypsum outcrops that were once the highest peaks in the desert. The atmosphere in this area is quite different to other parts of the desert, with a salt lake (Lake Tambyn) and a significant gidgee forest providing the first option of shady camping
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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