Gibson Desert - The search for Alfred continues to Diorite and West Hills

Sunday, Jun 06, 2010 at 00:00


Today Alan K and Michael J decided to hike a bit of the Bedford’s while Equinox led the rest of us on an expedition in search of Alfred. Following our tracks out to trhe west we again climbed the rise we had been on yesterday to better pick our landmarks to the south west. We picked our way along a low hill and then onto the spinifex plains in a classic search line about 30 metres apart.Went well over the open spinifex but became a lot holder to hold a coherent line once we entered a thick band of scrub. This was a couple of km thick. We passed plenty of camel sign and dust wallows in the small claypans we occasionally encountered. We broke from the scrub only a kilometre or two from our first way point, Diorite Hill. This ragged pile of red sandstone has several deep gullies and forms a wide top with lower range directly behind it. Gaby and I rode the quads up a rocky ridge to the top. Not the easiest of traverses but we got there in the end. A few spots of rain while up there. It gave a great view of the Bedford’s back to our north east and of the encroaching sand ridges. I was able to pick a gate in several rows of dunes which would make our exit from the area a whole lot easier in the coming days.

With this in mind, Gaby and I decided to break off to the east and scout a possible route out for the vehicles while Equinox and John and Suze would continue on to their next pointWest Hill We moved around to the western flank of the hill and then climbed into the ridges and gullies for a search of the area before a spot of morning tea and then heading off in sperate directions. Gaby and I rode east to another small hill where we got a good view of the gate to our south east. We then headed into the lee of the first ridge of the Bedford’s in an attempt to skirt that horrid thicket. That would have been a nightmare for the vehicles. By sticking close to the ridge, we were successful in finding a much more friendly route. We also crossed a track that had seen a bit of use in the past. This headed into the Bedford’s and probably in the direction of the Warrnum community further to the south. Heading into the ranges, we disturbed a good sized mob of camels before making our way north west through varying terrain and then into the camp.

Michael and Al had enjoyed their stroll and had climbed the crescent shaped bluff to the east of Yindi Rockhole. No luck locating Yindi or any other water source though. The McCall’s and John & Suze arrived back later in the afternoon. Mr Gibson remains lost. The rear wheel and fuel carrier in Scott & Gaby’s quad appeared to be the first victim of the trip with Gaby going to ride the quad in the late afternoon and the water/fuel carrier coming off completely. It had fatigued across the area where the mounting brackets were welded to the carrier arm. Out came the portable MIG welder for the first time and Scotty soon made short work of the repairs. We were all very impressed with the manner in which the welder worked.

I had developed some concerns over the proximity of the battery terminals to the cradle in the back pod of my ute so took the opportunity to unpack that side, remove the shelves and then remove and make some adjustments using the 18v angle grinder. It all went easily. The rest of the afternoon revolved around odd jobs and then dinner by the fire with a bit of route planning for our trip out tomorrow.

''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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