Much   time   was   spent   the   next   morning   attending   to   chores.      The   vehicle   was   repacked   and punctures   were   mended.   Nobody   was   in   a   real   rush   to   do   anything.      There   were   about twenty   camels   in   amongst   the   bush   about   50   metres   away   and   they   noticed   there   were dingo   tracks   that   came   right   up   to   the   tent.      Everybody   then   made   the   500   metre   journey   to Empress   Spring,   Alan   to   have   his   first   look.      Alan   is   shown   sitting next   to   the   entrance   to   the   spring   (left).      To   get   to   the   water   (right) first   you   must   climb   into   the   main   chamber   then   climb   down   a   long shaft   that   goes   deep   below   the   surface.      Without   a   torch   or   some other    means    of    artificial    light    it    is    pitch    black    in    the    cavern.      Although   it   was   cool   in   the   cave,   it   was   very   humid   and   it   was almost refreshing to go back out into the hot dry heat at the surface. It   was   after   two   o'clock   in   the   afternoon   before   everyone   was   ready   to   move   on   to   the   next   stage.     As   it   was   late   and   only   a   couple   of   hours   of   travelling   time   were   left   it   was   decided   that Alan   would go   with   the   others   heading   north   up   the   David   Carnegie   Road   and   in   the   morning   keep   going   up   the road   until   the   next   feature   (near   Lake   Gillen)   was   due   east.      A   suitable   campsite   was   found about 50 kilometres north of the spring on a flat section of land with a big sandridge nearby. From   the   sandridge   a   360°   view   was   obtainable   and   the   horizon   was   almost   dead   level   all   the way   around.      Alan,   who   was   usually   the   firewood   collector,   spent   more   time   than   usual collecting   wood   as   a   huge   fire   had   spread   through   the   entire   area   some   time   before   and   wood was very scarce. It   was   now   19   April   2003.      On   the   evening   of   18   August   1896 Carnegie   noticed   a   low   tableland   and   a   detached   hill   to   the west   of   it.      These   were   Mount Allott   and   Mount   Worsnop   named in   1874   by   explorer   John   Forrest   after   the   Town   Clerk   and   Mayor   of   Adelaide.      Carnegie   was aiming   for   these   hills   so   as   to   test   his   surveying   skills,   and   to   instill   confidence   in   his   abilities   in his   companions.      The   estimated   position   of   the   location   that   Carnegie   first   saw   the   features   is Lat   26   16.453S,   Long   124   43.663E.      Alan   rode   with   the   others   north   along   the   road   for   about 20   kilometres   until   this   point   was   directly   east.            They   all   had   lunch   together   under   a   tree   then Alan    headed    east    to    try    and    get    back    on Carnegie's   route.      John   and   Howard   would   try and    reach    the    Gunbarrel    Highway    then    head west to Carnegie Station to get fuel. Not    too    long    to    the    east    and    Alan    made    a remarkable   find.      He   was   riding   and   came   across a   native   well   (pictured   left   and   below).      There   did not    seem    to    be    anything    different    about    the country   so   the   find   was   unexpected.      Note   to   one side   of   the   well   a   channel   has   been   cut   out   to direct   more   water   into   the   well   from   the   nearby rocky    surface.       The    well    is    located    at    Lat    26 16.255S,   Long   124   22.480E.      He   spent   about   20 minutes   exploring   the   surrounding   rocky   area   for   any   further   signs   of   aboriginal habitation, but found nothing. Alan   kept   going   and   passed   some   ranges   to   the   south   adjacent   to   Mount   O'Loughlin.      There   were many   dry   creeks   coming   from   them   draining   to   the   north   to   eventually   end   up   in   Lake   Gillen.      One   of these   creeks   was   quite   large   and   although Alan   managed   to   get   the   bike   into   the   dry   creek   he   didn't quite   manage   to   get   it   out   the   other   side   without   some   trouble   (picture   below).      The   angle   of   the creek   bank   was   too   steep   and   along   with   some   hidden   tree   roots   caused   the   bike   to   end   up   on   its back.      This   caused   some   delay   as   one   tyre   was   staked   twice.     Alan   bruised   his   elbow   and   received minor scratches. Alan   started   to   head   in   a   more   northerly   direction   towards   Lake   Gillen   as   the   country   was   quite rugged   and   it   might   be   easier   riding   nearer   to   the   lake.      When he   arrived   at   the   lake   the   surface   appeared   dry.      He   attempted to   ride   on   the   lake’s   surface   but   soon   started   to   sink   in   the   soft crust.      He   quickly   reverted   to   riding   on   the   shore.      Mount Worsnop   was   sighted   from   the   edge   of   the   lake   and   shortly Alan   set   up   camp   on   an   island   with   the   mountain   in   full   view.     At   this   camp   Alan   disposed   of   the   socks   he   was   wearing   by putting   them   in   the   fire.      They   were   full   of   spinifex   seeds   and   it   was   not   worth   the   time and   effort   to   clean   them.      Tomorrow   would   be   another   big   day   for   him   as   there   were many features to explore and many kilometres to traverse.
