Holland Track Easter 2014

Trip Leader:  Bob and Bridget McPherson

When:           18th – 21st April 2014 
Location:       Holland Track,    Mt Holland to Coolgardie

Participants:  Linda & George Bickerdike, Judith & Bruce Brinkley, 
                      Eddie Chalk, Peter Cole,  Richard King

 Day One – minus one

McPhersons met up with the Bickerdikes to travel down together on Thursday, catching up with Eddie in Beverley. He had actually passed us at our meeting spot in Armadale, thinking he was running late!  
Looking for a free camping spot overnight not too far from Hyden, we called into Gorge Rock Pool between Corrigin and Kondinin, a great spot with a natural pool in the rocks used as a local swimming pool many years ago.  However as it was still early we decided to travel on to Jilakin Rock, near Kulin.   Again a great free camp spot for anyone travelling in the area, with wood fire, bbq and small shelter. 

Day One

Arrived in Hyden in time to visit the local bakery and for Eddie to visit Wave Rock.   Brinkleys and Richard arrived not long after us, with El Presidente the last to get there – however, everyone was well within the time frame and we left Hyden bang on the planned midday.

We stopped at the start of the Holland Track for the obligatory group photo and to air down the tyres a little.   Another convoy of cars just snuck in ahead of us, and we thought this would be shades of things to come with heaps of vehicles/convoys out there for Easter.   However, on the whole it was a lot less busy than we had anticipated, only meeting one convoy of 8 vehicles coming the other way for the whole weekend.   We travelled the track ten years ago and soon saw how badly degraded it had become in that time, with massive ruts and sometimes the ‘run-around’ was as badly rutted with third or fourth tracks being forged.

We got to Mt Holland for our first night camp.  Another group was there, but with such a large area, we easily found our own spot and had the camp fire going in no time.  Visiting the Brinkley’s chariot we all admired the handiwork in the back of the vehicle – very ingenious Bruce!   Also their new Ostrichwing was ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ over.  They must have been dying to try it out, as they disappeared to bed about 7.30pm!

Bob and Bridget’s Magical Mystery Rock Tour Day Two  – Sunny and warm

No guitars, drums, or weed.. maybe a few pills… for high blood pressure, GORD and dicky knees.. but there were Blue dots Pink ribbons Orange spots  Red signs…but only as markers along the track!
However..there must have been something in the smoke the night before because the Brinkleys were still asleep at 7:30am… A full eleven and a half hours… perhaps the consequence of  having worked on their camping setup till 1am Good Friday prior to rising at 5 for 6:00am Perth departure.

Radio Chatter: Now some go pub to pub. Some go furtherest mainland points N. S. E. W.
George admitted he had taken an ice cream crawl.. to every Maccas in Tasmania.
Hobart to Launceston, to Devon to Strachan and back to Hobart..all in one day ….and went back to where they started.. for a rounding off ice cream.
Linda?… Well she knew where all the clean toilets were.

Us? We were on a Rock Tour.
Bob put us on notice that he was in tourist mode and was going to explore all of the rocks listed on the Holland Track route….and we did.  For your info Thursday Rock looks the most interesting.

A POTY competition seems to be developing between Peter, Bob and Bruce.
Potentially “my photo will be better than your photo”.

In club days past it used to be said that the coming year’s  committee was discussed at New Orleans.. well this trip we were tossing round new ideas too.

Radio Chatter: How about a Photo Of The Trip award?   POTT … Hmmm seems consistent with the theme!
Rules: To be shortlisted by the trip leader and that short list to be displayed in a drop down box  (created by Rob Nankiville maybe? Rob?) in the Trip notes..
And the winning photo to be voted on by the rest of the club (Somehow? Rob?) and awarded at the following Club meeting?.

The other ideas tossed around at the previous night’s campfire was an “Equipment cum anything 4WD op shop table” at each club meeting.  The men had been discussing how many left over bits and pieces float around at home.. DIY ers all have odd lengths of useful aluminium, canvas walls,  superseded chairs, tables etc that could move on to a new home.  Too good to give away but Gumtree too much hassle.  Pricing negotiated and completed between the parties and a gold coin to go into a jar on the table… perhaps for RFDS? They seem most appropriate to a Club always “out there everywhere”.     Items sold or unsold to be removed end of every meeting.
Another idea was with the Club library’s useby date looming, perhaps the contents could go the same way instead of just going in the bin or elsewhere.

Stopped for morning tea and there developed a “my awning is bigger than your awning” competition.

By now Bruce had realised his submersible pump was not sending water to his tap mounted in his “set up”.  Out came the electricians… rejigging of wires and bingo .. water on tap!    Oh the joys of a diverse membership.
As pointed out by Richard the faucet had an added advantage of a self ‘drip collecting’ style.. a curved end that can be turned up…ie an ex laundry tub extendable one.

One stop for a photo shoot of some very rutted  track where many  had been seriously playing in the mud when it was there last.. had Bruce climbing onto the roof of his car. There he found , where he had left it unsecured, the Fairydown snow rated quite expensive (but a jag at $10 at a 2nd hand spot) tent still perched up there.. hadn’t bounced off in all the bumps!!!

