Mud and Trees, challenges of the Southern Goldfields

Day 2 McDermid Rock to Camp along the way,

Saturday, 23rd January 2016

We woke to the sound of birds busy getting their breaky so decided we should rise and get our breaky too. A twenty eight greeted us from his perch in a nearby tree. It was reasonably cool overnight with a heavy dew fall and it seems some spitfires were trying to dry out on our ground sheet. As we moved around camp our little bull skink friend popped out to grab some sun as well. It wasn’t long before we noticed that he?d seen the spitfires and actually taken one from the group and appeared to be squashing it ready for his breaky.

We turned on to the Old Hyden – Norseman Road and it wasn’t long before we came across our first mud puddle due to recent summer rains which also added water to some of the surrounding salt lakes. As the sun warmed up the day we saw many Painted Dragons scurrying across our path and we were happy to spot one sunning himself on a tree stump, almost posing for us. We were surprised to see more mud and water then we expected.

As we continued along we came across a few more mud and puddles and needed to use the winch twice. Sometimes you just get stuck, they don’t seem like much and some aren’t even deep but once the surface tension is broken they can suck you in pretty quickly.

We spotted a Common Bronzewing having a drink from one of the puddles, by the time we got the camera he was on his way.

We finally came across our first tree to clear for this run. It was a newly fallen tree not one of the older ones we were expecting to clear.

After using the Ozito Chainsaw and then finally the Warn Winch to drag the main trunk off the track we had cleared the tree out the way, first tree cleared for this trip. We continued on until we came across a point where we had to get off the Old Hyden – Norseman Road due to a section that was impassable. This was the cause of the Pajero popping its right hand wheel high into the air. Just shows that the Pajero will power over just about anything. Over the last couple of years we’ve seen the road deteriorate with each lot of rains.

The plan as we approached the end of the track near Norseman was to turn North and head almost to the Chalice Mine before turning to the east to pick the Mundale Track near Mundale Dome and then on to Sunday Soak. Just after turning North we came across a long mud/puddle which looked very treacherous, so stopped the Pajero, jumped out and took a look about. Sweet a go around on the right side, which we walked down for a couple of meters and it looked so smooth and solid. Decision made, we will take the go around. This is were we got a huge surprise as we passed about a meter in front of the point that we had walked to the Pajero literally nose dived into a pool of mud. Damm! the go around was just a mud filled pool with a hard surface of mud to temp the wary driver. Well the Cooper AT3s came to the rescue again with their great mud traction and we where able to go forward a meter, back up 2 meters, repeat and slowly work our way through the mud till we hit hard ground again. Mud, Mud and more Mud. Lesson learned. Walk the full length of any go around and make sure that the it’s not mud with a hard surface.

We reached the turn and headed towards the Mundale Track. The track started off being easy to see but after a few kms
the track started to petered out. Still traveling along it we came a across a log that needed to be move from the track and as the log was turned over we spotted a Giant Centipede in the damp crevice of the log so we took a photo and let him be (we turned the log back to its original facing with care not to squash the Giant Centipede ) Note: Take care Centipedes can have a poisonous bite. We continued on trying to pick up the track but couldn’t. As it was getting late in the day and light was fading fast we decided that we would head back to a spot we’d seen before and earmarked as a potential camp spot. We set up camp and settled in for the night, so too did a thunder storm. Solid rain for 4 or so hours. We drifted off to sleep listening to the rain and thunder and seeing the lightening flashes. We like the rain, but something was niggling at the back of my mind, oh well tomorrow is a new day.

Total Time : 10.23 Hrs
Total Distance: 98 kms

Maximum Speed : 85 KPH
Average Speed : 9 KPH

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