Mt Moffatt – Injune – Lonesome

5th April – Slept well last night it was also a bit warmer. While we waiting for the canvas to dry from the dew we chatted a bit more to one of our neighbours before packing up and then having morning tea.

Chimneys The-Chimneys

On the way out we stopped at the Chimneys Circuit. A 5.8 km walk leading to the Looking Glass, Cathedral Rock, The Chimneys and The Tombs. We had done this area before so we just did the short walk to The Chimneys.

We had lunch at Injune, filled up the water at the info centre and got some info. The Injune council is building a new caravan park just coming into Injune on the Roma side. In the mean time they are letting people camp at Possum Creek (I think, Possum something) has showers, toilets and power for $12 a night.

Next stop was fuel. We were told by someone that the fuel depot was cheaper than the BP fuel in the main St and it was, $1.53, several cents cheaper.

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We headed out towards Expedition National Park, Lonesome Section. Someone had said to us it was lonesome at Lonesome, fine by us. There are no facilities, smallish camp area at the base of some cliffs in a bush setting. There is Telstra Next G when plugged into an aerial. Some great scenic views and all to ourselves. We did have light rain late yesterday and early evening but it was fine but overcast when we got up.

20130405 Lonesome Section

Mt Moffatt – Day 3

4th April – We had a bit of a restless night last night what with dingoes howling on and off all night and a very late camper arriving at 12.30am at night.

Rotary-Shelter-ShedRotary-Shelter-Shed-view

Day trip today up to Top Shelter Shed, 4wd drive only up to a picnic area which is at the level of the old surface of the Buckland Volcano. The camping area Rotary Shelter Shed is also up there. The road is rocky and has lots of drainage mounds. Great views at Rotary Shelter Shed camping area, looks like find a spot wherever you can. Not a big area would be cold at night. Did have a shelter area and toilet.

Top-Shelter-Shed Top-Shelter-Shed-view

Amazing views at the Top Shelter shed, was lovely to have morning tea and lunch and lookout at the views. There is no toilet but there is water and table and chairs. Can just get Telstra Next G with the phone plugged into an aerial.

On the way you pass Kenniff Lockout, the notorious Kenniff brothers are said to have used the peak as their lookout.

Mahogany-Forest

From the Shelter Shed its a few km’s to Mahogany Forest and the head of Carnarvon Creek. Well it’s supposed to be 4 km’s but we clocked it at over 6 km’s not much to see at the head of the creek but it’s a lovely drive. We had a fleetly glance of some wild brumbies.

The road to the Murder and Incineration site was closed. The “Murder Site” where it is believed the brothers James and Patrick Kenniff murdered Constable George Doyle and station manager Christian Dahlke in 1902. The Incineration Site is where it is believed the brothers cremated the bodies of Doyle and Dahlke, all a bit grim.

Next stop was Marlong Arch, a short walk from the road. Lots of trees in the area so hard to photography just the arch.

Marlong-Arch Marlong-Arch-1

We caught up with both our neighbours and had a good chat to both of them. The late comers in the wee hours were 2 brothers that had just been out to Birdsville for the 200th edition of 4wd Action. They had us in fits of laughter complaining about the flies and heat.

20130404 Top Shelter Shed

Day 7 – Wed 3rd

I slept sitting up all night but I slept and so did Chris. We were joking how the people in the powered sites above us would be looking at the van and car thinking heck where have they been. We headed up for a shower and were amazed at how dirty the car and van were. As we walked up a lady said hello and asked where we had been, we said Mt Moffat and with that another guy came out his van and wanted to know all about our adventure. A small crowd started to gather and we told our tales of woe and dread and our courage and determination to get through (hee hee). One bloke was planning to head out to Mt Moffat today but decided against it. The ranger had told him you might get in but you won’t get out.After our shower we went to the info centre to pay for a couple of nights here. The lady had heard of our tales and saw the state of the van, all were amazed we got through. You just have to mention Mt Moffat to the locals and they raise the eye brows and say you won’t get out there and how lucky we were to get out.

