Trip Leader John Holbrook
Participants: Craig Perry, John Holbrook, Michael Gilbert, Glenn Bignell, Daniel Hearn, Peter Nicol
With the weekend weather predicted to be perfect, six vehicles assembled at the Baden Powell camping ground for some four wheel driving and conviviality. Trip Leader, John Holbrook, accompanied by friend Laura and John Snr arrived early to select a suitable area to make camp. The popularity of the Reserve was indicated by “FULL” signs against many of the camping areas. The Baden Powell camping ground was well populated, but oil & gas engineering expert Laura found an area which she assured us would be out of the odour zone of the conveniences should there be an atmospheric inversion during the night.
By 0940 hours tents, tables and swags had been set up by the overnighters, the airing down done, the formalities completed and the briefing delivered. The various routes had been reconnoitred on the previous Monday by our Trip Leader and Michael Gilbert to ensure we had a good look at the scenic offerings of the area, plus a few challenge for those who felt so inclined. Daniel sportingly offered to eat most dust by going “Tail-end Charlie”.
The convoy set off with our Trip Leader followed by Michael and Marion in the Triton, visitors Peter and Tanya and daughters Ashley and Jamie-Lee in another Triton, Richard King in the ‘Cruiser, Craig is a Patrol and Daniel and his mate Nick in a Patrol.
The first challenge was a relatively short rutted climb from one contour road to the next contour road at a higher level. All attempted and all successfully negotiated it. Our visitor, Peter admitted to plenty of experience on the beach, but absolutely none in these conditions. He was amazed at the ability of the vehicles in front of him to negotiate the seemingly impossible hazards, but even more amazed when he succeeded in doing likewise.
All thought that it was a pretty good effort so we came back down again and had another successful go. After some more touring and hill climb challenges, we came to one of the several gravel quarries in the area. For the adventurous, there were some very steep, but short slopes to enable them to show off their undercarriages.
It was then time to head back to camp for lunch, but on the way was a steep downhill with a severe serpentine scour. All decided to go down instead of taking a longer alternative route and once again there was the bold few who turned around and went back up again.
Lunch took the usual format; reliving the morning’s activities and discussing the merits or otherwise of modifications or proposed modifications to the vehicles. By 1300 hours we were on the road again. Between them, John and Michael managed to get us lost several times but we eventually found all sites on the programme. Blame for taking incorrect turns was laid at the feet of Mr Hema, because at this stage he hasn’t produced detailed maps of the area.
It was noticeable that there were quite a number of fallen trees across the tracks. Possibly a result of the reduced rainfall in recent years taking its toll. But we were equipped when no alternative route was available. Michael pulled out his chainsaw, and with the ladies pitching in to remove the sawlogs, the convoy was soon on its way again. Several more hill climbs of varying difficulty were available for the willing and all proved to be willing and all negotiated them successfully.
The travels along the river showed how popular the area is with plenty of canoeing and swimming activities. This is probably the perfect time of the year for water activities in this area, with the water at a reasonable temperature and a steady, but not strong flow to keep the river pools flushed.
Peter had the misfortune to have a tree branch jam beneath the Triton. It was removed with a team effort. On the way back to the camp, his transfer case refused to engage, possibly a legacy of the jammed branch. Lots of expert opinions, rocking the Triton back and forth, a few beers and a few prayers later the Triton finally engaged in 4wd low range. Subsequent to the trip, Peter told us the problem was a $30 part.
Back at the camp, Richard departed, as he had to be back in town to meet Nicole’s rescued canines. Peter and family were also due to depart, but he decided to have the Triton taken back to Perth on a carrier truck. The only suitable vehicle available, one that could not only carry the Triton, but also his family, had to come from Bunbury. It was scheduled to get to the camp at 2000 hours; it finally arrived at 2150 hours, but only after our Trip Leader and Peter went out as a search party and were fortunate to intercept the carrier truck as it was heading back to Bunbury, having given up trying to find us.
The cooking was done and the meal devoured. Just as dusk was upon us, the ‘Red Terra’ Landcruiser turned up with Glenn Bignell aboard. Glenn had a number of excuses as to why he had not arrived earlier to partake of the day’s activities; he had work to do around the house, he had shopping to do, he didn’t want to get his car dirty, etc. We chose to believe none of them. He finally admitted that he had come because he could not resist the opportunity to sleep under the stars. So he pulled out a packet of snaggers and a bottle of red. In keeping with his philosophy of not getting anything dirty, he persuaded Danny to cook the sausages then ate them straight from the pan.
It was a beautiful clear night, with the stars twinkling through the tall pine trees. As is usual, we sat around as a group and discussed the day’s activities and solved a few of the world’s problems. The clear sky meant that the temperature quickly headed south, so most rugged up to combat it. Laura and Marion slipped off to read 50 shades of grey or something similar. The men sat around sitting rum and beers and occasionally showing off their latest camping gadget.
Sunday. The sun rose on another beautiful day, with its rays filtering through the slight smoke haze resulting from the remains of the numerous open fires throughout the campsite and which seemed to hover around the upper foliage of the trees. After breakfast we decamped, with Craig, Danny and Glenn heading back to Perth. Michael and John decided to do some exploring to look at other possible campsites for future trips – somewhere along the river, but a bit more private than Baden Powell. A couple of sites were identified.
On the way home we detoured through Waroona, especially to have lunch at the “Pinjarra” bakery on the main street. Lane Pool is a lovely area within easy reach of the Metropolitan Area so expect another trip there in the next 12 months.
John Holbrook Snr