Rudall River NP - Our First Quad Expedition - Day 2 and then on to Desert Queen Baths.

Monday, Jul 14, 2008 at 00:00

Mick O

Monday 14th July, 2008
Desert Queen Baths, Rudall River
22 27 50.602 S, 122 15 42.800 E

I had to get up a couple of times in the night to try and stop the tent from squeaking in the stiff breeze. I managed to get some sleep though and the night remained mild until just before dawn. A couple of distant dingo howls and a donkey braying to welcome the dawn and then up. Gaby was out first and ignoring the cardinal rule of the outback, going for a walk without lighting the fire!!! Where’s my cuppa? It was a nice morning. I must remember to pack the dunny seat next time as I remember now that some things should only ever be done sitting! Managed to deceive Scott due to my entry and exit points from the sandy creek and had to give him fair warning to avoid the dead tree to the left. Certainly seemed like an attractive place to "spend a penny" so to speak, and fully backed up by Scott gravitating towards it later on as well. Fair warning given lest he shovel up a surprise for himself. Now that would have been funny!

I had beef noodles for breakfast with two cups of tea. We enjoyed the sunrise over the eastern wall of the valley and onto the pinnacle before packing up camp, loading the quads and heading off. We traversed the valley floor and nearby creek and climbed the hill to our south west. The vista it provided was impressive. To the west, we looked over a pound area several kilometers square with high hills in the background. About 1.5 kilometers distant there was an explosive rift or hole forming a large high wall in a hill. Certainly a place to head towards and explore. It was a steep, spinifex covered decent into the pound which I led down a small gully. The floor was a jumble of jagged red ingenuous rock mixed with quartz. There were many rills, wash-aways and gullies to be negotiated often thick with scrub. We picked our way through these and then climbed along the western side of the valley to reach the gorge only to find it empty and barren. Scott and I climbed the nearby hill on foot to gain ground knowledge and plan a route to higher ground. From there we then picked our way higher and higher, often being forced to back track out of gully’s that had looked promising from a distance. In the end we reached the high point we sought and were rewarded with a stunning panorama (22 24 20.02 S, 121 57 6.40 E). Tantalizingly close were the ramparts that formed the western wall of the Yandagooge gap. I felt confidant that given time we could have worked our way there but having no supplies we reluctantly opted to return out the way we came.

Once down in the floor of the pinnacle valley, we moved north opting to go overland rather than enter the creek. We pushed our way through thick scrub and spinifex, crossed narrow but steep sided creeks (I nearly went over the handlebars on one occasion), and tracts of sand cleared by fire. At one point I spied a gap in the eastern wall of the valley so we ducked through it, frightening a solitary bull camel. The opening happened to be a narrow but flat bottomed gorge allowing access into the country behind (22 22 3.29 S, 121 58 51.301 E). This country was far from exciting being flat and covered with thick, old growth spinifex. Tough going indeed but we wound our way east and then north around hills, crossing a low range of quartz hills and into the main valley again. Then it was several more kilometers of burnt out sandy country before dropping back into a creek which took us back to the Yandagooge Creek under the point where we had exited to find the first rockhole of yesterday. It was a straight forward run down the creek to the vehicles.

We packed up quickly and I pumped up the four leaking tyres on the Patrol before departing on the 1.5 hour trip into DQB. Once clear of claypan, we headed south along the main Rudall Road and veered south east on the DQB track. The first 5 kilometers went as normal, thick scrub and narrow track before the signs of a bushfire became apparent. The area had been ravaged by fire and I mean totally ravaged! It looked like the earth had been cleansed by nuclear fire. All that remained were the rocks and a few burnt sticks that had once been the impenetrable scrub of 12 months ago! When rounding Miles Hill, we rousted a mob of 12 camels that I reckon have been the same mob we’ve seen in the area for the past three years. Same belligerent bull and an ever increasing harem. The country right up to and including the camp area had been razed. Whilst completely devastated it still maintains an arid beauty. You can see everything now, including our fellow campers who have set up in the spot we were camped last year. We took the sight nearest the waterhole and set up. The water hole at the leading edge of the gorge is very low and all rockholes in the creek heading north of the main goanna hole into the main valley are dry.

Showers were great. I laid out a tile floor of flat stones on the floor of the shower tent to saving getting sandy feet. Dinner was snags and potato salad. The moonlight tonight is incredible.
''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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