Friday 21 August
Left Kings Canyon after a very enjoyable couple of days. Retraced our route to the Stuart Highway. Unfortunately on the unsealed section of the Ernest Giles Rd we meet a bunch of idiots called the Variety Club Bash. Overtaking on blind bends, continually overtaking and then stoping these idiots appeared to be racing and taking photographs of each other. The worst exhibition of driving it has ever been my misfortune to witness.
On the Stuart H’way we went 29 kilometres north to pick up the Hugh River Stock Route this went 80 kilometres east until it picked up the old Gan Railway. We also crossed the new Central Australia Railway.
Followed the old Gan Railway south for 50 kilometres until we arrived at Maryvale Station. The track for Chambers Pillar starts here. The station has fuel supplies and a shop so we topped up our fuel and brought cold drinks. The shop was maned by a young German girl who had broken here travels to earn some more money. It is common to find this in the outback. The track to Chambers Pillar was only 45 kilometres but very rough and hard going. Arrived about 5:00PM and made camp. Because of the number of people visiting this area it is no longer possible to camp at the base of the pillar, camping is now restricted to a small area one sand dune away from the pillar. Celebrated Heathers birthday that night.
The pillar is a fantastic sight. This photo shows it in the early morning light. What is even more fantastic is you can still see the initials and dates that the early explorers carved into the rock at the base of the pillar. For instance Ernest Giles carved his initials in 1860. In the photo you can just see to the right of the pillar the viewing platform that has been built to protect both the carvings and the tourists.
This is Vicki climbing up to the base of the pillar. From here you can see the surrounding countryside and wonder what the early explorers thought. All I can say is those early explores must have been a hardy lot. Travelling on horse and camels with no fridges or air conditioned four wheel drives.
The track to Chambers Pillar is a typical desert track in that it is a single track with deep wheel ruts crossing numerous sand hills. This can be quiet dangerous as there have been nasty accidents when two vehicles have meet head on on the top of a dune. For this reason it is advisable to have a three metre high flag ( a desert flag) on the front of your vehicle and have a UHF radio tuned to channel 10. This way people can communicate their whereabouts. All vehicles in the Chambers Pillar campground had deser flags with the exception of a Britz hire vehicle. Talking to these people they told me that they where very annoyed with Britz as they told the company where they were going when they hired the vehicle yet Britz had not supplied or even told then about this safety equipment. They also had no idea of correct tire pressures. I think this is very irresponsible of the hire company.
On the way out from Chambers Pillar my UHF antenna snapped, due to the corrugations, we managed to use the longest piece and to even repeat this a second time but the third time it snapped it disappeared into the bulldust. So until we can replace the antenna we can not communicate between cars.