Yalwal – August 2005

Going further back into time (not quite sure why this is, but I only post this stuff I don’t write it) we hear again from Andy about his driving skills. He writes well, pity about his driving… Anyway, says the driver of a Toyota, moving right along…

YEE HAA, what a weekend, it doesn’t get better than this! The story goes something like this…..

Like many Yalwal trips before, this one started innocuously enough with the gathering of Andy (GU), James (60), Matt (75), Richo (Paj) and Greg/Kay/Little Matt (Bravo). Oh no, I hear you way, a couple of IFS anchors to weigh you down, and so too did I think to myself until a little into the trip when shear driving skill and finesse would make up to muddies, lockers and axles that actually articulate. Off we went and the Yarramumman thingy track offered the usual antics, with Matt, James, Andy and Kay (yes, Greg offered the keys) crossing the big bogholes on the hard left side, although not before Kay had joined that increasingly popular Pool-at-my-feet Club that is becoming an informal right of passage for the ATC, but successfully manoeuvred through it nonetheless. Off to Wombat Flat and the play grounds on the creek opposite, Matt managed amazingly to climb Andy’s Hill backwards no less! How could an open diff 75 do that? Mm, Matt later admitted to having installed some auto lockas and managed to keep quiet about them until much later. Greg and Richo managed to thrill all with some air-wheelin’ antics, but still manged to climb the slightly easier hill to the right.

OK, this is where it got interesting. With some glee the call was heard that Matt, whilst investigating a crossing a bit further up the creek, had bogged the ute. So I rushed to beat James to the embarrassing honour of a Patrol recovering a Cruiser, without once letting the reasons as to Matt’s predicament to cross my excitement filled mind. Within seconds I was pointing nose first at Matt, bogged to the axles in soft, wet sand. Never fear, James is behind me nosing in to effect a snatch recovering, well, he would if he could move from the increasingly friendly grasp of sand. Mmm, three very capable fourbies with their less than intelligent drivers bogged, light fading. Out with the manual winch, with which we managed to skull drag the Patrol before it then was able to snatch both James and Matt from the quagmire. Time to retire to camp for a soothing ale!


Sunday dawned to the smell of Kay’s paper thin and burnt pancakes and the usual heart foundation approved bacon and eggs for the rest of the camp, before swags were rolled and Rocky Hill agreed for the next test of brains versus skill. Again, Richo and Greg were offered the easier paths but sheer driving ability and determination enabled both to arrive at the base of Rocky Hill to witness Matt casually walk the 75 up the Hill with aplomb, with James following in a slightly less dignified but equally effective manner. James was by now suffering the Curse of the Cruiser, having killed his alternator at the first hint of moisture offroad, but without any new-fangled electrics to run was continuing on without so much as a By Your Leave. Glenn, can we ditch the EPIRB and throw a Cruiser Alternator into the Club Kit??

After checking out the interesting paths leading off the top of the Hill, we returned through Wombat Flat to the Monkey Gum road out via some toy truck recommended tracks. Claimed to require 36 inch tyres and lockas, Greg and Richo again proved themselves by crossing the very challenging creek crossing that required considerable road building and directions being given by all spectators and photographers, some of which even helped the effort. During lunch, I checked out the next stage, being a very steep, rocky, sometimes loose, rutted path up and out of the area. In order to first prove my claims of possible ascent by our IFS equipped buddies, I led off and headed up the 200m long climb, making quite impressive progress despite increasing steepness, until the Ruts from Hell knocked the wind from my sails and put me at an angle not too far from 45 degrees sidewards. I figure this is close to the truth ‘cos I could put my hand out my right window and touch earth, whilst my pucker factor confirmed this suspicion. Nervous calls on the radio coaxed James, Matt and Richo up the hill to lend a stabilising strap, guiding advice and moral comfort! After returning the Patrol to an even keel and even managing a cross slope 12 point turn, an uneventful descent was made to rejoin the party for a backtrack to the main road out. I’m sure I’ll be having falling dreams tonight!

With light once again failing, we enjoyed an increasingly deteriorating track up the escarpment before exiting the park and making a late return to Canberra, to be met with the great news of an impending Junior Bambalam and a sense of satisfaction from a superb weekend of challenging driving and good company.

Thanks for the ride guys,


There are some more images from the trip available in the Gallery at https://actatc.org/actatc-gallery/trips/2005-2/nggallery/05-yalwal-trips/05-yalwal