13-Jun-2008 -- Continued from 25S-128E
After another perfect bush camp amongst the Desert Oaks, it was time to head further west along the Abandoned Section of the Old Gunbarrel Highway and yet another confluence visit. As we were travelling west, we were coming into pockets of burnt out Spinifex and timber, small sections at first, then as we headed further west along the track, the burnt out areas became very large as far as the eye could see. Theses fires had been caused by lightning strikes the previous summer, but one very visible thing was how the fire had turned on itself many times. This was very clear with one of my pictures, showing that the burnt areas are a very stark contrast when pockets of Spinifex remain in tact. These vast burnt out sections were so vast, that we travelled through it for over three hours.
True to the resilient Australian vegetation, much of the native vegetation was showing forms of regrowth. One native plant that was growing just metres from the confluence was Desert Raisin (Solanum centrale), a species that is widespread in red sand and Spinifex and Mulga country. These Colonies of Desert Raisin often appear after fire and the ripe fresh or dried fruits were an important and much liked food for desert Aboriginal tribes.
Arriving at the closest point to the confluence, it was a very easy 120 metre walk to the confluence. After the usual set of photos taken, I then walked back to check out a Bench Mark that was only 10 metres from where I had parked my vehicle. A bench mark is a surveyed spot that has the exact details of this location, so that in the event that a survey has to be made of the area, they have a fixed place to start a survey from. With the other visit photos, this bench mark would have been hard to find because of the tall Spinifex.
After departing this confluence, we headed further west, into a heavy band of rain. It wasn’t much fun that night, setting up camp and cooking over an open fire in the rain. We received 5 mm of rain overnight, and by next morning things were all very wet. Contacting the VKS 737 HF Radio network in Alice Springs, we were advised to get out of the desert as quick as we could, as there was a large rain band heading our way, with up to 100 mm of rain expected, meaning we could be stranded in the desert for many weeks. Our Abandoned Section of the Old Gunbarrel was cut short as we made our way out of the desert and onto Warburton Aboriginal Settlement.
From there we headed north to Giles and then Started on another great four wheel drive track, The Sandy Blight Junction Track. It would nearly two weeks later before we would log our final confluence visit for this trip, on our way back home.
Continued at 29S-135E