I had just driven from Port Hedland. It had been a forced stay there due to some repairs being required to my vehicle’s suspension after I had crossed a substantial section of the Gibson Desert. All the time spent in Hedland was time I had planned for exploration of some remote areas in the vicinity of the Southesk Tablelands. I was a bit disappointed; however I had to make the most of the situation. Now two days later I was at the end of all tracks, having arrived at Helena Spring this afternoon. It was Friday 25th June 2010 1:40pm.The spring is at the end of an 81 kilometre track that leads eastward from the Canning Stock Route; arguably the longest track without crossing any other track leading to a single feature in Australia. This spring is a good place to start an off-road journey, a journey not following any tracks but just the general direction of certain landmarks northward. It’s a long way from anywhere here, and it brings forth to one’s mind that feeling of uncertainty and risk that comes with such journeys.I was suitably equipped with all the normal items of safety such as communications and GPS, and had 120 litres of water on board. One can only hope I have a better run this part of my journey and my vehicle, especially the suspension, holds up in the varying harsh conditions. A trouble free trip I was hoping for. I had to be back on the Canning Stock Route before nightfall the day after tomorrow so I could then head homeward.T h e spring itself was buried under clay and sand and I wished I had more time to spend; to have a go at digging it out. So I now left the spring following the rim of the claypan before turning towards the north east. I was planning first to visit some outcrops that explorer David Carnegie probably visited. These were 26 kilometres away. If I had no problems I could make it before sunset. This was sandridge country, and there were many of them running east west. I was to head north north east so I would be almost heading straight into the ridges.I got bogged on the second ridge, and spent a fair bit of time digging myself out. The Fair Maid was sunk into the sand right on top. It was my fault. I had my tyres at a high pressure, and I had to lower the pressure by 10psi in each tyre to enable me to get over the ridge. I fairly knew this would happen; it is always hard to try to find a balance between a pressure which is the most drivable and one that prevents most punctures. This time I knew I had to lower the pressure, otherwise I would have some difficulty getting anywhere. I still had about 40 sandridges to get over before dark. I also changed the gearing to Low Range 4WD. It was 2:25pm.The sandridges varied in height from about four metres to twelve and they were no longer a problem getting over, Low range 3rdbeing my new favourite gear, apart from a couple of times where I had to find another crossing point. Most of the swales contained huge patches of Turpentine bush and sometimes it was quite difficult to find a way past and through them.I saw the rocky features, Mad Buck Rocks as I nicknamed them, as I crossed one final sandridge today. On that sandridge I also noticed a very prominent hill to the west some kilometres off that is labelled “small rocky outcrop” on my map. I headed to the rocks though, where they were situated nestled in the side of the adjacent sandridge. I arrived just before 5:00pm, just before sunset, and spent the spare daylight checking the place out, before then setting the camp up, lighting a fire, unrolling the swag and relaxing.Mad Buck Rocks consists of many detached blocks of weathered sandstone. Native artefacts are present. In the morning two Major Mitchell Cockatoos flew by and circled around me as I was climbing a section of rock. I wondered where they drank from!! The sandridge on which the rocks sit adjacent reveals more sandstone on the other side – and there is more on the other side of the next series of ridges about one kilometre away to the north. I found a small rockhole, dry, amongst the rocks on the other side of the ridge. There were small creeks that have flowed in times past, in times of rain – not often by the looks. I have been in this area before, in 2003. I was on a Quad-bike and my Dad and brother were backup for me in a ute on the Canning Stock Route. I was in a hurry then too, well, some things may never change!!I would head for the rocks at the next sandridge, leaving the camp area at 8:15am. Spending a quarter of an hour at the last of this “patch” of sandstone I then turned towards the Forebank Hills, or more specifically at the moment, Three Conspicuous Conical Hills nearby that Carnegie mentioned in his journals. These were reached just after 9:00am, as they were only a few kilometres away. I stood upon the easternmost hill and admired the view; which took in all of the Forebank Hills area and also the headlands of the tablelands ahead at least 40 kilometres away. I would hope that I reach them tonight – yet still have to try and see as much of the Forebanks as I can.Now I wanted to see a line of rocks I found in 2003; this was nearby and it didn’t look like anything had changed since my last visit. I doubt very much that anyone has seen these since I found them. The line of rocks seem to be of aboriginal origin, and 30 metres away at the base of a hill there are another three rocks in a line, pointing away to the tablelands to the north. There is a rockhole about one kilometre to the north from here, at the side of a low ridge of conglomerate. There was no water in the rockhole. This could have been a rockhole that Carnegie went to, as he said he found one in the area. However there may be others about, who knows? On the other side of this ridge there are signs of an old shotline or track that passed by going west eastNow I would meander from hill to hill, stopping when the view was good or if there were interesting formations worthy of exploring. I can say now that if anyone is thinking of coming to the Forebank Hills expecting great vistas of bluffs and cliffs and challenging terrain then