Muddy-1 Muddy-2

Yesterday was very stressful, we can have a laugh about it now and we have one heck of a story to tell but it still sends shivers down our spine and we are the talk of the town. The lady at the Info centre made sure we got a powered site tonight, she said we deserved it. The van is supposed to be semi off road but after yesterday mate it’s an off road van. It held together really well, the fridge shelf came off again, doesn’t like those corrugations. And considering the conditions the Jack did very well as well. I’m really proud of Chris he did really great job getting us out. I had some new experiences yesterday towing us out of the bogs and was really proud of myself for getting us out of it but I said to Chris lets not do that again.

Muddy

We pulled the van out to the local wash down area for the trucks, to give the van a good hose down. We were waiting behind a cattle truck for ages, and then a local Ute came and went in another spot we didn’t know about. The truckie then comes over and tells us the high pressure hose he is using needs a special key and we need to use the wash area the Ute is using. So after waiting for an hour we finally got to hose down the vehicles, mud was caked on really thick but gee under all the mud there was van under there and even some gas bottles. We both got wet and muddy cleaning it all down. We came back to our site and had another one of those lovely showers.

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We will check the road conditions tomorrow; it is supped to rain tonight, tomorrow and then clear on Friday. From now on this epic adventure is now called Chris and Kate’s peaceful adventure.We are using today to clean up, washing has been down, inside the van cleaned, car cleaned and mats as best they can be. Water is filled up and we will be ready to hit the road to Carnarvon tomorrow we hope. We have been asking the locals about the weather and road conditions as that can also become impassable and we didn’t want to be stuck at the park out there unable to do anything. Injune is supposed to get a lot of rain tonight and tomorrow. The guy at the Newsagent, come chemist come nursery rang his mate who lives out that way to ask about conditions. It was raining out that way at the time. The guy at the shop looked at the radar for us and even told us to come and have a look. Every one here is very friendly and wants us to stay in Injune a few nights, properly because we are buying a few things here. We bought some more washing powder and tissues and the tissues must have extra healing power, well they better have at over $5 a box, also had to get some more Sudafed type stuff. Fingers crossed I am over the worst of this.

Day 6 – Tue 2nd

Another night sitting up, I am so over this cold. The weather was overcast again, we decided we would pull out. We got a wee bit distracted by some Emus passing through the camp so went of in chase with cameras in hand. Then Chris saw a Blue Headed Honeyeater nest so we got further distracted. We didn’t pull out of Mt Moffat until about 11.30am

Well what a trip, it seems as if the road out had more rain than we did at the camp ground, as it wasn’t long in the trip out we got bogged (the first time) The road was very slippery in places and the car and van were sliding all over the road, van one way car the next, very hard for the Jackaroo to get traction. Going up a hill we got bogged, the van was being pulled into a bank on the right hand side. Chris was working out how to get us out when I suggested we drive on the bank as it wasn’t high and had nice firm ground with grass. Chris checked it out and yep up we were pulling all the way up, yippee. As we headed off with the car sliding everywhere.

Muddy-Road1

We get to another hill and we got bogged again, this time good and proper. We had to unhook the van which was across the road and to get the Jackaroo out, which was a feat in itself. Once up the top on firming ground, or so we thought, Chris tied up a long rope (3 loops worth) to the car and van. Chris grabbed the last lot of it before we left saying to me never know this could come in handy. I drove the Jack and Chris would direct the van with the jockey wheel. The Jack was sliding all over the place; I was pulled sideways instead of forward. We did manage to move the van several meters and over the right side of the road but also into a bit of a gutter. Oh it started to rain just as we got bogged and poor Chris was out there in the mud, no shoes and soaking wet. We could hear thunder all around us and the sky was looking pretty black. The Van was stuck and after 3 hours of trying all sorts of things and moving the Jack to one spot then another, just churning up the road, a local farmer finally came along. The only car was saw on the road the whole trip out. He had a Landcruiser Ute with mud tyres on and was able to get a better grip. He had a winch but it wasn’t working so we had to tie our rope to his Ute and he pulled us out. We were so grateful for his help. We asked him what the road conditions were like up ahead and what the weather forecast was. He said he didn’t want to say. 40ml was forecast for tomorrow and then another 40ml the next day, he said we would get another 30km before we hit 2 gullies and then 2km of really bad boggy mud he reckon we would not get through. His advice was to find a spot to pull off the road and stay there the week. Well we didn’t like that idea and knew if we didn’t get out today we were going to be stuck.

