Karlamilyi (Rudall River) - An apocalyptic drive to the Gary Junction (Via Telfer and K-Mart!)

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 22:10


Sunday 8th July, 2012
Gary Junction Road-Gary Highway intersection

A bright, sunny and absolutely still morning. It was so still that the smoke from our neighbours fire hung across above their camp like a narrow band of cloud. We took advantage of the early start though and were out onto the rough track westerly to the main Rudall Road by 07:30 a.m. It was a slow but picturesque grind out of DQB to the main track and then north towards Telfer. The Kintore Uranium operation is still going strong although I don’t know to what stage they are currently at in the development cycle. We called in and checked the top hand pump which was operating well and producing good quality water. Then it was north and out via the Coolbro Creek, Moses Chair and the usual landmarks. The road was sandy but in relatively good condition to Telfer. It was a great drive through the Patterson Range. We did not bother to visit Xmas pool this time. I nearly hit a speeding driver who had been heading south from Telfer in a mine ute. Just why they insist on travelling at 80 miles an hour on dirt tracks is beyond me.

Our arrival at Telfer was cause for a morning tea break and then some serious internet time over the cuppa and a piece of cake. We managed to miss the short cut through (Dome camp Road) to the main Telfer Mine Road (Kidson Track) so headed west along what is arguably the best dirt road in Australia to the Kidson. From here it was turn of 180 degrees to start heading east through familiar dunes and wide swales. Road was generally in good condition with it improving no end down towards Lake Auld as the grader driver was in the area. There were a couple of dead camels on the track near the Wapet intersection, very recently shot by the looks of them. We climbed out of the Auld basin and passed the rocky knoll and camp sites of years past. Them air was thick with smoke as a result of the many fires burning across the region. The drive had a post apocalyptic feel at times with huge mushroom clouds of smoke in the distance. There was no wind today and the light was eerie as only a bushfire sky can provide.

We paused for lunch in the old campsite just west of Punmu and then on. The dam was full of water and the site looks a lot better than it did when we stayed on our westward trek of 2010. On towards Kmart, passing the grader driver and catching up on conditions further east. I was still running on the rear tank which impressed me. We passed K-mart and were straight onto the Jenkins Track to the junction of the Gary Junction Road and Gary Highway. It was late in the afternoon by the time we reached the intersection but we noted Mog tracks coming in off the Gary. We found a camp in the acacia nearby and scavenged enough wood for a fire. Suzette and I cooked up a mighty feed of cabbage and bacon to have with Mick O’s rissoles. A good Bottle of pinot gringo and a night of star watching before calling it quits and crawling into the warmth of the Roof Top Taj.

(A word to the wise....if you are planning on spending the night in the vicinity of the Gary Junction-Gary Highway intersection, there are quite a few good spots to camp sheltered by a belt of acacia. Just be sure to pick up some firewood prior to arrival at the site as timber is fairly scarce and the damage being caused to the local environment by the uncaring is disturbing! Do the right thing! Cheers Mick)

''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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