Muddy Day in Brunswick, Sept 2023
Don & Jane GU Nissan Patrol
Alek GQ Nissan Patrol
Roger 76 series Land cruiser
We started the day with a forecast of rain in the afternoon. The rain started mid-morning. Coffee at the Harvey bakery was good as usual.
The Coalfields Highway was our starting point for the trip. Our first challenge was a very steep uphill section of the powerline that was already wet from the rain. We all got up with some difficulties; interesting slides right and left. We had two Toyota Prado’s behind us; neither attempted to follow us and quietly backed away.
We meandered along following a compilation of Joel’s notes. The powerline offered more hills, a small ford with water flowing over it and outstanding views. From there was a very scratchy bit with lots of small river lets and ruts. Quite a challenge.
Across the railway line there is another stream and a big puddle which were daunting to see but not to cross.
With intermittent rain, we splashed through many puddles and when I missed a corner, I suggested we pause in the camp site near the dam for a cuppa and lunch. I thought this would be an easy way to turn around and head back to the corner I missed.
Our lunch stop was nice place with river views. Unfortunately, this place has a steep clay exit point and more rain over lunch increased the difficulties of getting away. Hind-sight is a wonderful thing. Looking at the photos taken of the vehicles going down the slope we can see that the clay was already softening. Lockers, lowered tyres pressure, Max-tracks/TREDS were little assistance. Winching was the only option.
With the stuck vehicle driving, the winch slowly, almost hesitantly, hauled each vehicle up onto flat ground. Each pass through the mud created more mush until it was impossible to stand up but the eight max tracks were at the bottom of the hill. Going down was easy – slide and roll. (Definitely not what was planned.)
Coming up was a challenge that Alek solved. Unable to even crawl, we used the max tracks caterpillar style. Standing on a max track, the last person handed the front person a max track who laid it in the mud so we could move forward. The last person stepped onto the next max track, handed the max track behind him to the front person and we moved forward. Repeat! Gradually we reached the top!
The max tracks were caked in mud so we tried to clean them. The mud would not wash off so they were packed onto (not into) vehicles mud and all. In a vain attempt to minimise mud in the vehicles, hands were washed and we headed for the bitumen and home, to hot showers and dry clothes.
Take away: an electrical winch made all the difference on the day, hindsight always arrives late
Story by Don.