Rudall River - Exploring Hidden Valley and Outback Al's death march into the Broadhursts

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 00:00

Mick O

Sunday 20th June, 2010
Desert Queen Baths - Rudall River

It was another warm night. I had left my four pairs of trousers soaking overnight and managed to get them rinsed out before breakfast. Looks like it’ll be a hot one today. The sun had some early bite in it! I decided on a cook up for brekkie so out came the bacon and eggs. The flies are oppressive so you have to be quick. Al has decided to lead a walk into Middle pool this morning so he set off at about 0930 accompanied by Michael and Gaby. We fluffed about a bit with the quads as Scott got his computer set-up working and then we headed out retracing my steps to the monster dunes located the previous day. A mob of camels greeted us as we reached the base of the dunes and didn’t hang around heading east at a fair but ungainly clip. We crested the first dune and my companions grew more astounded as the vista of dunes, like ever increasing waves became apparent stretching to our north. We all managed to get to the top of the second dune and then followed the ridgeline along to the high point and its amazing views to the west. Everyone was awed. The sun was at the right angle today so the scene was amazing. In the valley below, a mob of 7 camels stood in the shade beneath scattered gums. We slid down the northern side of

the dune face (a controlled slide is what I like to call it) and then made our way to the cleft like valley a short distance to the north west. Leaving the quads in the shade of a tree at the gorge mouth, we explored inward on foot climbing along its length and detecting plenty of signs of flowing water from times past but unfortunately nothing remaining in the many small pools and crevasses.

Returning to the quads, we rode back out and around the base of the dune to gain access into Hidden Valley valley to the west. On cresting the hills the mob of curious camels had come somewhat closer prompting me to “follow” them for some distance. One came unstuck and I nearly collided with it in a cloud of dust as it got to its feet and headed east. Fun over, we travelled a zig zag course along the valley floor checking out rills and gullies running out of the surrounding hills. John had to make a phone call or two at one stage leaving us to contemplate just how far we’ve come with modern technology and communications in the last decades.

The valley floor was a mixture of sandy expanse and then rocky sandstone with patches of quartz. Towards the western end the sand gave way entirely to quartz, the ground changing in colour from deep red to brilliant and blinding white. Thank god for the sunnies! At the end of the valley we popped into the main Broadhurst valley and some familiar landmarks. At one point we located a massive outcrop of pure quartz and later, while crossing a creek, a reef of iron pyrites (fools gold) lay exposed and blazing in the sun. I’d stopped in the shade offered by a spindly gum to await Scotty. On looking down I saw a lump of quartz flecked through with gold. Most interesting. Nearby a creek cut a deep path through the country making it difficult to negotiate but on doing so, we found a dazzling reef of fools gold. It was almost blinding with the amount of sunlight it reflected.

From there it wasn’t a long hop back to the main track and our camp arriving around 1.30 p.m. and quickly downing a cold drink and a bit of lunch. The hikers had not yet returned. I took care of a few domestic chores about the place over the next hour or two and assisted JW in trying to reseat a reluctant tyre. The hikers arrived back later in the afternoon weary and unfulfilled. The elusive middle pool remains just that, elusive. They also failed to find the art site at the big dry pool despite 5 hours of walking. All collapsed for a nana nap before heading down to the 3 goannas Pool for a last farewell. Our solitary neighbours joined us, Whitton (and Phil) who were having a respite from the Canning and doing a bit of exploring before heading back down the Talawana to Georgia bore and continuing on south down the Canning.

A can night was called and I managed to wash the clothes I had been wearing for a couple of days therefore putting me on a clean slate clothing wise. It’s a warm night again but a cool breeze is bringing some relief. We pack-up tomorrow and head off to chart a course towards Darlsen Pinnacle.

''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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