On the Gary Junction - Let the adventure begin.

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 00:00

Mick O

Tuesday 2nd June 2009
Gary Junction Road approx 70 km east of Kintore
23 14.590 S, 130 07.932 E Od 206200

It’s 5.50 p.m. and I’m sitting by the fire enjoying the sun slowing sinking in to the western horizon. The fire is warm, the scotch is cold and the company enjoyable. We are on the road and my mood lifted the minute I felt the familiar vibration pulsing through the vehicle as we hit the corrugations of the Haasts bluff-Papunya Road.

I was out of the park at 0800 hours intending to get a snappy feed at Maccas before heading out to the agreed rendezvous point of Flynn’s Grave. Should have known better. Maccas was packed so straight onto Larrapinta Drive and the shell where I squeezed in another 10 litres into the bulging tanks. On the way out I passed George and Willem heading in. Willem has a toothache and was heading into the chemist for something to ease his pain. This does not bode well.

The drive through the western MacDonald’s is one of the most picturesque in the outback. The ramparts of the main valley, rugged red and jagged. The tops of the highest ridges were still wrapped in the low cloud. The bitumen extends all the way out to the Haasts Bluff Road now so there was a bit of an anticlimax in stopping to let down our tyres where we thought the bitumen ended. Another 20 km of bitumen wouldn’t have done the low pressured cross ply’s any good.

The Haasts bluff Road was in atrocious condition. There were plenty of pools of standing water evidence of the recent rains. The corrugations were like mountain ranges in their own right. Absolute shockers. Here and there cattle were taking advantage of the mud filled holes to wallow, rising to watch us pass. Fortunately, as we drove the clouds began to break allowing the first beams of sunshine through that we’d seen in days. By the Haasts-Papunya Turn in the shadow of Round Hill the last of the clouds disappeared opening up the true colours of the surrounding countryside.

Mount William passed by on our left and then across the flats to the Gary Junction Road. We stopped for lunch after passing through Papunya. Then on. The Gary Junction was in reasonably good nick before and after Papunya with mild corrugations. The further west we went, the better the road got. The moon rose large in the mid afternoon behind us. The Ehrenberg Range provided a great backdrop to the odd desert oak and lone Ghost Gum. A camel was sighted by the lead vehicles but by the time Tail-end Charlie got there they were long gone.

The sand dunes began to dominate once past the Ehrenberg’s and we have pulled in off the road in the wide expanse between two dunes. There are some low clouds to our west. It feels good to get the camp set up. It’s what I’ve waited 10 months for…..to get back out here.



''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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