TRIP REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 22-23, 2003
Saturday, November 22:
Alas, this was one wet weekend, and most of the others (six people, three trucks) who were meant to come along on this trek couldn't, for one reason or another, so we'll reschedule another Deua BDSM trek for sometime early in 2004, when it will hopefully be dry and camping will be a lot more convenient. Although on the Friday we knew it would only be the three of us in two trucks, we decided to go on ahead and drive the trails anyway, because WE LOVE FOUR-WHEEL DRIVING. So rather than the usual trip report, I'll present a brief photo essay on the beauty of this rugged wilderness area.
We left the meeting point and headed off into the park. Thick fog and medium rain lent an eerie atmosphere to the place, and its beauty was stunning. Vivid colours presented themselves at every turn. Not too far from the Bendethera camping area, we found our first track blockage: some trees had crashed down and totally covered the track. Some twenty minutes later, with the aid of two chainsaws, we were on our way again.
The Bundera was losing power on the steep climbs, so at Bendethera, we pulled over for a while to have lunch, and drain the water out of the fuel supply system. The driver pulled out the fuel filter. This had the inlet and outlet fittings at a 45º angle, and when he turned it upside down in order to drain it, imagine my surprise when I saw that one stream was a dirty reddish-brown colour, and the other stream was crystal-clear WATER. I'm amazed the engine ran at all! Suffice it to say that I didn't think putting it back was a good idea, even if it was now drained, and I rummaged around in the recovery box of my truck and produced a new fuel filter. This was fitted, and, after flushing out the float bowl of the carburettor, the Bundera had no more fuel problems.
We travelled about 140km of track, all of it in low-range, and we took around 9 hours or so for the trip. There is a very steep section of around 8 "steps" on the Mongamulla Fire Trail that will test the pulling power of just about anything on wheels. It's STEEP. It proved to be incident-free with only the one temporary setback where the Bundera got half-way up and then stalled for loss of traction. However, it made it on the fourth attempt and had no dramas after that.
At the end of the day, we crossed the final crossing of the Deua River near Jimmy's Hill, and headed off for Canberra, where we were to stay the night with the Canberra crew, who had been with us on other trips. I guess this was their way of making up for the blown exhaust manifold on their truck. After a lovely dinner and some sangria, I forgave their truck and got some good solid sleep.
We left for home around noon on the Sunday. Although we didn't end up doing a proper 4WD BDSM Getaway! Weekend this time, we still had immense fun and enjoyed ourselves. The next BDSM Deua trip will be very special indeed... as long as it doesn't rain!