Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cape York - The Journey

What an epic adventure. 

After 8160 kilometres, I have made it back home. It has been an awesome 5 weeks of being away and now it is time to share some more stories and photos of this Duchess on Tour!

Whilst I am typing, the iMac is processing the HD video which I will soon edit into a movie for all to enjoy. For now, you will have to read the story and relate through pictures.

This is where I sat after reaching Canal Creek on the old Telegraph Track (OTL) and wrote down our adventures of the day. It was a fitting end to what was a full day of travel and excitement. We had come up from a swim in the creek to wash off the dust and sweat from another warm day on the Cape. Here follows an excerpt from that journal entry...

"Today was an awesome day. In a word...just awesome.

We left Bramwell Station for Bramwell Junction roadhouse at around 8.30am. I fuelled there whilst the others had a pie for morning tea. We headed down the Old Tele Track to have a look at Palm Creek where we had been told it was a steep drop in and cars had to be winched out. 

Once on the Tele, it was a little surreal. This was the place of many a story, where I have spent hours reading about and watching video of. Now the story had come to life and it was unfolding into my own to tell." 

"We reached Palm Creek and stopped for a look. There was already a gathering of people who had either made it across or were about to attempt it. After a quick assessment it was decided that we wouldn't be attempting it but we did make the decision to head to Gunshot via the Development road and bypass."

"We traversed some narrow, rough tracks, drove through heathland, crossed a small clear creek with a short steep drop off into it and finally arrived at the famous Gunshot Creek. It certainly looked impossible to traverse as the south bank is very steep and cut away in places. There were plenty of people there to watch as well as make the crossing. A very friendly social affair really!"

"I was the first of our group to go down. The men walked me down it first, pointing out the hazards to avoid and what I needed to do to make a safe crossing. Then I jumped into the FJ, put it into low range and off I went, with Tony as my guide out front, pointing out which way to turn the wheels. The FJ cruised down into Gunshot creek with ease and it was an awesome feeling to get to the bottom and drive easily through the water and across the other side. Peter was not far behind me with my trailer in tow and big old Mandy the Landy made it look very easy! I didn't get to see all of Leon's drive down but as he came up to me at the other side, in his usual fashion gave me a straight face but very quickly broke out into a big grin and said "We conquered the mighty Gunshot!""

"It wasn't over yet!"

"We pulled out and headed off towards the next challenge. It was to be Cockatoo creek, flowing fast with some deep holes in the crossing. The entry was also steep with a couple of drop offs and it also would require some care. As Peter was in front of me, this time I got to watch my trailer follow him through. It was faithfully following and never once looked like it was going to cause a problem for the big Landy. Tony was next, in his Disco, so that once again he could jump out and direct me through. It was another exercise in trust as I followed his directions across the fast flowing but shallow water. We made it with no worries and once again I let the FJ climb out of the river bank and heard the funny clanging and growling of the A-trac as it clicked in and out whilst one or the other wheel lost a bit of traction." 

It was also amazing to get to the other side of Cockatoo creek and discover that the National Parks had installed a toilet! Literally in the middle of no where! Believe me when I say that all the women made fast use of it!

"The rest of the trip back to the main bypass road was scenic and I managed to find one remaining old telegraph line pole still standing up right. Every other pole we saw had been vandalised and bent over as people in the past had got themselves some souvenirs of a bygone era. Driving on the track it was hard to imagine what it would have been like to cut a way through as the line was installed. Harder to imagine was the 2 men who drove a Baby Austin up the Tele Track back in 1928!"

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