Gibson Desert - Heather Hwy Bushcamp 20 km south of the Gunbarrel

Wednesday, Aug 02, 2006 at 00:00


Wednesday 2nd August,
Heather Hwy, W.A
Bush camp 20 km south of Gunbarrel Hwy

There is nothing romantic about outback travel over corrugations let me tell you. After a day of hard slogging over mounds that bore more resemblance to the foothills of the Andes than an “Outback Highway”, we both need an appointment with the dentist to replace our fillings. We saw them all today, big, bigger & biggest! At one point we were that incredulous at the size of the monsters that we got out and measured them. Twenty (20) centimetres high and over 1 metre apart. Vehicle wreckers indeed.

We were up early, namely 6 bells. A roaring fire, jaffles and tea, the vehicle packed and we were back on the track to “The Gary” by 7.45 a.m. Not too long after we were headed south again on the 70 km stretch to the Gunbarrel. We amused ourselves by stopping and pulling the fallen trees from the track thereby clearing it and completing our civic duty for the day. Plenty of camel sign on the road again but no surprises. We reached the junction of the Gunbarrel in time for morning tea. There is a visitors book there now, again provided by Connie Sue Beadell on her tours.

From here we headed west along a very corrugated and washed out track. The Gunbarrel should be called the “Double Barrel” because of all the side tracks aimed at avoiding the worst of the corrugations. At times there were four or five side tracks, each corrugated to some extent and all sections variously crossing each other like some mad woman’s plaiting exercise! Lunch was taken atop Mt Beadell. Things have changed significantly here since my first visit in 1985. You can drive to the top of the hill now. There is also a memorial and information sign dedicated to Len Beadell. A replica surveyors theodolite sits in a cage atop the hill as a testimonial to him also.

Several kilometres on and the sign to Camp Beadell indicates that the site is “under new management”. My decision to visit was rewarded with a new hand pump and bore…fresh water of excellent quality so we took on 35 litres. Long showers tonight. We continued on the beaten track, enduring appalling conditions. The corrugations were so bad that I ended up letting down the tyres further to 22 and 27 psi respectively to attempt to alleviate some of the impact. It did help somewhat.Heaven help if we hit a big rock or washout though.

The route allowed us to continuously add to our Len Beadell plaque photo collection. Knowing that a camp was coming up earlier today, we kept an eye out for suitable trees and collecting timber along the way. The Heather was indeed wider but again corrugated beyond belief and was also washed out in many areas. Having had the bleep shaken out of us we decided to pull over a bit earlier today thus, a suitable site was found at 3:00 p.m. and camp was set up. These early stops are a much better idea. A roaring fire, JT did the washing again while I cooked in the daylight. Indian tonight. Lamb Rogan Josh with pickles and chutney, yoghurt and pappadams.Good campsite.

''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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