Back in Rudall River Again - Tjingkulatjatjarra (Tjarra) Pool WA

Friday, Jul 11, 2008 at 00:00


Friday 11th July,
Tjarra Pool, Rudall River National Park
22 30 16.03 122 04 36.55

Well here I am back in Rudall River again. The third time in three years. A great days travel that saw us restock in Jigalong, head up a couple of good bush roads and discover the back way into the Rudall River Park over rocky, rugged ranges.

Our day began coldly. The temperature plummets about two hours before dawn. Why I don’t know but it does. Scott had the fire going this morning with me out of the cot not long after. Gaby, well it’s got to be roaring for her! A quick wash and breakfast and then into Jigalong. Fuel was a cheap $2.20 per litre. $400 to fill the vehicle and cash only as they didn’t have eftpos…yeah right! Fuel always seems to be the cash cow for rip off merchants. I couldn’t believe the vehicles again. Most houses had a 4x4 wagon in varying stages of disrepair lying about, the majority were turbo diesel hundred series Landcruisers, some only a year or two old, all up on blocks with no wheels. It’s enough to make you cry!

The supermarket was the next port of call with a limited resupply taking place. Diet coke, dunny paper, tin foil, Big M’s and potato’s. Spuds…$6.00 per kilo. 18 pack of diet coke cans…$26.00, biscuits between $4.50 and $6.50.Toilet paper $8.00 for 6 rolls. Do I have to mention just how much the puncture repair kit cost! We disposed of our accumulated rubbish in one of the 44 gallon bins and after a quick chat with one of the administrators, headed out on the Talawana. We pumped up the tyres a few km out of town and then cruised the 20km to the Billinooka turnoff managing to catch the dust of a road train for the last 5 km or so. The Road to Billinooka was in a variety of conditions from good, to corrugated to totally washed out. Still it was much better than we were used to. Twelve noon saw us back on the Talawana east of Balfour downs and 5 km later, at another Len Beadell marker where lunch was taken.

The road east although corrugated, was in good enough nick to maintain a good clip. Sand hills were cut and then layered with the small red gibbers making them a dream to cross although somewhat corrugated at times, particularly on bends. It wasn’t long before the cattle country gave way to the desert dunes again and the groves of Desert Oak became prevalent. We decided to take the back route (first road) into the park. It soon became apparent that this would be a different track to the main road as it was washed out and we found ourselves in the spinifex again. Within the first 5 km the road climbed a rocky range of hills to present a fabulous vista to the north across an impressive gorge. Little did we know that in a few short minutes we’d be descending into it. A sharp, rocky and steep decent saw us onto the floor of the valley where the road, being the lowest point on the valley floor, had become a creek forcing us to negotiate washouts, gullies and shrubs. It was slow going for the next 28 kilometers taking in sand country and skirting a magnificent range of hills. The track was well overgrown and in some places had been washed out to form a rift three metres deep! The need to watch for damaging stakes amongst the flora encroaching over the track was essential and draining. I almost skittled a feral cat which, if I’d been successful, would have given me great satisfaction.

An hour and a half after commencing our decent into the rocky gorge, we rejoined the main road into Rudall and immediately enjoyed the corrugations again. As we closed on the Rudall River itself, the distant ranges took on spectacular colours of blue, brown, red and purple. A solitary camel chewing its cud and a skinny dingo gnawing on the slim pickings offered by the bones of a long dead camel, welcomed us back to Rudall River.

We reached Jarra Pool at 4:30 p.m. after collecting a few scant pieces of firewood along the way (and nearly collecting three motorcycle riders as well). There were already two vehicles and trailers ensconced at Jarra meaning we had to set up on the rocky rise above the camp area. The water level of the main pool was very low compared to last year. After setting up camp, Scott got stuck into his punctured tyres and both he and I then broke the bead on my trailer tyre using the troopy as a tyre lever. I got the shower hooked up and we managed to wash away the dust and odour of days on the road with torrents of hot water. Tins for dinner followed by Custard and fruit. The moon is out and incredibly bright despite only being a half moon. As a result, the stars have been scarce. Tyre work for me in the morning patching up that damn sidewall.

''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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