Canning Stock Route / Kidson Track - Planes, corrugations & west on the Wapet to Razor Blade Bore.

Monday, Jun 15, 2009 at 00:00

Mick O

Monday 15th June, 2009
Razor Blade Bore, Kidson Track WA

It was a great days travel today tempered by a few car issues and the infamous Canning Corrugations. It was a cold night with a bit of a wind. Staying up till 11.30 p.m. made it our latest night to date. I must confess to having to bolt out of the tent this morning going from top step to bottom step and missing all between in my hast. Thankfully bombs delivered. Funnily, we heard the drone of a distant aircraft but couldn’t see it in the sky, suddenly a Cessna 210 overflew us at a height of 100 feet or less. He had a large array sticking from the tail of the plane and was obviously involved in survey work. What are the chances hey? All the space to camp and he flies right over us. He came back about a half hour later as well. Later still, we saw him further off to the north obviously flying grid patterns.




By 8.30 a.m. we were repacked and away on the last vestiges of the eastern track to Kidson Knoll. Once we joined the main track again, the corrugated hell began as I knew it would. There are few enough words to describe this 40 km stretch of track down to Well 33 and Kurnawarritji. There is no escaping the absolute horror of the corrugations and short of taking them at 15 kph, you will have the absolute bejeezus shaken out of you at any speed. I had bleep coming from the back crap rack right through to the front cargo barrier. You couldn’t talk, think or otherwise as your teeth were jarred and your brain rattled. John and Suzette had Tough-dog “bigbore” adjustable shocks which they dialled right down. When I pulled up at the halfway mark, we checked my shocks to find the rear at an amazing 150 degrees C. They cooled down pretty quick and I dropped the tyre pressure even further to 16 up front and 22 down back. This helped somewhat at the cost of higher tyre temperatures.




Finally we reached the familiar windmill of well 33. There were three other vehicles present so we chatted as we filled up with the clear sweet water and also deposited our rubbish in the bins provided. From there it was a short 4 km to the Gary /Wapet Road and a further smooth 4 km to the Kurnawarritji store and the same smiling face on the wizened crone who served us last year (“It’d be a good job if the tourists stayed away!”) They are however in the process of building a new store complex. Believe me, nothing like putting in 156 litres of diesel at $3.20 per litre to make a grown man cry. Over $500 to fill the beast....by the gods. We also got a few supplies like bread and UHT custard, only essentials mind you. Suzette decreed a pie to be a good idea for lunch, and it was. I made a couple of calls on the landline to home and Equinox McCall to fill him in on our travel plans and then like the wind, we swept west on the Wapet road, savouring its wide, smooth surface and the amazing 80kph speeds. We had a bit of a break down the road a ways and then on again through the sand dunes and mega swales to the Rocky Knoll and Lake Auld. It was great to see my windswept campsite of last year. At the Kidson Track intersection we had a photo stop before heading north.





The Kidson was a revelation. It was in great condition. A few rough spots on the first 50 odd kilometres where the track parallels the shores and plains of Lake Auld. Here and there we encountered several mobs of camels including one group of nine drinking at a large soak. The samphire flats were often filled with giant termite mounds looking more like the stone formations of Cappadocia than Australian termite mounds. They are fully 2 metres or more in height (one was a good three metres easily) and up to three and four metres across and form conical mounds.

At the 60 kilometre mark, the track veers more westerly and enters the dune country. The area had been ravaged by fire a year or two ago so the young spinifex growth gave the corridors a grassy, field like look that appears almost manicured at times. The countryside changed frequently and we found ourselves climbing gibber rises to heights of 360 metres plus. We’d then drop down into wide, picturesque valleys of eucalypt woodland. We gathered firewood on the way imagining our destination of Razor Blade Bore to have scant supply. We crested one of the high plateau areas to look down into a valley around 4:30 p.m. and caught a glimpse of spinning silver in the distance, our nights camp. On arrival, the stiff breeze had the windmill turning feverishly, water cascading from the tank overflow pipe. We also found a group of four vehicles also camped for the night. The bore comprises the mill and a tank on stand. There is a wide flat expanse surrounding it which provides plenty of camping spots but scant shelter from the easterly wind.


In no time flat the camp was up and John had the fire roaring, with a bucket of water on the fire, Suzette began washing their supply of dirty clothes. I reluctantly did the same hooking a line up from the car to the old tank lying nearby. John also set up the shower tent again. Two showers in a row, this is total decadence. I took mine after dinner (Rissoles and fire roasted veg). Suzette (Mrs Incredible) just whipped up a sensational desert of stewed apples in the camp oven. Together with cream mmmm...what a way to finish a meal. At one stage, Suzette was stoking the fire when a sand goanna emerged writhing and blackened from a smoke filled log. He’d obviously stuck it out for a while as he was quite warm and his tail was either singed or soot blackened. I quickly caught him and after John took a couple of photos, I put him on a nearby tree hoping he can find a sheltered place before he cools down.


Our neighbours have been doing the odd corroboree dance and song, not unusual until I tell you that they are a bunch of white blokes. Oh well, they’re having fun and probably more than one refreshing beverage during the evening. It looked a bit spooky as well, the lot of them sitting there in the dark with their head torches on.



''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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