THURSDAY 15 JULY GEMTREE
With a full tank of fuel, we set out to drive the Pinnacles Bore track to the Arltunga road and then back along the Cattlewater Pass track – a circuit.
We had to drive out to the Mud Tank fields first, then kept going – south west for a while, then south, then south east. It was interesting country, always with hills and ranges somewhere, and a fairly good track. South of Mud Tank there were rather dramatic outcroppings of quartz in the hills.
We stopped a lot to look at birds. Saw the Australian Buzzard in the wild.
Another stop was at the Pinnacles Bore – by Gillen Creek. This is cattle country, though for much of the way the pickings looked fairly meagre to me. The stocking rate would be pretty low, I reckon. But the little mob of cattle we saw at the Pinnacles Bore looked in good condition.
Further on was another stop. This time it was to pick two bucketfuls of paddy melons, for the caravan park. There was a notice up at the Office saying they needed more, for the weekly paddy melon bowls.
We ate lunch in the dry bed of the Hale River, near The Gardens HS, watched by more cattle.
This was arid country, very stony and quite different to the Gemtree area. Nonetheless, it had a dramatic beauty and was always interesting.
I had the think that the name “The Gardens” was an irony!
Took a rough track, looking for the remains of the Winnecke Mine, where there were supposed to be some ruins left from gold mining days. But our map was vague. We drove 11kms – slowly. It was interesting country, but we didn’t see the ruins and I am not even sure we were on the right track.
By the time we retraced the way back to The Gardens track, it was too late to continue around the circuit we’d planned – since the 4WD Cattlewater Pass track was supposed to be slow going. John was not happy about it, but I persuaded him to go back the way we had come, past The Pinnacles bore. As it was, we got back to Gemtree at 4.30pm. Earlier, he’d said that was the time he wanted to be back. Had we continued on, as planned it would have been after dark when we got back. Not the time to be out on these tracks! So I thought we’d made the right decision.
The managers were very pleased with the paddy melons.
We drove a total of 177kms.
Tea was soup, rissoles, snow peas, cauliflower with cheese sauce. That is the last of the pea and ham soup.
I loved today’s drive and the country we traversed – elemental, mysterious in parts, beautiful. After Mud Tank, we saw no other people – exploring this country without others about adds to the experience.