Muddy-Road Opps

So we decided to at least go as far as we could and pullover if necessary. Again we were slipping and sliding every where but we kept going, we also knew the road was better up the other end, more sand and less black dirt. We passed a nice spot we could have stopped for the night and looked at each other and said what do we do, it was now or never, or a week, so we went for it. Literally 500m up the road going up a hill again we got bogged once more. We unhooked, took the car up the hill, luckily not a big hill and very firm on top. The van was right across the road on an angle and the road in front was really churned up, pictured to prove it. We hooked the rope up, under Chris’s direction I went for it in the Jack, I was sliding sideways, but kept at it and then the van moved, and moved and up we came. Chris was telling me to keep moving but I was worried about running him over, he said he nearly slipped a few times, Gee that would have been good, him face down in the mud and I take the van right over the top of him. Of course it started to rain at the same time again.

Gully Mud

All up and hooked up and we headed off again agreeing Chris would get out and check any suss spots in the road before we hit it. We got to the 2 gullies the farmer told us about. Chris got out and checked out the water going across the whole road and quite wide and nearly up to his knee. He checked out the hill going up the other side and then the other gully and decided we could get through as it was reasonably firm underneath. He pretty well floored it, water went over top of the Jack but up up and through it we went. Then we came across this 2km of black mud the farmer said about. We stopped and had a good look and a good think and decided there was no where for us to go but forward. It was slipping and sliding all the way through, a few firm bits in places that gave us a chance to straighten up, we did it got through, but gee if we had got stuck there we would have been stuck.

We kept moving forward now trying to beat the light, any holes or corrugations we just hit them head on, couldn’t take the chance of slowing down and getting stuck. Cows were on the road in places, we just had to toot the horn and hoped they moved. This road also has lots of cow grids which often seemed to have muddy bits on either side. The van and car would be slipping slide ways and some how Chris would manage to straighten the vehicles up so we could go through straight. It was bad enough doing this in daylight but the even harder in the dark, the only good thing was the road had improved a bit. We did the last 30min in the dark and counting down the km’s. Both of us feeling very stressed. My tummy was in knots. The carpet in the Jack was all muddy and the pedals were a couple of inches higher, we knew by this stage we were going to make it km by km.

Slippery-Road

Then we hit it the bitumen, we could have got out and kissed it. We stopped and checked the van all seemed ok but gee it was filthy. We had come through the longest 90km of dirt road we had ever been on, took us over 7hrs to do it. We still had another 70km of bitumen to Injune; it was black as black out there, overcast and no moon. Roo’s and other animals were right on the edge of the road so it was 60km all the way in the dark. We went through a few flood ways that served to wash the vehicles down a bit. We eventually made it into Injune, stressed and tired and filthy 8 ½ hrs after we had left Mt Moffat.

We set up camp, found the gas bottles in the mud to turn them on, we lost our little spirit levels somewhere and the clamp for the dolly wheel is bent and now a little suss. Thank goodness Injune Caravan Park has great showers, Chris just about had to soak, mud all up his legs, feet were caked in it, shorts and shirts were muddy and wet. His thongs were a huge mess and took a lot of cleaning up. We just had some pancakes for tea and retired to bed exhausted.

Day 5 – Mon 1st

What a rotten night sleep, I had to sit up all night due to coughing. It also rained during the night and thoughts of will we get out crossed my mind, as they say in wet weather the road becomes impassable.

The plan today was to head up to the 4wd part of the park up to Rotary Shelter shed also go past the ranger station and info centre, also check out the other camp ground vans are supposed to be able to get into. All went according to plan part from going up to the shelter shed; we got 4 km’s up the 12km road and came across a bad muddy patch that we couldn’t get up. We then went back to the van and had the arvo just relaxing and reading mags, the weather was overcast but not raining. We did decide that if the weather was the same tomorrow we would head out early.

Day 4 – Sun 31st

We have had a busy day. In the morning we went to Marlong Arch. This is a natural sandstone arch that doesn’t look like it’s staying up there by much. A chain saw could have come in handy as trees were in the way of the photo we wanted to take. Still took lots of shots of this amazing feature. After that we went to Lot’s Wife. This is a tall pillar of sandstone, it’s funny seeing it sticking up all on it’s own in the middle of the trees, goes up a long way. We then took a drive out to Marlong Plain as it is supposed to be a good place to see the sunset as it lights up the sandstone cliffs. We didn’t think it was much, on the way back out we saw an Emu with 6 little chicks, the chicks ran and mum position herself in between until she knew they were safe, very cute. We headed back to the van for lunch and saw a lizard sunning itself on the road, yep we took some photos before it got fed up of us and moved away.

