Elachbutting Rock 2007

Trip Leader: Tony Richards

Attendees: Tony Richards, David Peck, Keith Wilcox, Robert & Wendy Griffiths, Simon & Anne Newton and Karl & Marianne Boeing

DAY 1 – Saturday 2 June

The weather was fabulous and I was looking forward to the trip. There were a total of six cars going. Four were leaving today (Saturday) and two cars (Simon & Anne and Karl & Marianne) had left early and we were going to meet them there. Well, it didn’t get off to a good start. Although I had specified our “usual” spot at Midland as the meeting point, I had incorrectly referred to Midland Gate Shopping Centre, rather than Centre Point and so it was that David, Keith and I finally found Robert and Wendy at Midland Gate at about 8.45, when we were meant to have left at 8.30!

Our first stop was at Cunderdin, under the water tower, for morning tea. It was there I discovered that my fridge was not working, After checking the fuses (they were OK), I finally worked out that it was my cigarette lighter fitting that was the culprit. At some stage, I had taken it apart and forgot to put back a spring that fitted inside the tip. As result, it was not making contact. After fixing that problem, which took longer than expected (doesn’t it always!), we were on our way again. Our next stop was at Merredin for fuel and lunch. Thankfully, that occurred without mishap. From there we headed to Westonia, where some new residential units have been built and money is being spent on restoring some main street building facades. Then on to the Edna May mine, which the Club has visited on a number of occasions, for a quick look. There is talk of it being reopened again!

Our last destination before heading to Elachbutting Rock and setting up camp was Sandford Rocks Nature Reserve. It is situated 10km north east of Westonia and protects 806ha of granite outcrop, pools, wildflowers, scrub and woodland. We spent a little bit of time there following the Discovery Trail, which is marked by posts that have a cute paw print on them. Of particular interest was the fact that most of the gnamma holes had water in them. It must not have been too long previously that the area had received rain.

We arrived at Elachbutting Rock at about 4.00, found the other members of our group (who were protecting camp sites for us) and quickly set up camp. Simon already had a fire going. We were pleasantly surprised to notice that a new environmentally friendly toilet had been built and camp fire rings had been established. The weather was cool. That evening, around the camp fire, there was lots of good conversation, laughter and camaraderie. Perfect.

DAY 2 – Sunday 3 June

We woke bright and early by the resident alarm clock – a crow, to a clear blue sky and promise of a warm, dry day ahead. After a substantial breakfast, nine of us (Tony, Dave, Keith, Marianne & Karl, Anne & Simon and Wendy & Robert) set off on a morning walk over Elachbutting Rock. Initially taking the 4wd track, we soon diverted through the bush to start the ascent. The rock, like most we visited this long weekend was a thankfully non-slip granite outcrop. An easy climb to the top was rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding bush. The top being littered with water filled hollows making for more interesting photo opportunities. A steep decent led to the ‘front’ of the rock (opposite side to the camp) where Simon and Anne led us on to the Wave, and Monty’s Pass – both spectacular rock formations showing the power of water and time. Continuing around the rock we followed the 4wd track for some time, before again ascending back over towards the camp. This led on to a rather steep descent, leading to varied techniques ranging from Tony’s impression of a mountain goat to Wendy’s sit and slide approach.

The morning’s activities were rewarded by morning tea back a camp, before setting off for Baladjie Rock. There was a detour from the planned route due to problems with Tony’s GPS. However we were soon back on track, and had lunch at the rock before starting the climb. The reward at the summit was a large rock cairn, now slightly taller thanks to some site works from Karl and Tony. The views from here gave panoramic vistas of the surrounding lakes.

Attempts to navigate around the base of the rock proved futile as we drove through ceaseless meandering tracks weaving intricate pattens through the bushland. Karl and Marianne left us at this point for an early return, as we headed off for a failed attempt at access to Chiddarcooping Nature Reserve – which had been closed off for management vehicles only. We continued on to Yanneymooning Rock for afternoon tea. Simon, Robert, Wendy and Anne headed off from here to stock up on fire wood, whilst the rest again traversed the granite

Everyone arrived back at camp in close succession, and a roaring fire was soon started – much needed as the temperatures soon plummeted with the disappearing sun. A very pleasant evening was spent by the camp fire, and thankfully Tony didn’t sing or snore too much.

DAY 3 – Monday 4 June

Awoke to the sound of a local crow and climbed out of the tent to find a damp and misty morning. The plan was to take a few tracks and back roads on the way home and visit Eaglestone Hill.

About 9am the mist cleared to a wintery day with a cold wind. Damp tents were packed and we headed off on the dirt roads to the old rabbit proof fence track, this runs alongside the now abandoned fence, the rabbits having long since won the war! A few ruts and bumps brought us to an attractive stand of young gimlet trees in the woodlands, the paddocks having disappeared for the moment. Morning tea and photo stop here.

Crossed a dirt road onto more of the track but it soon became very overgrown so leader Tony decided to take the road, not yet keen to destroy the paint on his new car despite Chicken and Wuss calls! Fuel was now low so on to Muckinbudin to find the two petrol stations closed, just about to divide two jerry cans between five cars when Robert and Wendy found a Only in America TWO thieves failed to make their getaway in a car they had just stolen because they couldn't figure out how to use the manual transmission, a witness said. The teenagers armed with a gun approached a man outside a pizza restaurant in Marietta, Georgia, in the United States. They stole his wallet and the keys to his Honda Accord, got into the car but couldn't make it start because it had stick shift, according to John Williamson, 18, a restaurant employee. "The kid was just sitting in the car trying to start it but he had no idea what to do. He looked dumbfounded. The only thing he had going was the radio," said Mr Williamson who witnessed the scene. While the thief was trying to start the car, restaurant employees called the police who arrived and caught the teenagers as they tried to escape into nearby woods. Unlike many parts of the world, the majority of cars in the United States are automatic and many drivers are unused to driving "stick shift" vehicles, in which a clutch pedal must be depressed to change gear. cafe sells fuel cards to use at bowsers up the road, strange, but this is Mucka on a LWE.

On to Eaglestone Hill stopping at a spot overlooking Lake Brown for lunch. Would have been a pleasant spot but some idiots had destroyed the rubbish bin with what appeared to have been an anti tank missile scattering its contents of beer cans and bottles across the countryside.

A climb up the rock here revealed a much larger rock further on, the real Eaglestone Hill no less, so drove around to the base. We scrambled up to the point where climbing gear was needed to go further before heading back down and homeward bound. A short drive on the well maintained dirt roads to Gt Eastern Hwy towards Perth.

Anne and I stopped at Tammin for fuel while the others continued on. Many thanks to everyone for their good company and to Intrepid Leader Tony for his organisation.

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