The Kimberley - To the Carson River and Drysdale Escarpment (near Kalumburu)

Saturday, Jul 24, 2010 at 07:00


July 23rd 2010
Barking Owl Camp
In the shadow of the Drysdale Escarpment

With Joc a fair way behind us, it was a reasonably leisurely start to the morning easing back out on to the Kalumburu Road and continued north. As expected, the road was rough and corrugated, just the way we like it. It was an enjoyable run with several river crossings along the way. On the wildlife front we disturbed a dingo and a bustard and there were plenty of cattle in the area.

We took a brief break for a cuppa at the Mitchell Falls turn-off. Once north of the Mitchell turn the road conditions improved somewhat as the amount of traffic using the road obviously diminished with the bulk making the left hand turn in towards the plateau and the King Edward River.

Reaching the Carson River crossing, we pulled into a shaded area against the bank and waited three hours for Joc and party to arrive. Communications indicated that he was stopping in at various stations along the way to hold court. The last of these would be Theda. As a consequence it was some three hours before his little convoy arrived. It wasn’t time wasted for us as Scotty and I fixed one of his Coopers and then explored along the many pools of the river. Some looked deep and inviting in the heat of the day but not knowing the local croc situation, we opted for the shallow pools closer to the road. Late in the day, Joc’s convoy finally arrived and we started the drive in. Joc continued on to Kalumburu to pay his respects, organise permits and catch up with Father Anscar McPhee at the mission. The remaining vehicle in his convoy, piloted by Ross and Sandy came in with us.

The road east was in good condition to the site of the old Carson River Homestead which sits on the bank of a large and picturesque stretch of water. There were heaps of wild cattle about and a dingo seems to have made the area about the homestead his permanent patch. Some distance past the old homestead, we took a turn to the right and headed east towards Bulldust Yard. If one were to continue straight on along the main track, it would take them up to the Drysdale and then onto the King George Sound. Once at Bulldust Yard, we were on our own as far as creating a track into the Drysdale was concerned. This responsibility fell to Jaydub who retained some plots and tracks from his visit to the area last year. There were some interesting moments as he wound a route in amongst the tightly packed trees. Quite often there was less than a coat of paint between the sides of my vehicle and the tree trunks. Due to the extended length of the Tuck-Truck, I was forced to reverse on more than one occasion and try a better angle through the confined scrub.

Cautiously negotiating the riverine scrub we eventually made our way to a point beside the Drysdale. The bush was thick and while we were in an elevated position many meters above the river, it was quite obvious that this area becomes inundated during the wet. Noting the water borne detritus stuck in the trees five metres or so above our heads, I had no doubt as to just how wide and ferocious this river could get draining the wet season rains off the escarpment.

It was well and truly dark by this time so no time was wasted in getting vehicles located and a site chosen for the camp kitchen area. A fire was underway and after a bit of dinner, we enjoyed time around the fire with our new friends. Tomorrow will no doubt bring a familiarisation of the immediate area and a proper camp set-up.

''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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