Lots Wife

After lunch we went to the looking glass which was back towards the entrance of the park so back down the bumpy road. The looking glass is a hole through an isolated pillar, you can see trees through the other side. Back to the car for a drink, it was quite hot and giving my cold a work out. We then went to the 3 Chimneys, three pillars of rock separated from the others standing there like chimneys. We had the wide 10-22mm lens and our long lenses but neither were quiet right from where we stood. So Chris gets the idea to make our way up to the pillars which we did coughing and all but the wide angle was perfect up there. Nice clouds behind them, blue sky and well lit up from the sun. We had just worked our way back down when more clouds came over and the nice lighting went.

The Chimmenys

After another long drink we headed back and went home, well kind of via a 15km 4wd road that seemed better than the so called main road that all cars can use with the corrugations. At the end of the 15km was another camp ground, called Top Moffatt Campground that is very nice, green grass and very isolated. There was a creek crossing on the way in so hence the 4wd track.

We think we are the only ones, apart from the ranger in the whole park. We got a fire going and the plan was to have a relax in front of the fire eat tea before a quick shower and view our photos, but bad wind came up, so we had to desert our fire for the night.

Day 3 – Sat 30th

I had more hours sleep but a cough has set in and woke during the night with a really tight chest and unable to breath out of the nose. Had to have Sudafed and use the Asthma puffer during the night. We picked up some cough medicine, Vicks and a few other medical stuff to hopefully help me. Looks like it is Asthma bought on by the cold, at time of writing I have pretty well lost my voice and I cough if I try and talk. Hope I feel better soon.

We left Injune around 10am on our way to Mt Moffat National Park. First 70km are bitumen; the next 90km is dirt. Oh we saw another Echidna crossing the road, this one quite quick, we stopped and raced out to have a look as we got close he stuffed his head under some grass, I have a photo of his butt.

The dirt road in is pretty rough. The first half is sandy and the going wasn’t too bad, the second half was terrible. Lots of corrugations, things were moving around a lot in the car so we stopped and checked the van several times. A  shelf in the fridge had fallen off but no damage. 2 eggs had cracked but Chris had them for lunch so no waste.

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There is an old hut and cattle yards on the way which we stopped and took a few photos, not good lighting though so we will stop on the way out. We got here around 3pm that included stopping for morning tea and lunch, it’s a slow trip in, but we made it. Oh we passed or should I say ran over the top of one lucky goanna. It just ran straight in front of us, we think it went in front of the left front tyre and behind the right front tyre, must have taken some skin off.

Old-Fence Old-Hut

Wow, yep that’s what we said when we pulled into Dargonelly Rock Hole Camping area. A good size bush grass area along the creek with birds whizzing about every where. There is one other camper who is leaving tomorrow. It is so peaceful here beautiful blue sky surrounded by trees and the only noise coming from the many birds flying around. While we were having a cuppa and some slice, 2 cheeky magpies kept coming up, trying to get any crumps. One flew onto my foot stool, so I got some crumps and hand fed it, then it hopped onto my legs. I shooed it away but it came back and then decided that my toes looked good enough to eat so it had a nibble, cheeky thing. After a cuppa we had a walk around and a good chat to the bloke camping on his own.

Dargonally-1

After a very yummy tea we went looking for frogs, found a few very small ones but not a lot. It’s a very mild night out there. We have been surprised how warm it has been so far. On the way in we kept seeing these holes made by some creature on the road, in groups, we thought they were too big for ants but on our walk tonight we saw lots of little ants coming out of the holes. They must be nocturnal ants as they didn’t like the torch and they weren’t out during the day.

The new set up with the table and chairs is working a treat. Apart from the brakes the only other issue we had had is getting food out of the new freezer. I was so concerned about just getting the food in I didn’t put a lot of thought to what order it went in, was hoping it would just sort it self out as we ate our way through it. But Murphy’s Law dictates the thing you want has to be right down the very bottom and when you have pulled it out all the food you didn’t want to falls in the hole. Push here and there and we managed to get the lid down quick.