Trip Leaders: Mark & Julie Myles
Mark and had watched the rain in the preceding week with mounting anticipation (anxiety). Being the school holidays we were able to head down to Marg’s for a leisurely pre-trip week enabling us to complete a quick recky. We discovered vast areas of water and continuing rainfall. Most of the participants headed down to the (beautiful) Big Valley Campsite in Rosa Brook on the Friday night, gathering at 6pm at Colonial Brewery for the awesome $10 pizza night. Pizzas and a sneaky pint or two consumed we headed back to camp. Early Saturday morning the remainder of the trip participants arrived. We gathered around 9:30am for the trip meeting; the days’ trip discussed, we headed out into the dark grey, soggy winter’s morning.
A short drive down the black top we reached the graded dirt road heading to Cane Break Pool. This area is a delightful camp ground and summer swimming spot, it is also the home of the Hairy Marron (Cherax Tenuimanus), which being on the endangered list it is off the menu at all times of the year. Today was definitely not a day for swimming, with the rain streaming from engorged grey clouds; this was to be the scene for the entire day. It was not long until our first water encounter, crossing the northern tributary of Margaret River on Cane Break Road. We had decided, from our prior recky that we would not attempt the first, northern, section of the track out of respect for our cars and the track.
The start of our journey down Adelaide Road began at the intersection of Margaret’s Road. This road is civilised and proved a pleasant drive with a couple of quick stops to collect rubbish. The first section of Adelaide Road did not take long to produce a water challenge. The first (of numerous) water crossings was the southern tributary of Margaret River. Having transversed this section many times we knew the track in this area was sandy and hard under tyre.
A quick check of water depths and we were off through the first water, round the corner to be faced with more water, more water and yet more water.
The water crossings were completed with finesse by all participants while the rain still pounded earthward. We decided that even though the rain was not going to stop we would. We gathered for morno’s under our now seemingly feeble awnings as the rain continued to tumble downwards.
And still the heavy, grey clouds dumped their contents upon the intrepid explorers. It seemed at this point that we should have formed a kayak expedition to complete this trip, around every corner we came face to face with more and more water.
Each challenge was checked out with sticks, mini logs and even umbrellas (remember each item packed should always have more than one use…), before the plunge into the watery depths.
We continued on, pushing on through hell and high water, literally. Then we rounded a corner, within grasp of the safety of the black top of Mowen Road, there it lay in mocking grey tones of anxiety.
After much wading, stumbling, slipping and noting the impossible depths of the right hand side we raised our soggy heads ……. and ran away.
We decided preservation of our cars, the track and our sanity was of greater importance than pride. We turned west onto George Road before turning south onto to Great North Road, finally stopping under arching, water laden pine branches for lunch.
Again the awnings came out, still saturated from our previous break, we huddled together next to a small creek. The awnings became unsustainable water catchments, proving entertainment as to who would be the beneficiary of the water. Packed up, rain still cascading, we squelched on, cutting back onto Adelaide Road via Crouch Road, having decided to avoid a section of the road we call ‘The Waterfall’. The remainder of our journey was to offer, thankfully, less water challenges but more gnarled hill climbs.
Despite the hill climbs being slippery and the rain still pushing earthward everyone completed the challenges efficiently. The end of Adelaide Road came all too soon, turning right onto Denny Road. We decided to take everyone down to Hut Pool Crossing over The Blackwood River.
Though at safe levels to cross it was close to 4pm and decided not to evoke the ‘Four O’clock Track Clause’ and headed to the closest brewery to warm up. That night we met under the sturdy cover of corrugated iron to share our tales of the day and thaw our chilled bodies with warm, nourishing food. That night we slept to the soft lullaby of yet more rain.
Thank you to everyone who joined us – you all helped make our day amazing.
Mark and Julie