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24 Sep Trip Report | Comments Off on Trip Report – A Useful Walhalla wander

Trip Report – A Useful Walhalla wander

We started off our trip from Moe Maccas on a very foggy Saturday morning. After a thorough briefing by trip leader Brad (Jim) Carey, Michel drew the short straw and became Tail End Charlie. I waved to the other club at the meeting spot as we left, whose trip I was invited on but wouldn’t be attending and wished their other others good luck.

It was a reasonably long bitumen road to our first stop across the dam wall at Thompson Dam, but no-one particularly minded as it was remarked several times over the CB just how beautiful the scenery was and how perfect the weather had turned out. We couldn’t have asked for better. Thompson Dam looked beautiful, and we spent some time taking in the scenery after airing down. Well, most of us did. Dave was singing the praises of his mobile repeater and a few of us gathered with our phones through the windows of his Grand Cherokee to see if it actually worked. Apparently, but the Facebook app wasn’t having a bar (punny) of it. Oh well, the all-important check-in worked as we headed up the hill. This should have been a toilet stop but the toilets had been shut down permanently due to vandalism. Bummer!

Onwards towards Junction Hut via Merringtons Track (so many potholes!) We passed a large campground at Merringtons Flat and the tracks started to get a little more interesting, with a couple of teeny tiny river crossings that would have barely been half way up the wheel, some small muddy puddles and endless drainage mounds/woopdee doos. Junction Hut looked like a great camp spot and one to mark for a future visit.

From Junction Hut we headed towards Mt Useful via Donnelleys Creek Road and Toombon Track which afforded some great views in the Toombon Gold Mines Historic Area. Things started getting a little (soft) scratchy from here with some overgrown vegetation. I became queen of the drainage mound in my other other (Grand Vitara), where it soon became apparent the only obstacle that threatened to halt my progress was these seemingly innocuous little humps. I ran out of ramp over angle many despite angling off them but no harm done except for bent bash plates (story of my life). I wasn’t the only one though, with the other Grands (Grand Cherokees) also running out of ramp over angle and hearing that lovely underbody crunchy sound that makes you wince. The onto Eaton Track, McGuire Track and twisty Branch Track heading up Mount Useful.

We summited Mount Useful with no snow in sight. Trip leader Brad had been greeted with snow on his recce the weekend before but we had nothing but glorious sunshine and dry conditions. We lined up the cars for a photo op and stopped for lunch, taking in the views. Dave was happy as we sat under the Telstra Tower. We then headed back down dusty Springs Road which had a bit of traffic on it, including the convoy we’d spotted earlier at Moe Maccas, and a bunch of hoons in Patrols that nearly cleaned up a few of us. Back onto Donnelleys Creek Road we headed for Store Point Hut when we heard “I’ve blown a sidewall out” over the radio from Carey. Ouch! He wasn’t wrong, it had let go spectacularly. There was a large hole straight through the sidewall of his driver’s side front tyre, but it was almost changed by some helpful members of the convoy before those at the front including trip leader Brad had been able to reverse back to help. Great team work.

We regrouped at Army North Track while Brad checked out whether the track was a) driveable with the cars in our convoy b) everyone felt comfortable doing it. Directly in front was a steep, solid and uneven rock section. Sitting behind Brad, I was the guinea pig. If my other other could get up it, every Jeep in the convoy would have no trouble. With a few revs and a little wheelspin Brad’s JK shorty on 35s was up. I assessed it for a few seconds, picked my line and was up without a scrape or loss of traction. It looked much more challenging than it was, but it was just a matter of picking a good line. Brad spotted cars through the first section while the paparazzi took photos. The second section was just as much fun with a large dirt mound to squeeze by on an interesting side angle, and a choice of left or right track meeting back up at the top. This was by far the most fun part of the whole day, I think most would agree. It’s definitely a track I’d do again.

With the day successfully done, we headed back via Williamsons Spur Track, Springs Road and Binns Road before rejoining the Main Road to Walhalla. For those that hadn’t been through Walhalla before they were mesmerised by the sheer beauty of an old gold mining town that appears to be frozen in time. We got to the bottom of the township and aired up, while Dave again went searching for mobile reception, despite being reminded that there’s no reception in the township itself. Apparently footy scores are that important…(also, apparently this was for Jason)! We said our goodbyes and Dave was able to get footy scores for Jason as we ascended out of Walhalla township. For the record, Eagles thrashed the Dees.

By Juliette Remfrey