A day or two at the secluded Eagle Rock Pool - The Pilbara Western Australia

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 00:00

Mick O

Monday 29th May, 2006
The PilbaraEagle Rock Pool

A few things on the agenda this morning. After packing and departing it was to the local auto-shop to try and obtain a new fuel cap. It was a lucky day for me indeed. It’s not often that a place has in just the part you need, especially up this way. They did today and it was far too easy! John was off in the opposite direction to get his tyre fixed. We met up at the supermarket for a shop and then I attempted to do a bit of banking. No internet and no phones working in the entire place. Scratch that.

10.00 a.m. say us depart on the mine tour to the BHP-Billiton open cut. The tour took us through the mine works and then to two vantage points overlooking the cut. It was huge. Far bigger than I recall 21 years ago. We were able to get into the cut then. The mine has a further life expectancy of 25 years and I was surprised to see just how much overburden had to be removed. The terraces of the mine walls are 16 metres high and the ore starts down at terrace 21 or similar. They are currently at terrace 37 and will go down to over 50 deep. The mine is also expanding a kilometre to the north which means moving an entire mountain in the next few years to get to the high grade ore. The number of huge 200 tonne trucks hauling out overburden and ore were amazing. I could just imagine nephew Archie in a frenzy of excitement at so many huge boys toys (he is only two after all).

After the tour and handing back our bright orange vests, safety glasses and hard hats, we were off on the road to Karijini. I’d talked the Eller’s into trying to find a camp site off the beaten track a bit and to that end we decided to try and locate Eagle Rock falls and pools. The turn off was well signposted some 30 km northwest of Newman but after only 500 metres on a good road, there was a sign indicating a detour to eagle rock falls. Here we turned off the main track and followed a narrow winding track into the hills. If it hadn’t been for the grader tracks and the occasional well-placed collapsible detour sign, I might have gotten a little worried but after 25 km of winding our way through the picturesque hills we came to a fork in the track. Someone had placed a piece of tin at the junction and hastily scribbled in marker per – Pools 500m, falls 5km HARD 4X4. Pools for us then and if the track in was any indication of soft 4x4-ing, I’d shudder to think what hard is!

After 500m metres we came to a turnaround. I got out to see what was about and caught a glimpse of the pools a hundred metres off down a gully. The track dropped over a steep and extremely rough section of track before pushing through underbrush and then into a fairly deep creek crossing. John toddled down first followed by me in the trailer. It was a bit nerve wracking for john who still a bit gun shy due to the tyre situation.

The effort was worth it though as we found a great campsite on the banks of a large pool. The sight was sheltered by cliffs to the north and low hills to the west.The pool was deep and clear and lined with shady gums. A great spot to camp and thus it was. To john’s horror, and my guilt, we found his drivers side rear tyre going down really fast. Fearing the worst, a star or sidewall fracture, I got down near the tyre and could here air escaping vigorously. John quickly rolled the car forward slightly and I found the culprit, a 25 mm tek-screw that had probably been picked up in town. The journey down the track had twisted it enough to enlargen the hole and let the air out. We were much relieved and soon had it off and the spare on.Thankfully John didn’t have to go through the ritual of unpacking the entire vehicle to get to the toolbox to retrieve the locknut key for his spare this time. We were both a bit exited about using the puncture repair kit so I whacked out my good one and we had it scoured, glued and plugged in no time. It held magnificently and there was a bit of back slapping, chest beating going on about camp for 5 minutes. A first time for everything.

I pulled down some dead wood from nearby trees for the fire and then we went for a late afternoon explore. Amanda and I followed the creek north until we were blocked by undergrowth and swampy ground. We then climbed the ridge to the cliffs above camp and took a few photos in the fading light. Jules had gone out along a track that ran west from camp hoping to find an easier escape route than the path we had taken in. A very pleasant night by the campfire in our secluded camp.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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