there will be some disappointment. There are bluffs, with their faces to the west, and a few hills here and there, however, they are of not great height or width, indeed they are significant only by their isolation, perhaps being just the guardians of the more isolated country to the east.After the first few hills of the south the country became rocky, gibber like; dry creeks were all about – the main stretch of hills were in a line of about five kilometres. An isolated hill is to the west a few kilometres; this is the “Fort like” hill of Carnegie’s, and it remains unvisited, by myself and Carnegie anyway!! It is the leftmost “small rocky outcrops” on my map.There are at least two caverns within these hills which contain aboriginal paintings, and if water was available nearby, would be a pleasant place to stay – for a while!! Water does run down the inside of one of these caverns, making me think that by digging, a supply may be found. I wondered when the last person resided here, doing it hard in the desert.The truth was, I had to move on again, those headlands to the north beckoned; and I knew my way was going to be made easier by a large plain without any sandridges, not far ahead. This plain was about 17 sandridges ahead so I moved on slightly west of north leaving the Forebank Hills behind to tackle the sandridges. I reached the plain about 1:30pm.Out on the plain I was thinking of how using low range wasn’t too bad here either, as even though there were no sandridges there were many different types and sizes of plants and trees, which took some avoiding – and a high speed could never be obtained. I had used low range so far and I’m quite happy to continue to use it. I crossed the 13 kilometre wide plain in 45 minutes. The headlands ahead were in my field of vision now and it was quite exciting.Point Cornish is the name Carnegie gave the part of the headland that he headed to after first naming it Cornish Head. This point was easy to identify as even though there were a number of headlands, this one is on Carnegie’s route, and there are caves matching his descriptions. The small cairn of rocks I put upon it seven years ago was still there, only just, albeit no doubt with tales of woe. The view from this point, Point Cornish is spectacular; isolated outcrops and headlands.....no one around except me by the looks of it!!! This place is part of the Southesk Tablelands, and they wind up gradually to the north west leaving outcrops and isolated hills in their wake. Two things immediately caught my eye out there; two separate hills in fact to the north. After some prior researching in Perth I had chosen three features in this area as possible meteorite impact craters and now from ground level I could see that two of the features were hills and not craters. I was half expecting this though as these craters must be pretty hard to find!!! I will check them out tomorrow with a closer look.This place does have its fair share of caves and crevices. I encircled it and inspected some of its features before heading north west. It was about 3:20pm now and I was now conscious of the rapid approach of sunset. The next area of interest was only ten minutes away, a headland which has a creek or stream coming from the highest points; a worthy place to stop and explore.I started to climb to the top; I passed a washed-out overhanging section near to the top. It was not really big enough to be a cave however, caught my eye as there was a small cairn placed in there. I wondered who had put this here as there were no other indications of human presence, aboriginal or otherwise. I pondered who it may have been before climbing up and summiting the outcrop and then was again afforded nice views.There was a huge crack in the outcrop which no doubt had a creek at its base; this was easy to see, as the crevice was wide and what else would form such a feature. I made my way down a small crack in the rocks that form the valley and followed my way down the creek. Soon I came across a dry rockhole and I rested for a moment. At the moment the rockhole was dry and I suspect would not be filled frequently, and if filled would only hold about 1500 litres. – I made my way down the creek or valley until I found a spot where I could climb up to near where I first ascended. I again went to the summit and climbed down again, past the cairn, until I reached the Fair Maid (my vehicle) below.Now my mind was set upon Point Massie Rockhole. I saw Point Massie from the summit of this headland and I made haste for it and the rockhole to its west as the daylight was getting scarce. In 2003 this area was covered with bushy spinifex; now the way forward, westward, was made easier, as at some stage in the recent past a fire had passed through the area and the spinifex was reduced in number, paving the way for a smooth journey to Point Massie. The journey, unhindered by the horrendous spinifex, and the sight of nearby headlands and hills made for interesting scenery. Point Massie was grand, a huge block of sandstone standing alone, reflecting a beautiful red image, an icon looking down upon what is the Southesk Tablelands and surely would have many a tale to tell!!!There was another, smaller headland that was passed by until the valley upon which the rockhole lies was soon reached about 5:00pm and I set up camp just beyond the western bank of the creek. After running towards the rockhole I saw that it was at a very low level, much lower than when I last saw it. There were many animal tracks leading into the basin surrounding the rockhole. The sun was almost down so I headed back to the camp, lit a fire and settled down for the night. Later, a single dingo howled from the immediate north, and it was a fitting moment too, as the moon was eclipsed by the earth that night, Saturday 26thJune 2010, and it felt like a scene from one of those horror movies, I thought with a chuckle!!!!Awaking the next morning, I got out of my swag and stood up. I then feigned a charge towards where the dingo was last night and sure enough the dingo sensed the