Mud and Trees, challenges of the Southern Goldfields

Day 3 Camp along the way to Cave Hill,

Sunday, 24th January 2016

What a beautiful morning, the sun was shining and the only evidence of the overnight rains was a damp ground and a big pool of water on the awning. Packing up took a little longer though as we waited for the tent, awning and ground sheet to dry out a little.

We gave up on the idea of getting to Sunday Soak so headed toward Widgiemooltha. We turned onto the road we came in on last night and had only traveled about 50mts when we slid for about a meter down into a rut down. We had follow the same tyre marks that we had left from the day before but had not taken into account the rain from last night and the effect it would have on the track namely muddying it up. Oh well we turned the rear locker on and dropped into low range and in no time we where back on firm ground. After driving through one muddy bog hole we stopped to set up the car kettle for a cuppa and noticed all the leaf litter that had attached itself to the mud on the tyres and wound around the axle. We cleared it off and continued on.

We hit another section of mud about 100 meters long but got through this without too many problems. As we got closer to Chalice Mine we ending clearing about 6 trees from the track which shows that the track had not been used in a while.

A little over 4hrs later we arrived at Widgie, topped up the tank and the tummy with one of their great steak burgers with beetroot as standard 🙂

Today Widgiemooltha is recorded as an abandoned town however the roadhouse still operates and has a tavern and provides accommodation. They also make a mean burger and the new owners are very friendly. Like most of the goldfields region of WA gold was found near Widgie in the 1890’s and the town was gazetted in 1897 under the name Widgemooltha ( No I after the G ). In 1944 the spelling was changed to the current version. The name is derived from an Aboriginal word thought to be the name of a nearby hill and rock hole. It was during Australia’s depression that the largest nugget ever found in Australia was unearthed by a young 17 yr old lad who had only been prospecting for 2 days. The nugget was named the Golden Eagle Nugget and by today’s metric system it weight 32.2 kgs!!

Back on the road we headed for Cave Hill to camp for the night and pulled in by 3.30pm. After a short rest we set up camp. Cave Hill is another lovely spot to camp especially when it’s not crowded. It has eco toilets and bbqs. You can enjoy a walk to view the actual cave. In years gone by you walk into the cave but nowadays it’s off limits although you still get a reasonable view from the viewing platform. There are 3 separate camp grounds within the Cave Hill reserve. Cave Hill rock has several dams on top which still catch water. After tea and an enjoyable evening watching the sun set we retired. Tomorrow we head for home 🙁

Total Time : 5.46 Hrs
Total Distance: 121 kms

Maximum Speed : 103 KPH
Average Speed : 21 KPH

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