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Mt Webber - Day 15 n 16 n 17

Pebble mice to dingo howls

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Another day off into the bush to camp by a large lagoon in the Mt Webber station countryside.
Prior to leaving Weeli Wolli, we climbed the banded iron cliff face to wander along the tabletop that was littered with rocks. One of the group, who had been walking along the top previously, had found three pebble mouse nests all within the one area. He did find another nest earlier, which appeared to be more active, but was unable to find it again. This species of mouse is endemic to the non-coastal, central and eastern parts of the Pilbara, and while it may be prolific we didn't see so much as a scratching!04e2b300-a94a-11e8-8261-53349e85886b.jpg04d08a90-a94a-11e8-bacc-17dcb4d5eb9e.jpg20180711_100037.jpg
We were however not short - changed as the rock people amongst us found very lovely specimens of banded iron and commenced to bring back with them the results of their finds. 20180711_101056.jpg
On leaving Weeli Wolli we arrived at our next spot within a couple of hours and set up camp against the back drop of the passing road trains hauling the ore to the railway siding way off into the distance.Those that sleep more lightly than us said it went on throughout the nite. On our way in we were held up for around five minutes while we waited for one of those very long iron ore trains to pass by. No such thing as wilderness!
On arrival we were greeted to the wonderful site of a pelican taking flight alongside two or three white spoonbills. The bird life was fantastic and the camp stood still while everyone grabbed cameras and the like. We were lucky to witness the evening parade as birds came down to the water and a flock of corellas squawked its way into settling on a large beautiful white gum. Movement by one of us sent the whole flock off into the sunset and the deafening roar by the birds told us in no uncertain words what they thought of us! 4d6bee30-aa98-11e8-ad09-6bd3578e764b.jpg4d5d2120-aa98-11e8-bb66-53e4e6394995.jpg20180712_154452.jpg20180712_104005.jpg20180712_165815.jpg
We were able to wander down the waterway further and found the site where early Afghans must have camped with the evidence of a very large palm tree embedded in the water course.20180712_171342.jpg20180712_171412.jpg20180712_171511.jpg
Later into the night we were serenaded by a couple of packs of wild dogs or dingoes who howled away eerily into the night. This didn't make one feel overly comfortable whilst having another cold shower which was located some distance away from the crowd clustered around the camp fire. We decided to bring in the rubbish just in case.
Day 16
We woke to the sounds of camp chatter, one hour later than the normal 7.30am, and much warmer than we had experienced earlier; made for quick exit from bed. With all the bird life around us we eventually decided to spend the day at camp checking out the wild life. A list of the birds would reach over 20 varieties but the corellas, galahas, budgies and weerios made the most noise while a dozen odd cormorants, darters and herons gracefully perched most of the day in one spot providing a great opportunity for photographers. We were delighted by nesting families of zebra and painted finches, who visited our campfire coals for a nibble, while the odd whistling kite flew overhead sending all and sundry into panic modes.
It was a great day and one that we needed. just relaxing, reading, bird spotting, washing etc. One soul braced the water in the lagoon but I continued being brave and subjected myself to a kettle of hot water mixed with a bucket of cold. Who needs glamping!
Having rested up a day we then decided to go out and try our luck with a bit of gold prospecting along an old mining road. Needless to say we took a while getting there as the wild flowers were engaging and the creek bed, while devoid of water, supplied many more interesting rocks to collect. 20180713_115523.jpgThe more enthusiastic amongst us finally got serious with the gold hunting and walked three metres off the road and gave it a whirl. Much excitement was noted very quickly and the small crowd surrounding the machine was keen to dig up the dirt - their effort was a tin can! End of gold prospecting and off we went in search of diggings and more flora further up the hill.20180713_125002.jpg20180713_121637.jpg20180714_114616.jpg
On our way back to camp we decided to deviate and go check out a caravan we could see in the distance. The old tract took us through old creek beds and up over spinifex country until the road petered out and we didn't want to chance further travel given the time. Several energetic walkers took off over the hills and dales till they got to the site which looked to be derelict with the caravan in a run down state. After exploring the site they deduced it to be an old gold mine that had been reworked but was now quiet. It was certainly an odd site - a caravan out in the wilderness!
Back to camp to find others had joined our site - it was time to go!20180713_155810.jpg