Alan   left   Howard   and   John   to   make   their   way   all   the   way   along   the   David Carnegie   Road   to   the   intersection   of   the   Gunbarrel   Highway.     This   was   not very   easy   as   the   manager   of   Tjukayirla   Roadhouse   had   told   them.      If   they were   to   succeed   they   would   be   the   first   party   this   season   to   make   it through. The    first    part    of    the    track    was    fairly    easy    going    (picture    right)    but    it gradually   deteriorated   to   the   north   (picture   below)   where   it   became   just one   long   washout   after   another.      Sixteen   kilometres   from   the   Gunbarrel Highway   they   came   to   a   large   sheet   of   water   blocking   the   road.      After walking   for   kilometres   to   survey   the   extent   of   the   water   it   was   found   to   be a     series     of     claypans.            To   have   to   turn   back   now   so   close   to   the   highway   would   be   devastating.      It was   218   kilometres   to   get   back   to   the   Great   Central   Road,   and   to   do   so would waste valuable fuel and time. It   was   decided   that   they   would   try   and   drive   on   the   tops   of   the   surrounding sandridges   to   keep   above   the   level   of   the   water.      It   was   a   slow   process   with the   4WD   having   to   negotiate   trees   and   shrubs   on   the   ridges   with   John getting   out   from   time   to   time   to   ensure   that   the   surface   was   firm   enough   to be   driven   over.      Finally   they   reached   hard   ground,   made   their   way   back   to the   track   and   continued   on   to   the   highway   about   5:00pm.      It   had   taken   them three    hours    to    progress    sixteen    kilometres.        They    felt    quite    proud    of themselves   as   they   were   the   first   ones   to   get   through   the   David   Carnegie Road this year. The   picture   (left)   shows   how   necessary   it   is   to   have   some   protection   for the   radiator,   as   the   spinifex   seeds   penetrate   the   smallest   of   holes,   and the    last    thing    they    wanted    out here was an overheating radiator. Now   John   and   Howard   were   on the   Gunbarrel   Highway   they   could head    to    Carnegie    Station    which was   150   kilometres   away   to   the west.        They    made    pretty    good progress   at   the   start   as   the   road   was   fairly   good.      Later   on   a   lot   of   water was   found   on   the   road   and   caution   was   necessary   to   pass   through   with some   deviations   until   about   eight   kilometres   from   Carnegie   a   large   body of   water   was   flowing   over   the   road   and   the   men   decided   to   stop   and camp   for   the   night   as   it   was   about   9:00pm.      They   were   so   tired   from   the   day's   activities   that   they   just   hung   a   tarpaulin   over the 4WD and down to the road and camped on the ground. The   next   morning   they   inspected   the   body   of   water   and   decided   that   it   was   too   risky   to   try   and   cross.     Therefore,   for   the   next   two   hours,   they   collected   dead   branches   and   wood   and   whatever   they   could find   to   put   along   the   side   of   the   road   to   make   it   safer   to   drive   on.      Larger   timbers   were   placed   in   the small   sections   where   the   water   was   flowing.      When   they   tried   to   cross   they   experienced   no   problems and   got   to   the   other   side   without   a   hitch.      They   arrived   at   Carnegie   and   purchased   some   minor supplies   and   fuel,   and   had   the   luxury   of   having   a   shower   which was   very   welcome.      They   even   did   some   clothes   washing.      A kitchen   is   provided   for   visitors   and   John   and   Howard   made their   lunch   before   leaving   about   2:00pm.         They   headed   back along   the   Gunbarrel   Highway   and   set   up   camp   at   the   Geraldton Bore   at   sunset.     This   was   the   arranged   rendezvous.     At   6:00pm a   message   came   through   from Alan   saying   that   he   still   had 50 kilometres to go to get there.
