SATURDAY 5 AUGUST HONEYMOON BEACH TO MITCHELL PLATEAU 229kms
We were woken early by campground noises and so were up at 6.15am.
There was water, so I was able to have a shower and wash my hair, which made me feel much better.
We worked steadily on the pack up and left about 8.40, after stopping off at the shed/office to say goodbye. Les and R had already gone out on the boat with a fishing party, so we only saw his wife and daughter.
Today’s was another mass exodus. By the time we left, there was only one remaining group.
After yesterday, it felt good to be going. Apparently, there was to be a corroboree and a celebration for the Sisters – some sort of anniversary – in town tonight, and we could have gone to that. It might have been interesting. But we hadn’t found out about it until we were packed up, and by then we were very focussed on going.
The driving was alright – it seemed ages since we had done that!
Not far from town, drove past burning bush, not far from the road. We assumed it was the normal dry season burning, done by the locals, to deter fierce fires later in the season, by reducing fuel availability, in an ad hoc sort of pattern.
The road condition was rather varied. THE problem creek crossing had been worked on and partly filled in. A pile of earth covered where the rock had been, and a big stick marked the way. Road repairs Kalumburu style!
We called in at Theda Station, briefly. I bought grapefruit, some used books that were for sale, and a postcard.
Next stop was at the King Edward River, for lunch. We had to ford the river to reach the camp ground and stopping place beside the river. The ford was 40-50cms deep and quite rough, though not all that wide.
The area was most picturesque and we would both really like to spend some time camped there, so we decided to do that after we’d been to the Mitchell Plateau.
After lunch, found where D and R were camped, and exchanged home addresses, which we’d forgotten to do at Honeymoon.
It took us two hours to drive from the King Edward River to the Mitchell Falls camp area – 85kms. The track was corrugated, stony, rough, winding, and needed much concentration. Hazards such as sharp corners were not signposted. The road camber was wrong in parts too.
For some of the way, the track followed a ridge line, and there were some distant views out across the scrubland. After some 60kms, we came to the small, but boggy crossing of Camp Creek. On our ’93 trip, we’d camped a little distance from the Mitchell Plateau track, beside Camp Creek. The area looked different from what we remembered, and I thought the track route may have slightly changed. Back then ,there was a rather confusing maze of tracks around here. From there, we’d gone to Crystal Creek, the most northerly spot on the Plateau able to be reached by vehicle. We had not turned off the Port Warrender track to go to Mitchell Falls, which were hardly flowing that year. This time, only a couple of kms beyond Camp Creek, we turned left for the Falls. So, the 15kms of the track to the Falls camp are was new for us.
There had recently been a big fire through some of that country – it was quite desolate in parts.
It was just after 3pm when we reached the campground. It was a hot day, but the travel had created a bit of a breeze through the windows.
The camp area was bigger than I expected and not as crowded as I’d feared. However, it was rather barren, rocky and hot, but would do for our purpose of a place to camp whilst visiting the Falls. There were a few composting toilets. At least, it was free to stay here.
We had passed a number of vehicles going out as we were coming in – obviously some people do it as a day trip from King Edward River. It would be a hard day, driving that road twice, not to mention the walk to the Falls – 3kms each way.
We set up the small tent, easily enough.
After setting up, we walked to the creek to get water and then up to the pilots’ base to enquire about helicopter flight options and costs. Found out that there are currently three helicopters based here. We decided to buy a 12 minute flight from the Falls back to camp, as an anniversary present to ourselves. It would cost $100 each, or $60 if they get another two passengers.
Three years ago, to this day, John went into hospital for his hip operation. That was one anniversary. The other is our wedding one, coming up in five days.
Tea was tinned ham, potato, some salad.
At night, there was a feeling of some coolness in the air.