Gibson & Great Sandy Deserts - Gary Junction Road to Kiwirrkurra & the Pollock Hills.

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2008 at 00:00


Tuesday 22nd July, 2008
Pollock Hills, 27 km west of Kiwirrkurra
22 49 21.81s 127 30 38.83e

Our sheltered spot proved a haven from the relentless easterly wind during the night. At times there was the occasional buffet from the wind, enough to pry loose a wayward empty beer can and spin it in circles around the camp but other than that, we spent the night in relative shelter, often listening to the roar of the gale tearing across the summit of the knoll. Up early though as we need to get extra km on if we are to make our deadlines.The fire wood was so pathetic we opted for cereal and a hurriedly boiled billy for tea & coffee before getting on the road by 7.45 a.m. A record!

The road to Kunawarritji was recently graded and we passed the driver about 30 km short of the community sharing greetings over the UHF radio as we passed.Kunawarritji hasn’t changed a bit other than to have more exorbitantly priced tax payer funded houses built. Fuel (diesel only) was $3.20 per litre so I satisfied myself with 100 litres and a few items from the store. Scott and Gaby made a few phone calls to see how the construction of their new home had gone back in Canada and even I got 5 minutes to ring the Fluffster in Chicago, shopping strangely enough. We all partook of a pie from the warmer at the store and suitable fortified, headed back out to the road and thundered east.

The 4 km to the Canning were as corrugated as I remember but once crossed the road improved somewhat for the 60 km down to Gary Junction. There we signed the book and took the obligatory photo’s before heading on, the Jenkins Track conquered. Managed to spy a Bustard by the roadside and creep up on it without causing flight. Great for photo’s and video. From there the road deteriorated into a corrugated hell until just short of Jupiter well. Here the countryside changed into rolling dunes covered with groves of desert Oak. The road, crushed white rock was in fantastic nick. It is truly one of the most beautiful sections of outback road I have ever traveled. We called at the hand pump opposite Jupiter well and then on again. Seventeen km later, a call into Len Beadell’s tree now 600 metres off the main road. The plaque rests on a desert oak having been mounted in 1960. The road is now 600 metres north from the original track but the single lane cut of the original track can still be seen heading of in both directions.

The road was of reasonable to good condition from here but soon returned to the sparsely vegetated dunes, the track following the swales endlessly. At one point, we crested a dune to see the track descend into what appeared to be a shallow rift many km wide. Watching the GPS I found is dropping over 45 metres in the ensuing km and then climbing back into the 400’s on the other side some 15 kilometers away. Interesting. Another vehicle broken down by the side of the road, thankfully attending by some grey nomads heading west. Family with infant children in a Nissan. No water, no food. What can you do? “How about a tow bloke?”

We stopped and collected some decent timber prior to looking for a camp spot. The gale appears to have a bated somewhat but it is still quite windy. About 27 km short of Kiwirrkurra, I spied a track off to the right which we have followed for a few km to a low range of hills. We have had a fabulous T-bone steak dinner prepared over coals from decent eucalypt logs. Desert was custard and fruit followed by Baileys, Milo and Tim Tams. Wonderful. Still a bit of wind about.

''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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