Posted by Toot'speak 01:40 Archived in Australia Tagged mt webber Comments (0)

This is the end - Day 6

We start afresh

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Well this day starts well with flat battery again! Given this car has spent more time at the mechanics than on the road gives one the pips! Luckily we're with mates and a u- beaut gizmo is produced which jump starts the ranger and allows us to head to Meekathara to buy, along with groceries, fried chicken, petrol and a fancy battery for $210! This of course delayed our expected departure to Honeymoon Pool for lunch. I could only hope it was someone else's turn to have car problems!
We started the off road to a local watering hole cum camping place - Bunyiah Pool - which provided the local cattle with a place to huddle and eat. While the water was a tad brown, we were provided with a frenzied collection of birds - honey eaters, grebes, ducks, heron, galahs and parrots; no fish. Lunch done under tall white river gums we set off for our final resting point for the next few days. ac9112e0-998c-11e8-a894-4780aaba62c1.jpgSharing.jpg
We passed a "legacy" gold or copper mine - Horseshoe Lights - which was active back in the 1970s and 80s and the owners up and left the place without any environmental restoration. This was not a requirement in the 1970s and any form of restoration or environmental protection, is well and truly defunct now and chemicals leach out into the surrounding countryside which still holds cattle. It is an ugly, environmentally unsafe and unhealthy place and a disgrace to the mining industry. When you see the restoration efforts put into the mine sites by mining industry today, this must be an embarrassment. 3e46c920-902b-11e8-ad47-f12c37ee2697.jpg3f08b990-902b-11e8-ad47-f12c37ee2697.jpg3e4d7fe0-902b-11e8-bdf3-2f8e9d79c3e7.jpg20180703_094138.jpgbd7b3680-998c-11e8-a894-4780aaba62c1.jpg
Passing this sad piece of history which we will be revisiting, we forded a crossing, and parked for the next 3 days beside a large lagoon flanked by many river gums along side the water line and a large gibble plane which was a sure ankle breaker. Our leader has named it Honeymoon Pool. We expertly put our camper up in the daylight, joined the rest for a champagne at twilight and knocked off a curry that I had vacuum-packed. Easy! We also had the pleasure of a beautiful clear night sky and one of our fellow travelers, whose expertise is astronomy, gave us the benefit of his knowledge along with the ubiquitous green laser light! Many planes and satellites were recorded and maybe we saw the night lab cruising past.bc2f2e80-998c-11e8-a894-4780aaba62c1.jpg

Posted by Toot'speak 08:17 Archived in Australia Tagged lights mt pool horseshoe bunyiah Comments (0)

Many Ghosts of the Gold Country - Days 4 & 5

Roaming around Cue

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Waking up in Charles Darwin Reserve to the sounds of birds arguing and people moving about made us up and at it by 7.30. We had a warmer night than previous; about 3 degrees. Packed up and ready to go the car started without a hiccup and we took off to Cue stopping off at the old gold rush place of Paynes Find, where we had hoped to show our eastern state members the town's gold battery and museum which houses the only remaining working gold battery in WA . Unfortunately it was closed for the holidays but we were able to give them a quick 30 sec guided tour of the remaining buildings.
Next stop was the another gold mining town of Mt Magnet where we waited over an hour for petrol and lunch mainly because of a lack of staff. I recall this being a problem over 5 years ago when we passed through. After a terrible lunch we visited their museum which has a great photography display and plenty of rusty machinery outside. We were very strong and didn't succumb to buying anything.
Before heading to Cue we decided to drive around Mt Magnet and did the Tourist Trail which took us up to the hill - Warramboo Hill - overlooking the town site. 847c5930-902d-11e8-b758-d537f1ef2695.jpg One can't really say this was a beautiful view but it does show one what harsh environments these outback places can be. The Trail took us to the area’s magnificent granite rock formations, including a natural amphitheatre, which is the remnant of an ancient waterfall, and cave and the Granites which hold significant cultural Aboriginal history.Granites.jpg3f120e30-9988-11e8-b8ca-bd9875104d06.jpg The Trail also takes one past the ruins or remains of the ghost town Lennonville and we checked out the cemetery. Along the way we visited the lonely grave of a mother and child who died of plague and are buried along way from anywhere. 578eb8b0-932e-11e8-aed1-05d6503f5728.jpg3e0517e0-932e-11e8-aed1-05d6503f5728.jpg
That night we camped at the tourist Park in Cue which is a great little Council run park with the best facilities we've come across over the years. We popped down to the local pub - The Murchison - and joined the tourists and locals to have a monstrous dinner and a neat bottle of Far-Cue SB. We were subjected to a very windy night and our fly over the camper must have kept all nearby awake. It made the most horrendous noise and we spent the night waiting for that ripppp sound as it took off. Fortunately for us we woke to another cool morning with our fly intact..