With Peter again being scout seeking alternatives, next night’s  camp was a spot prior to Cat Camp called Blazed Tree Camp & Centenary Rocks.  We turned left deep off the road to an open patch with the ground a deep red but sandy texture… no dust.  This great camp spot for future reference is in the Explorer Series – Holland Track…with waypoints.  
Lovely days still, warm, full moon, intentions of sleeping under stars.
Then the wind strengthened, and strengthened, and strengthened. Gusting.
The Ostrich wing was wanting to take flight.
Richard K with great knowledge and experience “been here before”  “be gone in an hour” ..unfortunately he couldn’t decide which hour.
Still didn’t stop everyone sitting round a steady fire talking till late…which was probably only 9pm.
Agreed by all disturbed sleepers at breakfast the next day, that it died down about 1am.
We had a late start today with most taking the opportunity to have a cooked breakfast over a restarted campfire.

Murphy’s Law on the Holland Track …”you’ll never meet oncoming traffic where there is a bucket load of room”.  There was not as much traffic as anticipated though, nor was the track wet and slippery. A problem for the Trip Leaders then was to judge the time required to travel an uncertain track versus a relatively fast though dusty route.
Stopped for a short while helping with a tyre change for someone stopped in the middle of the track. There were a couple of breakdowns on the “verge” but all with plenty of helpers.
A few track bikes went through enjoying the challenge of not waiting for a passing lane.

Took turns being Tail End Charlie. Rearrangement of cars meant a different back end of a car to have in your photos!

Having made good time, we stopped early for the second night with time to read books, men talk, fire going and camp ovens putting out aromas.
Then it became… my new table is bigger than….!
sigh …

Bob and Bridget’s Magical Mystery Rock TourDay Three  – Sunny and warm

Leaving our site the next morning showed the value of compass or GPS and the Trip Leader’s ability to concoct quickly.  Bob went the wrong way. He said it was a test but we all failed too….because we only realised direction was wrong when we met him coming back towards us!!! 
And even after that we came out and headed the wrong way.

Maybe we’d have started to recognize the scenery.. eventually…..but without a GPS we’d not have realised that we were heading back to Mt Holland.
Radio Chatter:
George “we’ve forgotten how to use the sun.”
Bridget, “but if it’s raining?”
George, “then judge direction by which side of the car the rain is hitting!”
Bruce, “hey if it’s raining.. you’ve left WA”

Brinkleys had a new oven. Unlike Glenn who was producing fresh bread in no time on his trip.. they forgot to even turn it on till the third day.
Guess what .. it also was electrically challenged! Another call for after hours electricians.
Cold cooked pies heat up quite well on the dashboard in the sun.

So many places to camp between Agnes Gnamma Hole (though the gnammas were all dried up) and Diamond Rock. Comparable to wide open, hard sand parkland and lots of trees,  but with so many tracks in and around this area, without the little green HT arrowed signs or GPS navigation it would be a challenge to choose the correct track.

Slow lunch. Lots of easy chatter. Left about 2:30.

Thursday Rock biggest of all the rocks we saw. Reminiscent of Karalee’s openness and height . Climbed to the top for a walk around. There is the obligatory cairn at the top but also a relevant one at the bottom… the lower one is to indicate the concealed exit through the undergrowth to the carpark area.

Trip Leaders called us all together for a democratic vote. Camp here at Thursday Rock or continue to Victoria Rock for the night?    Hot, tired, and needing to shower before any possibility of a repeat of last night’s cool winds.
“Here” took the vote.  Lovely spot.   Able to spread out.
Campfire… which it turns out would not have been allowed at Victoria Rock.

Advice: on using the club’s new trend in camp showers…the Hozelock Garden pressure sprays

  • Temperature is critical!  Must be hot enough so that the fine spray is still warm by the time it hits your body. Not so hot that you have to stand, waiting for it to cool down!
  • Never hold in front of your chest aiming upwards before turning on.. shoots up your nostrils before you have time to react.
  • Use a face washer or scrubber or something to remove the dirt..but if you forget…don’t worry..it’ll always wipe off on your towel.

And finally..

  • Be prepared for stinging March flies, you are a very large, naked, target !

Oh but so clean!

Bob and Bridget’s Magical Mystery Rock Tour Day four – Overcast but clearing and warm

Not my day for notes but in the light of possible loyalty, Bridget may not record this…
Bob admitted as we stopped to photograph us all at the end of the Holland Track, that he hadn’t put his car into 4WD the whole way.

Maybe we could make the Holland Track the next Ladies Day?…or simply be very thankful there was no rain!

Day Four
How do I follow two days of Jude’s entertaining trip notes?? – note to self, don’t try!

Everyone was up and packed early-ish, with the sight of big black clouds on the horizon, first blimp in the sky all weekend.   We called into Victoria Rock for mornos and only three people actually climbed the rock – I wonder why?

And then the very last Rock of the Tour was the Pioneer Cemetery in Coolgardie…the carved tombstone of John Holland.. the man who blazed the track and his wife Agnes…who let him do it!

A great Easter Weekend of bush and campfires.  
We are, however, very aware how different the story would have read if we’d had heavy rain.
Not sure we would have got through some parts at all!

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