John Ellis had a hair brain idea to get a bunch of DRN 4WD folder members together and do a bit of a 4WD trip so n00bs could have a crack at 4WDing, knowing that they had a bunch of experienced people to ensure they got through the drive safely and gain confidence to venture out on other occasions.
The plan was to meet up up near Uriarra Village and break up into two groups and do a circuitous loop up to Mt. Coree then down to Flea Creek and back again if you were in Andrew Rudder's group and vice versa if you were in Ryan Marks' group. We were to meet up, back at Coree camp-ground for lunch and make our way home from there.
Myself, with Brendon Mulloy in my car were in Andrew Rudder's group. Unfortunately I can only name drivers in the other cars and they were:
Leaving Brindabella Rd, we turned into Curries Rd and it was here that we aired down our tyres to give us better traction when off-road. You will note in the photos below, Andrew let one of his tyres down a little too far and had to pump it up again. I thought it was funny.
Turning onto Pabral Rd, we started getting a little more serious dirt, but nothing really over the top. This was a little warm up before we hit the first difficult bit of trail up to the summit of Mt. Coree.
Turning up the summit road, Andrew suggested that people may want to select Low Range as the track was rocky and in the final section quite steep. For me this is nothing new, but it has been a long time since I have done anything like this (N.T. in the late 90s). The final section was by far the hardest and I was second vehicle. Just as I started this short pitch called over the radio for everyone to stop because as he went over the peak there was a 4WD in the middle of the track with a flat tyre. I was committed, so crawled up to behind Andrew where I pulled up, just short of cresting. Everyone else stopped at the switchback just before the climb.
It was only a matter of minutes before the vehicle had changed tyres and he and his mate had turned around and park their cars. This then allowed us all to summit, but we had to do it in stages as there is not a lot of room on top and we nearly maxed it out once the last car got up. Parking was interesting, as we had to do a U-Turn and back up so we could easily get off and have enough room for all to park. Andrew once again had a little bit of bad luck and got a big boulder caught under his car. I didn't take much to get it out from under the car, but it didn't sound or look good.
Up on top we took a half hour break for refreshments and to enjoy the views and what a view it was! The other group summitted later in the day and would've had a clearer view, but I wasn't complaining.
This time the descent was in the reverse order where David changed roles from tail end Charlie, as he was now at the front of the cue, as no one could pass as the summit was that tight.
Backtracking back down felt a lot easier that ascending. This time at the base of the summit track we turn left back on to Pabral Rd and headed the short distance to Coree camp-grounds. It was here that Andrew once again took over the reins and let us on again.
Right onto Two Sticks Rd and we were starting to descend further down to the Powerline Trail. Turning onto the Powerline trail, things started to get steep again with a fair few turns. At the bottom of this we crossed a small creek. As I type this, I am looking at the map and have realised it was the upper end of Flea Creek, which we would visit again further on. Up we went again to we came to Webbs Ridge Trail. It was at this junction that we met up with Ryan's group coming back the other way. We pulled up and let them past.
Soon we are back into it and let me tell you that this trail had some interesting descents. Nothing really technical, but could be a bit intimidating for the first timers. On the first big roll-over, I bellied out just over the ridge in the centre of the trail. You physically couldn't see the trail before you as it dropped away quickly. From that point onwards, I ensured that I was either off centre of the track or crossed it on a slight angle. I never did belly out again.
On this pat of the trail we encountered a National Parks 4WD coming the other way. We had a bit of a stand-off as we worked out who was stopping and who was moving. He ended waiting for us as we went by. We also came across three off-road touring motorbike riders on the side of the trail.
Eventually we made it down to Flea Creek camp-grounds. This where we met up with Flea Creek again as it filtered into the Goodradigbee River, which flows down to Wee Jasper and Lake Burrinjuck. This place was a great little rest spot, with crystal clear waters and camping facilities. I think I will have to go back there and camp a night.
We didn't tarry too long, just enough for some drinks, photos, stretch the legs and enjoy the views. We were mounted up for the final serious bit of 4WDing out of the area and it was up what I would call a facetiously named road. Gentle Annie Trail certainly did not match its description. What surprised me more was the Forester that drove down it. Not saying it wasn't capable, but it would've surely been an exciting ride.
Eventually we were back up to the top and back onto Brindabella Rd. We regrouped at the top and some of the group decided to part ways. David and James went down to Brindabella Valley. Unsure who else departed there as well.
We followed Brindabella Rd to Piccadilly Circus, where once again we lost a few more people including Andrew, our group leader. I was now in charge of the remnants of the convoy.
We headed back down Two Sticks Rd, but the upper part which we hadn't yet driven. Part way down we stopped to view Mt. Coree from a different angle. On we went and we were soon back Pabral Rd, where we once again pulled into the Coree camp-ground, but this time to wait for the other convoy and have lunch. Radioing the other group, they informed me that they were way above us on the summit of Coree. It let the others know and we set up for lunch and had a bit of a cook up with John and Adam feeding the group with the excess of food they had. Thanks guys it was a great treat.
The other group made their way down to where we were. As they parked on the side of the road, they set up in another area and had lunch.
Eventually it was time to pack up and head home. Michael and I made our way back along Pabral and onto Curries Rd, where we stopped and aired up the tyres again. It was here where we met up with David and James and eventually a couple of others.
At Uriarra Village, Brendon and I parted ways with Michael and his son and we went via Cotter Dam for a look and them home.
It was a great day and I would like to thank John for the idea, the group leaders and tail end Charlies for there knowledge and effort. Finally it was great to meet a number of members from the 4WD folder. I know that everyone had a great time and look forward to hearing what the other convoy's trip was like.
Sony α5100 Photos
My name is Mark McIntosh, but everyone calls me Macr.