Big Valley 2012

Trip Leader:  Martin Archer;     Co-Trip Leader: Roger Freegard

When:  Friday November 16 to Monday November 19, 2012

Location: Rosa Glen WA 6285

Participants: Martin & Karen Archer Locky & Alexis,  Roger & Jan Freegard, John & Rosalie King
Peter & Denise Belcher, Neil and Raelene Hewer, Henry and Helen Cheetham, Richard and Helen Kingston, Guy and Wendy Lehmann,  David and Tracy Jones, Peter and Mabel Cole,  Trevor and Janna Josephs,  Jeff and Maxine Otway,  Sam and PascVascile, Peter and Lyn Fry,  Michael Gilbert,  Laura and John Holbrook, Peter & Tanya Nicholl & Ashley and Jamie-Lee, Rick and Nancy Ellis

This was the 6th Annual visit to Big Valley by the club and the trip continues to be popular with club members. Some of the more fortunate members were able to travel to Margaret River in the week leading to the official start of the trip. The trip officially commenced on Friday November 16 and finished Monday November 19. Roger, Jan, Karen and I arrived a few days early in order to make things ready for the weekend. This included pre-tripping the tracks and locations for Saturday’s day trips. Peter Belcher and Kingstons helped Roger pre-trip his plan, while the Vasiles followed the Archers to pre-trip the alternate run.

18 cars (39 people) were expected, after a few late withdrawals, and we managed to fill most of the reserved section of Big Valley with an assortment of caravans and tents. The last to arrive on Friday were Rick and Nancy who managed very efficiently to get their caravan set up just in time for the 7:00 o’clock dinner. This year the Lamb on a spit was considerably larger than previous years and along with the accompaniment of assorted salads made for a very enjoyable start to the weekend. The size of the lamb meant getting it on the spit at 11:00am allowing it to rotate over the fire for 7 hours. There was barely enough stomach space (some of us more than others) to fit in the deserts but we all managed to make room. With a fine contribution of deserts from Neil the cake supply kept us going for the whole weekend.

Roger’s nine pin golf course was set up once again through the fields of the valley. Throughout the weekend most members had a go at the course, some doing questionably very well and others doing too honestly poor. The results of which have been kept tightly secured until the December meeting.

On Saturday, those that wished to go for a drive formed in line behind either Roger and Jan, for a country site seeing tour, or the alternate trip was with Martin and Karen for a casual day at the beach. Some elected to have a more relaxing day around camp.

Roger’s Trip Report
Nine cars left Big Valley camp site on the morning of 17th November 2012 on a 140 kms grade 2 run through the Blackwood forest

The first section of the trip was through farmland well stocked with ripening vines and with well filled reservoirs. It was concluded that the wine growers of the region should have a very productive season.

We were soon off the bitumen and into the forested vegetation. The various twist and turns of the forest tracks soon tested the skills of our trip leader and navigator Jan. A few incorrect turns were soon on the trip sheet; however with the able assistance of the Kingston’s we were very soon back on track with little disruption to the following convoy.

Our tracks followed various fence lines until eventually we passed over our first crossing of the Blackwood River. Fortunately the water levels were low and caused no problems to the intrepid explorers. A morning drinks stop was made at the crossing, with a convenient long drop toilet being in the near vicinity.

Soon on our way again we were onto the gravel tracks with the resultant dust clouds causing some discomfort to our participants. However our intrepid tail end Charlie team of Jeff and Maxine proved more than capable of keeping the convoy in good contact with the trip leader throughout the various forest sections.

Lunch break was taken at another river crossing beneath a newly constructed bridge.
The location was at a section of the river where tragically two children lost their lives in 2006, a river crossing accident when their car was swept away.

The new bridge construction was we considered as a result of this terrible accident..
After a quick swim by the Nicol.family followed by a robust good natured discussion of marron, olives and reptile near misses, we were soon on the road again through the forestry to our next destination of Canebrake Pool.

Our arrival was tempered somewhat by the large number of vehicles in the small parking area of the Pool; however to the credit of our group we found a place to settle and enjoyed another natural break.

Soon on the road again we passed along a track that provided a few harder driving challenges, water, narrow access and water rutted passages. All negotiated with little problems we were soon back on the bitumen and on our way back to camp.

We thank the participants for their enthusiastic participation and patience shown to the trip leader on this day.
Roger

Martin’s Trip

As an alternative to the bush explorer trip, Martin and Karen lead a group of 6 vehicles for a shorter run to the beach location called Joey’s Nose. Joey’s Nose is located north of the Margaret River mouth and is accesses by an off-road track at the end of Kilarnup Road, off Caves Road.

The track down to Joey’s Nose is mostly sand and limestone with some areas that may prove slightly challenging depending on seasonal changes. The final decent onto the beach is quite steep with wheel rut holes well established to cause some passenger discomfort. The beach at that location is not too soft, but advisable for tyre pressures to be down to prevent strain on the vehicle’s engine. Lower tyre pressures are well advised for the climb out of the beach and the ascent back to the bitumen.

As soon as we found a suitable location on the beach awnings were erected and the group spent a very enjoyable morning relaxing, swimming and eating lunch. Some of the crew took the opportunity to explore further tracks in the area, this being their first visit to this beach area.

Being a Saturday, there were several other parties on the beach, but these mainly consisted of surfers taking advantage of the reef breaks, whereas our party preferred the sheltered and calmer end of the bay. The bay is very popular with locals because of its close proximity to the town, and when DEC took over the area from the council over a year ago and attempted to close vehicle access to the beach, there was some protest by the community. We have visited Joey’s nose regularly over the 6 years we have been running the Big Valley trip and it has seen no ill-effects resulting from vehicle access. So fortunately, common sense prevailed and the log barriers have since been removed.

Saturday Evening

With an incident free trip day all returned to camp in the afternoon in time for a happy hour or three. This was followed by a totally unnecessary dinner, but what else do you do when camping?

At 8:00pm everyone gathered in the camp kitchen for a quiz night. Questions were prepared and delivered by Peter Belcher who had tried very hard to make the questions more colonial than British. Adjudicators Jan and Denise ensured that cheating was kept to a minimum. Watching from the sidelines, with 2 year old Alexis on my lap, I noticed that this year’s game was a lot tamer than previous years. That was either due to good game control management or the more vocal objectors were absent or perhaps won the game for a change?

The only event planned for Sunday was a lunch at the Woody Nook Winery. Having been well looked after by the people at Woody Nook last year, it was a pleasure to return there this year. And once again, the hospitality, service and food were very good. After lunch, some headed back to Perth and the remainder returned to camp. But not before making the compulsory stop at the Chocolate Factory and other tourist traps.

Thanks to Kevin and Shelly at Big Valley for accommodating our club and being such wonderful hosts during our stay. Their attentive, friendly and relaxed attitude is what makes the location such a pleasant place to stay.

Thanks to Roger and Jan for doing the trip planning and organizing this year. Everyone had a wonderful time.

Martin

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