Time to keep heading north. We get packed up and hit the track out back to the Old Tele. First crossing today, The Dulhunty, as we just camped for 2 nights just down stream we didn’t really stop. I walked it just to make sure I wasn’t going to fall into any holes.
After this it is Bertie creek, which isnt deep, but has some huge holes. The bottom is hard, as it is pretty much 1 big rock. So I walk it to pick the line. One thing I notice here, I how clear and clean the water is. The entry to this crossing is a little slow as there is a few big holes to avoid and an almost 90* turn to make to drive up the edge of the creek before another 90* turn to cross. Lyndall jumps out to guide me through the first part and does a great job once again.
Through here we continue up the slow, tight in spots, and twisty OTT. As we are driving you can see the left over Tele poles from the original line. Poles are bent, most insulators are gone, but every now and then you spot one in reasonable condition.
The people we were following after palm creek 2 days ago, we could here them on the UHF. They were asking each other why I had stopped to take a photo of a pole. We learnt from their conversation that they clearly had no idea as to why the OTT is the OTT. Anyway, eventually we get to an intersection. This is the spot that I had been worried about for a few days, as we are solo, do we go straight or do I turn left. Straight ahead is the Notorious Gunshot Creek! And left is the bypass rd. It goes out and around the crossing and comes back in to join the OTT after gunshot. You can also go out to the main southern bypass road from here. After a quick discussion we decide to head up to have a look at gunshot, it says 8km, and at worse we can turn around and come back.
It is slow going, very corrugated and a few cars coming the other way on the narrow track all add to the excitement. We finally get to this area were there is a few cars parked up. Yep it’s gunshot.
We parked the car and head down for a look. There is a 60 series cruiser lining up to one of the chicken tracks, which is still a near vertical drop more than a car length high.
We suss out the original “Gunshot” and it is 3 times worse when you see it for real as opposed to photos. Directly next to the original is 2 more crossings, one each side, and yep they are just as bad.
I go back and as I walk around the corner the 60 is about to drop over the edge. He brings it down nice and slo, till it gets to a point, then gravity takes hold. He drops, free falling about 2m and noses into the mud a bit.
After this, his mates follow him, so I just watch to see how it all gets handled while talking to these guys, we run into them earlier in the morning a few times. So watching them takes over an hour I guess and gives me time to suss out the whole thing.
So the choices are,
1. Turn around and do the 7-8km back to the bypass road. This is very corrugated and a crap drive and I have no idea what the 30km bypass is like? But it would easily be a4 hour detour.
2. Head around to the left, and to a short steep drop that is only about 1 meter high, but it has a track of knee deep sticky mud about 20meters long to get through. Would easy be an hour in winching, then every thing is covered in mud?
3. menouver the car and trailer into a tight little corner and follow the same scary, high and near vertical drop into some mud that is about shin deep, and could be through all going to plan, 10-15 mins.
So I put these to Lyndall and although we haven’t watched a trailer go down, I make the decision that, the worse that could happen is we drag car and trailer down the side bank and I think that after watching the other guys lose traction and free fall the last bit that having the trailer may actually help hold me up a bit longer and aid the drop.It is decided that I would to the same drop as the hilux’s went through and one of the guys offered to leave his car in the bottom to drag us out if needed..
I get the car and trailer lined up dead straight at the top of the bank, the young fella who offered his car if needed also accepted my request to quite me down. As you can’t see much when doing this, I give him my handheld UHF, and jump back into the drivers seat. A big big breath, and we are all good to go, I creep forward slowly, and feel the car start to go over, OK point of no return now, whatever happens, happens!
Listening to my new mate on the radio, I have put all my trust in him and only turn my wheel when he says, and in the direction he says. I have the car in neutral now, and foot with enough brake pressure to keep it slow but not lock the wheels. I also have my hand on the override lever for the electric trailer brakes using them to also help.
So far so good, the car is doing excactly as planned and I am getting closer to the bottom, then all of a sudden, it gently looses traction, Gravity has taken hold and we side to the bottom with a gentle stop. Brilliant. Car down now I flip out drivers side mirror to see where the trailer is. Yep it’s still attached but still at the top. So I start driving forward slowly and it starts coming over, but then it leans over at the top due to a hollow in the bank, and I see it is now leaning on the bank. It’s the reason I folded in the drivers mirror. Any way not much I can do now, so I keep moving and soon enough we are down. I drive forward eager to get out and see what damage has been done.
A few small scratches in the gel coat that I am sure will buff out at home
Pretty happy with that and am very glad that we did it and not drive around. We got the car out. And parked up to have some lunch. Everybody else left and we had gunshot creek to ourselves. Within 10 min someone appears from the bush, and it turns out they are some foreign tourist in a hired 76 series landcruiser. We have a chat and they ask about the crossing, and I tell them we just come down here, and although a little shocked the driver decided to do it if I could guide him down. They got down no problems, and I have never seen 4 people so happy. Words can’t describe it.
We leave now and continue on our way, eventually reaching the northern end of the gunshot bypass rd. There is a group of people here, and a quick stop to make sure they are ok, they are waiting for someone to meet them. They separated with one in their group deciding to have a look at gunshot. Geez I hope he did it and not drive back around the bypass, as they will be waiting a while.
But for us, we continue on our jornouny. We get to an intersection with a large rd, and a quick look at the hema and we have dicovered we at now on the southern Tele bypass. Well not much on the Tele track after gunshot it seems.
We drive on this for a short period then take a right turn onto what is now the northern section of the old Tele. Our destination tonight is going to be canal creek if. There is a good spot there, if not we will keep driving. We come to a creek crossing which on the hema has no name, but we believe it may be “scrubby creek”? It looks long and deep, and is muddy also. I decide to walk it, and another gentleman joined me for a swim. It came up to almost my waist, but felt hard and rocky on the bottom.
I walked up to the car and drive through, once in the water once in the water it seems deeper, but we got through no problem and did the little steep muddy climb out. After this we passed the turn of to some water falls, fruitbat falls maybe, after already going past Elliot. As these areas are Qld National Parks, we can not enter with our dogs, so we keep driving and before we know it I see an Ultimate camper and a white and orange dmax set up in the corner. We have arrived at canal creek, and as we approach the ultimate, the owner appears from behind. We wind down the passenger window and he comes over and his first words are, ” You must be Oliver?” We stuff me, I’m a little shocked, that I am this famous up here too!
It turns out that “Peter” had been following the start of this blog, and my posts on the ultimate owners forum. So he timed it that he would be here and knew approximenty when we would arrive. Seems he got it right, so we set up near him, and enjoy a night around the fire, hearing his story’s about travel, ultimate’s, dmax’s and family. He lives quite the life, good luck to him.
Sitting around the fire I look above, and low and behold, there is a huge owl sitting on a branch, no more then 1 meter above our heads. I try and get a good photo but as I am not a good photographer, and I really struggle with night time stuff.
Lyndall keeps hearing noises in the bush behind us, and the dogs are a bit unselltled also, so I get up to have a look. Nope, I can’t see anything, but the noises are still there. Cane toads! Bloody biggest toads I have seen. Sounded like a bush turkey getting around. Glad the dogs didn’t investigate it.
Well I can tell you, we are all ready for bed, it has been a big, stressful, joyful action packed day and we hit the sack about 11pm.
This Vid has some of the other crossing etc in it.
Some Random Pics from today.