Day 5 - Roaming around back of Cue

We were awakened by the normal early morning sounds of a caravan park. There are always those who pack up and leave at the crack of dawn, those who chat loudly on their way to or from the amenities and the odd shush from a worn out mother as she tries to keep the 3 year old quiet, and that crow which follows us around the Pilbara, squawking away to his mates very loudly and regularly - hence we were up and away at a respectable time to roam around the surrounding areas of Cue. Our car started without mishap.
First stop at Walga Rock in the Weld Range about 50 kms from Cue with its very impressive Aboriginal art gallery including a drawing of a sailing boat - why way out here still not ascertained and although various theories abound, so far none of these have been conclusively proven or disproven. This Walga Gallery, dated with radio-carbon tests by archaeologists to about 10,000 years old, has extensive paintings of snakes, emus, kangaroos, footprints, boomerangs and hand motifs. One wonders how long these amazing Aboriginal art works will remained untouched as, to date, there has been no security built protecting this gallery and we were able to wander at large along the wall.
We walked or hiked up over the rock checking out the gamma pools that were filled with fairy, clam and shield shrimps. 17082d90-9977-11e8-b70e-dfeff6280197.jpg20180701_102849.jpgOne of the gang was able to contact a friend who has extensively studied these animals at this site so we were able to confirm specimen collection requirements. A couple of hours were spent absorbed checking out the geology, biology and even scats found on the mount. Lunch was eaten under the mistletoe adorning the trees while we watched the colourful finches swoop around the area.
We then set off to visit the remains of Big Bell township, the magnificent two story brick pub being one of the few remains in the grid-shaped town. da5917f0-9977-11e8-b70e-dfeff6280197.jpgWandering thru the pub, circa 1930, one can see what a lovely place it would have been with the tiled walls, polished floor boards and high ceilings with an elegant fire place in the corner. Several bits of rusty iron were removed to clutter some other abode.
After Big Bell it was off to Poona for emerald fossicking. On the way we stopped off at an abandoned station homestead with shearing shed full of the old machinery, the quarters, a 2-bog outhouse and the most amazing sheep corral made from beautifully old 3 foot high wooden posts tightly wire bound zig zagging around the yard. Definitely a work of art. Also found were a couple of perfectly preserved owls which were bagged by our ornithologist for further analysis. Of course other bits of useless junk were squirreled away in assorted cars.4c7ab490-997a-11e8-a8a3-37873c7a10ed.jpg4b8705c0-997a-11e8-89b8-c7c929240a6f.jpg3123cdd0-997a-11e8-89b8-c7c929240a6f.jpg
At Poona, after couple hours of bottoms up and g-picks swinging, a very modest picking was collected, hardly enough for a nose ring! This mine has an unsuccessful history with huge amounts of cash invested for very little reward. Currently one person appears to have an lease and the rest of the site is discarded mining mess and desecration.e735c240-997a-11e8-89b8-c7c929240a6f.jpg857fdf90-997a-11e8-89b8-c7c929240a6f.jpg855992e0-997a-11e8-a8a3-37873c7a10ed.jpg
Home back to Cue in the dark followed by our first vacuum packed steak with vegetables and a drop of wine. We did wander down the very empty main street to the servo for a icecream and on the way back bumped into fellow travelers who had opted for a night in the Queen of the Murchinson B&B which was one of Cue's old hotels. We joined them for a peak of the lovely old building which has been sympathetically restored and remodeled for its new occupation. The 13 month old owners had participated in a movie "Dust Hunters" which was filmed in Cue this year-
to be seen in Nov at Cannes! We left their company and came back to do a late wash before bed. 9am ish start tomorrow.

Posted by Toot'speak 08:10 Tagged mt rock magnet poona cue walga Comments (0)

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