The Pinnacles Trip
Trip Leader: Richard K
When: 7th May 2006
Location: Nambung National Park
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Lancelin to Cervantes. “Diana Style”
In an effort to be sure we were NOT last to arrive, (trip notes again!), the children and I left home at 06h30 to get to the meeting point for the long awaited Pinnacles trip. We swept through the darkness and then gorgeous dawn, the trusty Paj slicing the swirling fog. The departure time was set as 09h00, and we were most concerned that we couldn’t locate any other Club members – and we could not raise anyone via Channel 25 or mobile phone either.
Then the “lights” came on, the sun shone and the phone rang – it was Paul – “Where are you? We are waiting for you!” To my horror, I realized we were at the end point of the trip (Cervantes) – and had got there on time to boot! There was no way we could get all the way down to Lancelin to join the group, and so I told Paul to get on without us.
Both children were spitting mad with the hash-up. The blame is well shared – I had worked until 23h00 the night before, and had asked Duncan to look at the route for the morning. I did not see him do so, and so at 24h00, hauled out the map book and peered at the pages. I knew this was the “Pinnacles trip”, and so my tired brain logged the route to the Pinnacles. Getting up at 05h30 to leave punctually did not help with brain acuity either!
As we previously had not seen the Pinnacles, we decided to view them as we were there. It was a gorgeous, calm and now sunny Saturday morning, and we had the Pinnacle Park to ourselves. We had a grand time exploring and photographing, as well as a welcome ‘cuppa’ after the long drive. I was aware that the route between Lancelin and Cervantes was popular with both fishing folk and 4WDers, and felt that on a beautiful weekend there would surely be traffic on the various roads in the area. With this in mind, we headed south on the first likely looking road we found after the Pinnacles – a real bone-shaker. Letting the tyres down a bit eased the jarring and proved to be useful later in the day.
We were reassured that we had the GPS so could always back-track if needed, had the radio so could call for help, and had enough food / drink / blankets to sleep over in the car if we really got stuck! We passed through Grey and then headed onto a reasonable sandy track – ready for adventure. This was the first time we had done any off-road driving on our own. After a while we spotted stunning white dunes in the distance on the left, so took a left turn to get closer to them. This ‘road’ rapidly declined into what might have once been a fire-break, but as it was too narrow and rough to turn around, I drove on – very carefully! The dunes remained elusively distant, and the ‘road’ persistently difficult. Experience gained in various trips, coupled with the 4WDA DTP Course, served me well at handling the terrain.
We were traveling in a southerly direction but back from the coast-line and slightly elevated. This would help pick up any radio talk, but kept us away from where we thought the usual road was. We came across a beautiful large python with its head in a hole – it did not seem to have heard our approach, but popped up to glare at us as we squeezed past its tail tip. There were also lots of roos of all ages and sizes.
We eventually found a track heading towards the coast and so took it – but it ran out at some dunes. I was not going to retrace our path, so forged on – checking the best route in advance. We picked up a bit of road again and then hit dunes twice more. My sand-driving skills were well tried by then. The final obstacle was a sand ramp with a steep drop onto the beach itself.
We silently had been listening to the Club radio chatter for a while, so knew the group was in the area, but did not know where. When we got to the beach, we could not see anyone and were not sure if we had missed them. I was lining up to clear this last obstacle, with Duncan standing on the dune edge to mark my chosen drop-off point, when he started waving at someone in a manner which indicated he knew them.
I decided it was time for action, floored the accelerator and crested the sand-ramp, dropping down out of the dunes to pull up next to the lead vehicle with an astonished Richard at the wheel.
This entry could not have been choreographed better and was cause for huge mirth.
We were very pleased to have met up with the official trip, and comments such as “the lengths people will go to in an effort to not do the trip notes”, and warnings of a unanimous 13-vote Piston-broke nomination prevailed!
After our morning’s adventure, the rest of the trip was tame in comparison, but we enjoyed the companionship and radio-chat as always.
Sincerest apologies to all those who were on the trip and waited in vain for us at Lancelin – I was on time but in the wrong place!