Rudall River - East to Graphite Valley, Camel Rock and Cotton Creek (Then to Georgia Bore - CSR)

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2009 at 00:00


Wednesday 8th July, 2009
Georgia Bore
CSR – Talawana Intersection

A fairly full day of travel today departing DQB at exactly 8.00 a.m. We’ve managed to traverse the eastern side of the Rudall River National Park and brave the corrugations of the Talawana east to the Canning. The moon rising over the nearby ranges was spectacular, coupled with some Bach playing quietly in the background as we enjoyed a good feed by the fire and the odd refreshing beverage, I’m left wondering if life can get much better! As I type the dingoes are howling at the moon or protesting our presence in their domain. There is one very close by, unseen in the darkness but howling his best.

The bull camels were roaring at each other during the night again which made for entertaining times, particularly when Chris next door worried that they may come up to the camps. I told her to relax as they only ever attacked people shorter than 5 foot 3 ”....she’s 5’ foot if she’s lucky! Lol. Both Al and I were up early. A stiff breeze that sprang up about 5.00 a.m., reignited the fire for us in the large log we had left on the fire bed the previous evening making it a racing start to the morning. Billies of water on in no time. There were a few scalloped clouds about during the night which had kept the night very warm and provided a magnificent sunrise as well. We were packed and breakfasted and showered (believe it or not, by 7.20 and I took the remainder of the filtered water and hot water over to our neighbours. They had decided to do the Puntawarri which I was glad to hear. They had decided to move their gear over to our camp site once we vacated as well so moved their gear down as we departed vowing to catch up in Melbourne.

The trip out was again punctuated by careful driving to avoid the many stakes lurking at the side of the track and by the ubiquitous camels who seemed to lurk delinquent style by the side of the road. All they needed was a leather jacket and a cigarette. They seemed very non-plussed as we passed. They were all very thin with their humps were nonexistent, such are the harsh conditions at present. We reached the main Rudall north-south road and then headed south down to the Rudall River and the police plaque before crossing the river to the old airstrips. Here we saw a pair of the mangiest dingos to date. They appeared to exhausted to move off. Not long for this world me thinks.

I located the intersection leading east along the river and we soon found ourselves traversing the rocky gullies of the Fingoon Range that borders the southern side of the Rudall. The track was easy to discern but twisted and turned across the many gullies, creeks and washaways that drain the area. We detoured into the bed of the Rudall trying to locate Klakan Kalkan Soak finding it dry and dusty. Back out on the track east, the surface was often purely white quartz stone and then quartz intermingled with the red sandstone, ironstone and gibber. So it was for the entire 30 odd kilometres to the graphite valley turn off. We completed the 9 kilometres south into the Connaughton Hills along an often rough and rocky track that had suffered the ravages of the tumultuous rains of 2005 and 2006. There were some interesting creek crossings and climbs up eroded hillsides. We followed it in for 9.6 kilometres, past the end of the track shown on the Hema maps until a very steep washed out section had me deciding that discretion was the better part of valour and we turned about. On the return journey, I slipped the rear drivers wheel into a deep hole, bottoming the suspension and breaking the plastic guard interior. What a pathetically flimsy piece of plastic they use to stop debris flicking up to hit the fuel hoses! I was under the car for 20 minutes reattaching with new screws and bolts before we were again on our way. The track east from the Graphite Valley turnoff had seen a lot less use and we often found ourselves tentatively investigating other tracks before backtracking once again. We had to get out and search on two occasions to locate the track in rocky eroded areas but finally found our way to the turnoff situated to the south (below) Talbot soak.

From here the country changed immensely as we headed basically due east to the Parrnguur Community Road. The track crossed vast sandy plains that often supported glades of white gums. There were the occasional dunes but they were very small and far between and all running parallel to the track. The track did not see much traffic and in places had been eroded away or blocked by falling scrub necessitating a side trip around the obstacles. We saw numerous mobs of camels, all of 8 individuals or more. We also scared up the odd bustard. We reached the main north-south track right on 1:00 p.m. and headed north through the spinifex and scrub to Camel rock arriving at about 1.25 p.m. I was a bit disappointed by Camel rock finding it nothing more than a collection of boulders on a low hill. I cannot for the life of me think of a reason to call this feature “Camel Rock” other than the local dromedaries would no doubt wander past as they roam the region. We had lunch in the claypan that runs down the eastern side of the hill in the shade of a gum tree. There was a suitable place for camping in a glade of gums at the southern tip of the pan tucked into the lee of the large dune bordering the pan on its eastern side.

After lunch we headed back out and made our way south through the eastern end of the Connaughton Hills towards Parrngurr (Cotton Creek). The countryside was great as was the driving. We passed by Mount Eva and its rocky pinnacle at its southern end and then into Parnngurr itself entering at the top end of town. Having been to the place several times before I quickly found my way to the community centre and then out onto the main road, passing some other travellers heading in. I exchanged some info with them before heading down the luxuriously graded 22 kilometre stretch to the Talawana.

Reaching the Talawana intersection at 3.00 p.m., we turned left and headed east onto the vastly different stretch of road. The corrugations started out as being heavy with the odd rocky stretch as we entered the McKay Ranges. The Talawana follows the northern foothills of the McKay. Some distance down, to the north can be seen the Harbutt Range. The last 30 kilometres were as bad as those on any stretch of the Canning and we were down to 20 kph at times. The tyres were at 20psi rear and 17psi at front to assist the shockers. Even so it was a horror run down to the Canning. We were very please to arrive at Georgia Bore, somewhat later than expected but all in one piece.

In another pleasant surprise for the day we were amazed to find the changes wrought to the Georgia Bore precincts buy the Track Care group. The bore had been upgraded in October last year (2008) together with the instillation of a bore fed dunny, fire pits and camping areas. It was an amazing transformation since my last visit in 2007 and my hat goes off to them. The bore water is crystal clear and sweet, the amenities superior as Al couldn’t wait to attest to. I reckon he saves a few days worth rather than use the bomb aimers chair! I went over and filled my details into the visitors book then returned to enjoy horsedoovors and a refreshing bevvy by the fire as the sun set on the nearby ranges to the east.

Dinner was steak and vegies with apple surprise and custard for desert. The moon rise was amazing and the full moon now is bathing the entire area with enough light to see clearly by. No wonder Len Beadell said he often had trouble sleeping under his van due to the light reflecting from the spinifex during the full moon. I can fully believe it. The lurking dingo has shown itself as it skirts the camp waiting for all to go quiet. There are ample warnings about concerning his antics of pinching anything from the camps if they are left low enough for it to get to. Shoes and soap will be well up tonight!

''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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