Trip 07-08/10/2017 to Ruby Gap and Hale River Homestead – Trip Report
The trip emerged from the weather related cancellation of the Mt Dare trip. A few of us had the weekend dedicated to spent time out bush. After agreeing on Ruby Gap two vehicles, a Discovery 2 and 76 Land Cruiser met at our common gathering spot at Heavy Tree Petrol Station on Saturday at 9.20am. Calvin and Jess in the back and Kevin and Lisa in the front as well as well traveled Helen in my truck headed of along the Ross Highway. Our travel was mostly uneventful. One poor bird made the wrong split second decision to take off into my bull bar. The crew of the following truck informed us later that did not get away but perished in a ball of exploding feathers. At the entrance of Ruby Gap we did not get the sense of any recent rain of significance. We agreed on cautiously advancement prepared to turn on any sense of peril.
The two trucks made it to the five km mark. This is where 4WDs are recommended to stop. But 2 further km were indicated as possible until all vehicles were banned from progressing further. Our group explored the challenging transversal to the left of the stone plated river frozen in time. I made the decision to cautiously try the spotted route following track marks. After a smooth transversal of the stoney obstacles entering back into the sand my rear differential was caught on a rock. All for tyres dug in. Dropping the tyre pressure to 10psi did not make a difference and the truck continued its travel to the centre of the earth. 4 Maxtrax did reverse that trend and I was able to turn around. With help of a spotter I made it back up the step to the ‘frozen’ river of stone. After a 90 degree turn to the left I got caught again on a right leaning slope. The left wheels missed a step between the rock plates and bottomless sand made me drift off to the right towards nasty looking rocks. Every attempt brought me closer to significant panel damage. Finally good teamwork succeeded. It consisted of digging sand away under the left tyres until they contacted rock, a track of 6 Maxtrax and two guys giving their best pulling at a tow strop from my bull bar uphill to the left, I was able to very slowly creep out of this challenging situation. Many thanks to all at the scene, also for very diligently collecting all the recovery gear and storing it back in both trucks. We than backtracked to the entrance of the Ruby Gap park and had a beautiful lunch. On that way we advised a family not to advance further with their truck/trailer rig.
On our way to Hale River Homestead we passed the grave of William H Onley who tried to calm a booze fuelled altercation and got shot untintentionally at Arltunga store on 26/12/1897.
At 5pm we made it to Hale River Homestead. As previously, we were welcomed in the most comforting way by Sophie.
After a freshen up we met on the veranda of the generator shed an actively restocked the loss of bodily fluids until dinner time. Dinner was exceptional with both vegetarian and chicken or beef burgers. All freshly prepared and the taste was accordingly. It was finished of by an invitation to participate in marshmallow grilling over a fire pit.
All were happy for an early bedtime.
On Sunday morning we met at 8.30 for breakfast in the bunk house. It was plentiful and had a great variety ranging from avocado, tomato, poached eggs, corned beef, artisan bread to a selection of hard cheeses and sauces.
After checking out we drove up to the lookout point. This was another highlight of the weekend.
What was left now was to return to Alice Springs. We used the northern access road to Steward Highway and then back to town.
The weather could not have been more favourable for this trip with overcast skies on Saturday when we were physically active and blue skies on our way back to town.
After 370km we all felt that we took home memories of o great weekend and the sense of intensified bonds for all involved following our experiences.