A lan    left    the    island    and    headed    for    the    spot    where Carnegie   crossed   the   lake.      Carnegie   mentions   both   in   his book   and   his   diary   that   he   crossed   at   a   narrow   part   of   the   lake.        According   to   most   maps   there   is only   one   spot   that   this   could   be.      The   picture   (left)   shows   where   he   would   have   crossed.      It   is   only about   200   metres   to   the   other   side.      Carnegie   did   not   mention   that he   had   any   problems   crossing.     The   lake   was   quite   dry   when Alan crossed, also with no problems. About   two   or   three   kilometres   from   the   lake   Charles   Stansmore, one   of   Carnegie's   party,   reported   seeing   a   fine   sheet   of   water ahead.   This   turned   out   to   be   a   freshwater   lake   which   Carnegie named    Woodhouse    Lagoon    after    one    of    explorer    Carr-Boyd’s party   who   passed   nearby   the   previous   year.     Alan   pushed   his   way through   the   bush   and   soon   found   the   lake.      It   was   almost   full.     At one   side   of   the   lake   a   marked   tree   was   found   . The   tree   was   dead and   the   engravings   were   very   worn.      On   one   side   of   the   tree   are   what   appear   to   be three   sets   of   initials.      The   first   two   are   probably   “RJ”   and   “FM”.      The   third   set   of initials   was   unable   to   be   deciphered.      On   the   other   side   is   an   “X”;   perhaps   it   was engraved in 1910. Alan   explored   quite   a   bit   of   the   shores   of   the   lake   and   even   had   a   quick   dip   in   its waters,   the   first   proper   wash   in   a   week.      Mount   Worsnop   was   clearly   visible   in   the distance   (picture   above   left).      The   picture   (left)   shows   Woodhouse   Lagoon   from   the north. Alan   departed   the   area   of   the   lagoon   and followed   the   main   creek   that   fed   it   to the   north   for   a   few   kilometres   until Mount   Worsnop   was   near.         Mount Worsnop    is    shown    in    the    picture (right). Alan   climbed   up   to   the   top   of   Mount Worsnop     to     have     a     look.          He circumnavigated        the        summit.          Carnegie   said   he   had   engraved   a letter   “C”   onto   a   tree   on   the   north- eastern   side.     A   tree   was   found   there   (picture   right),   but   no   engraving   was   found.      In this picture Mount Allott is also visible in the background. The   picture   (above)   was   taken   from   Mount   Worsnop   looking   south   to   Woodhouse Lagoon.      Alan   then   headed   over   to   Mount   Allott   and   climbed   to   the   summit.      A   nice view   of   Mount   Worsnop   was   visible.   Carnegie   mentioned   that   by   the   side   of   the   little creek   to   the   north-west   of   the   hill   there   was   a   marked   bloodwood   tree.      This   was marked     by     W.W.     Mills     and explorer   Hubb.     Alan   spent   some time looking for the tree by the side of the creek but was unsuccessful.  The picture (left) is of Mount Worsnop taken from a hill to the east. It   was   time   to   move   on   again.     This   time   to   have   a   quick   look   at Alexander Spring,    a    spring    named    by    John    Forrest    after    his    brother    in    1874.          Carnegie visited it also. Alan   found   Alexander   Spring   a   little   difficult   to   get   to.      He   approached   it from      the      south      and      the surrounding   ground   proved   to be   very   rocky.      At   first   glance he    did    not    think    the    pool    of water   he   found   was   the   spring. He   continued   riding   for   some   distance   up   the   watercourse   in   which   it   was   located before   realizing   his   error.      The   spring   (picture   right)   is   not   a   spring   at   all   but   a   very big   rockhole.      When Alan   was   there   the   water   had   a   depth   of   about   two   metres.         It was     almost     crystal     clear     water     and appeared very inviting. Alan    found    a    plaque    nearby    put    there 100    years    after    the    spring's    discovery (left).      The   spring   is   not   the   only   water   in   the   vicinity   as   there   are   a   number   of   small rocky pools along the course of the creek (below). There   was   not   a   lot   of   time   to   spend   at   the   spring   as   Alan   had   to   try   and   meet   up with   the   others   at   Geraldton   Bore   some   110   kilometres   away   and   it   was   already early   afternoon.     The   Hunt   Oil   Road   went   past   this   area   and   was   only   one   kilometre away from the spring so Alan headed for it and started to follow it north.  Riding   a   quad   bike   on   a   track   made   by   normal   vehicles   is   no   easy   task   as   the wheel   ruts   are   too   wide   for   the   bike   and   usually   one   side   of   the   bike   travels   in   one rut   and   the   other   side   has   to   ride   on   the hump in the middle. The   spinifex   was   starting   to   become   a   problem   for   the   bike   and   every   now   and   then the   red   light   would   come   on   indicating   high   oil   temperature.      Usually   after   ten minutes   waiting   it   would   go   back   to   normal.      The   radiator   would   need   a   good   clean in   the   morning.      The   going   was   very   slow   and   Alan   was   still   50   kilometres   away from   the   bore   when   it   was   already   very   dark.      On   and   on   he   rode   until   with   great relief   he   spotted   the   lights   of   the   4WD   and   made   his   way   to   camp.         It   was   after 10:00pm.      Once   again   the   going   had   proved   tougher   than   expected.      He   had become the first person this season to travel the top half of the Hunt Oil Road.
Harder Travelling