Monday, 23 September 2019

Holland Track – Day 2

Not much progress today.  We only completed 30 kilometres as the track was very slow going.  You may have noticed in some of yesterday’s photos that the flora was very green.  This part of the track is relatively close to the southern wheat belt and the area recently experienced spring rainfall.  Consequently the deeper ruts in the track were mud holes; some quite deep!


This portion of the track was heavily corrugated sand with vehicle high vegetation.  Despite it being sand there were still mud holes


The ‘boy racers’ love driving into these mud holes in their high lift 4WD with oversized mud tyres.  This just churns up the bottom of the hole making it deeper.  Being old f@rts we’re risk averse attempting to go around the deeper holes using the ‘chicken tracks’ (detours)



Some technically challenging spots as we manoeuvred around the deeper holes.  It’s not just the deep ruts and holes that are a risk.  Exposed hardwood roots adjacent to the track are quite capable of puncturing a tyre. 


At this large mud hole both adjacent chicken tracks had also been turned into mud holes requiring us to cross the mud holes laterally.

Endless kilometres of relatively flat terrain.  Initially I thought the hill in the distance might be Mount Holland and then realised it was too close.


Speed was frequently reduced to a crawl.  I left the Isuzu in 2nd gear and took my foot off the accelerator allowing it to tick along with the engine idling.

We got through another mud hole when Bob had an incident with the sand flag when it caught in an overhead tree 



The shaft snapped at the metal mounting bracket


Some duct tape fixed that and we continued on to the Mallee  Fowl nest.  For 10 months of the year the male Mallee Fowl tends the nest which consists of a large mound made from sticks, leaves, plants and sand.  The decomposing vegetation heats the nest incubating the eggs.  The Mallee fowl has a long tongue sensitive to temperature which he uses to maintain a constant temperature in the nest by adding or removing vegetation.  When the chicks hatch they scratch their way to the surface and are left to fend for themselves.  It appears Mrs Mallee fowl has the easiest job!



About an hour later we started to receive radio chatter on Channel 28.  A 4WD ahead had broken down and was looking for assistance.  We reached their location around 1pm to find two vehicles that had been travelling south in convoy.  The Jeep had a ‘dicky’ battery and the 82 year old driver had made the mistake of turning the engine off.  There was insufficient power from the 2nd vehicles battery to jump start it.

Bob and Ken manoeuvred their Isuzu into position and by connecting a second set of jumper leads from their battery to the Jeep they were able to get the Jeep engine going. 


What was surprising was the Jeep owner knew he had a potentially defective battery and yet still attempted the trip.  Hopefully they made it to the end of the track before dark and then on to Hyden where they could probably buy a replacement battery.

We continued north east aiming to reach mount Holland.  The terrain continually changed from sand to red ochre and granite.  The flora also changed between low scrub, moderately high native bushes and even higher sheoaks, wattles and gum trees.



Mount Holland was reached around 3pm.  It’s more of a minor hill than a mountain.  But then a small hill stands out when everything surrounding it is very flat.  Ken and I walked to the top only to find there was a vehicle track to the top from the other side


There is a good camping ground with plenty of firewood at the base of the hill where we set up camp for the night.


I decided to cook a pork roast in the camp oven and successfully managed to convert the meat to carbon.  A lesson learned, but at least the baked spuds and corn on the cob were OK.


Catherine we are paying $1.37.9 a litre for diesel in Perth.

1 comment :

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

About the only thing I can ask is 'Why would you? i.e. why would you do any of this trip?'Looks nuts rto me!
Cheers, M