Yulara To Warakuna Roadhouse We were all up and away early hoping to catch the 3pm session of the balloon release at Giles. It would be worth the effort as it promised a good tour and history of the weather station. There are two releases of weather monitoring balloons every day at the station. Lunch was taken at Lassiters Cave, the site where Lassiter sheltered while waiting for rescue after a failed expedition to find a 'lost’ gold reef he had discovered on an earlier trip south west of Alice Springs. It's a lovely dry creek bed with lots of shade trees and a commodious cave. Shame about the unlucky history. He spent 25 days sheltering there in a hot December, then pushed on to try and reached the Olgas but died of hunger and thirst at the Ervin River. No-one has ever found the lost reef, but they still search. A grandson is the latest, who was in the news after we returned. He believes he knows the site and is trying to raise interest in an expedition. Apparently Lassiter described the reef as being around 7 miles (km?) long and 200 metres wide. It sometimes gets covered by drifting sand according to the grandson.   Sandy Blight Junction is just over the NT border in WA and was so named by Len Beadell who surveyed and scraped the road in the 1950s. He marked a large white gum tree with a blaze and tin sign of its name. He and his crew got a bad case of sandy blight eye infections when putting the road in. We had looked forward to travelling on a "Beadell" road and since leaving the Olgas had been travelling on the Gunbarrel Highway originally made by Len and his crew of 5-6 men. The 7000km of his roads which he pushed in the 1950s are mostly not maintained now, but are sought after as four wheel drive tracks. Those he pushed round the Wimmera  Rocket Range are better looked after. I'm sure his roads will be again maintained in the near future to cater for a growing tourist interest. We stopped at the tree as did another party of three cars from NSW. The tree is a lovely specimen over 100ft high with a restored tin sign that names the crew. The scenery on the Gunbarrel Hwy near and over the WA border is spectacular, particularly round the Docker River. Many ranges, jump ups and mesas abound. Great for paintings. We passed the Olia Range (on the left) and the Petermann Ranges (on the right), then Bloods Range (left), Walter James Range (left), and some great crescent closes near the road finishing in the Schwerin crescent (right). Great painting opportunities here with the red colors of the hills and bright green of the new grasses and bushes. That night we camped at the Warakurna  Roadhouse at the start of the Rawlings Range. Sadly the old Gunbarrel Hwy runs alongside this Range but is not travelled much and marked as closed as it's in poor condition. We won't  travel that way but we expect that many others take a chance in order to get close to these ranges. Tomorrow we will travel the Great Central Highway which finished at Leonora, another gold town, but we will leave it at Warburton. The roadhouse is great with super clean showers and camp kitchen where we cooked.  It has a good shop and selection of Aboriginal artworks priced between $400 to $800. Unfortunately we arrived at 3pm so missed the afternoon Giles weather balloon release so we will do  it tomorrow morning. Nice happy hour. Helen led the women in a pilates exercise session. After the session Meg felt good, but the hard rocky ground didn't make it easy.
Home Mulga Park Rd, Ayers Rock,Olgas,Lassiters Cave, Giles Weather Station Mangi Rock Holes,Geraldton Bore,Carnegie Station,Wiluna Durba Springs,Lake Disappointment,Wells 1 to Talawanna Tk, Rudall River NP Georgia Bore, Thring Rock Kunawarritji, Bullant Camp, Lake Tobin, Breaden Hills, Stretch Lagoon Kununurra, Lake Argyle, Devils Marbles, Woomera Photos of the trip Lassiters Cave Sandy Blight Jn, Docker River, Warakuna Beadell Tree
Sun 21st July : 350Km