aggression and I saw it dart away into the distance. What a life this dingo must lead. With the water in the rockhole, surely this predator would have a fine time here, awaiting in silence for the prey that would come to drink.Today was always going to be a big day. The Canning Stock Route was less than ten kilometres from here and there now is a defined track in to Point Massie, though I didn’t follow it. I had planned to cut the stock route much further north from here. To be on schedule I will have to cut it before nightfall, hopefully sooner!!! I had many plans though. To start with I wanted to have a good look at the rockhole, so I wandered up the creek and admired the inscriptions upon the wall as I passed them. The rockhole, which was right at the head of the creek was almost empty, and the full extent of the large rockhole can now been seen.I walked along the side of the eastern ridge of the valley until a point which overlooked a vast area of desert. Here Carnegie took a bearing of 16° to Mount Stewart. I read 13°, though the variation would have changed over the years. Mount Romily was also visible from here and of course the nearby Point Massie. I clambered down and took some time to get back as the side faces of the ridge were much harder to traverse than the top. By the time I returned to the vehicle and packed up ready for departure it was 9:30am. Now I was to visit the first of the hills that prior to yesterday afternoon, were possible impact sites. The first was about fifteen kilometres away, to the east and to the north of Point Cornish. It took an hour to get there from my camp near the rockhole. An unspectacular hill really it turned out to be, with a smaller satellite hill to the immediate south east. The views were good as the Southesk Tablelands made their way past nearby. Mount Fothringham was part of the tablelands and was to the north east – to it I would head.This general area was fairly devoid of sandridges and made travel easier, with only the odd shrub or tree blocking the way. Mount Fothringham lay at the south western side of a section of tableland and displayed its prominent side towards the west. I drove around the southern side so I could find an easier section to climb up, which I did. Again there were nice views. Away to the east were many other hills near and far, and I wished that I had more time to explore there. To the north is Mount Stewart at the leading edge of the tablelands and some similarly sized outcrops in between. Also well in view is the second of my possible impact sites, a conical hill with a block on top. I then climbed down via a channel on the eastern side, water would rush through here in a downpour. I followed the tablelands, hugging the western side for a few kilometres before veering off to have a look at this new hill. I thought it quite unique in its positioning here, worthy of a name, so named it Heather Pinnacle, after my mother. I climbed up to the base of the block; I thought it too dangerous to try for the summit, there was a side block I could have stood on and jumped from – another time!!! Once again the view was great; now I looked to the north and slightly to the east – the third possible impact crater was about seven kilometres away; I could not see it.I left the pinnacle at 12:30pm and started heading north. There was flat terrain first up and then a few sandridges. Almost straight away the vegetation around the ridges was really thick. It was hard to pick a good run up line to the ridges. I lost one tyre and severely damaged others in this section driving to the possible crater. Delays and punctures were not on my wish list right now as I was running out of time. I saw that the possible crater was once again another hill shortly after I had turned to the east toward it. Disappointing this was, to an extent that these hills were not what I had hoped for; however they are now positively identified as hills.I decided to continue to the hill as I hoped most of the rough sections were behind me. Sections of tablelands were quite visible to the west as were many small round and oval-shaped smooth hills in clumps and ranges to the east. These again, as before, will be worthy of further exploration at some other time.2:00pm, and I now would start to head to the Canning Stock Route about 20 kilometres to the west. I started to head around the ridges to the north as best I could. The country was again pretty tough going though not as bad as just before. I eventually arrived at the general area of Mount Stewart however could not see it. I decided to go there as it was now on my path to the Canning. I was briefly confused when confronted with the top of a low flat rise, as my GPS was saying that I was atop of the mount. I had no doubts in my mind though, when I looked to the west, about three kilometres away and saw a substantial mount. This must be Mount Stewart, surely.I was on top of the tablelands and had to find a way to wind down to the lower ground. I arrived at the mount at 3:50pm. Here I started to make my way to the top, climbing the lower gradient of the eastern side. At the top the normal view in this area was afforded. Here I took a back bearing with the compass to the position from the eastern ridge near Point Massie Rockhole I took the bearing from this morning. I wasn’t surprised when the bearing read 193°; well maybe a little!!! I was standing on Mount Stewart.This was a moment of thought and reflection, I had almost pulled this trip off with only another ten kilometres to go until the Canning Stock Route. I made my way down and thought not only about just how much I had seen in such a limited time but just how much more I could see if only I had more time!!!!In this the last section I was more relaxed, and I must admit a bit relieved – the terrain was easy. I passed a couple of minor dry lakes and enjoyed the views of Mount Stewart. I cut the Canning Stock Route at 4:40pm, 51 hours after I had left the spring, this journey over, and just enough daylight to get me to a restful camp at Mount Romily, just up the track.