An ex-4WD instructor, he loves finding new tracks to follow, old roads that used to go somewhere, old forestry tracks that take us to towns long abandoned. And as the hanger-onners, TFM and I love the scenery, enjoy the isolation and close our eyes at the scary bits. (OK, maybe that’s just me. I am very good at using the ‘shit strap’).
So here we are, heading Northwest into some of the National Park tracks which used be closed under State Forrest Act, which is now defunct.
Now let me stop here and say, I am all for these tracks being open, not closed. But I am NOT all for the hoons and 4WD dickheads that chop up the tracks. I really think there should be a permit system re-introduced where your vehicle has to be registered to traverse National Park tracks, and some sort of registration point, like at camping grounds, so that officials can see how much some tracks are actually being used, and by whom. It may help keep some of the dickheads at bay.
We find ourselves on the road to Branch Creek. The road was a logging road some 50 years ago. It leads through areas that still house old logging stations. Relics of machinery could be seen from time to time. Most of the road is overgrown or washed away. The road climbs high into the ranges then dips low, low, low into the valleys. Then up we climb again. Traverse is slow and the truck is in low gear most of the time – which is just as the Skipper likes it.
And I spend a LOT of time with my eyes shut.
I even threatened to get out of the car at several points.
Needless to say, TFM was full of 13 YO bravado and didn’t see any problem at all in the fact that from time to time, there seemed to be no left shoulder on the road. Or that the rear of the Cruiser was often heading in the opposite direction to the front – or the steering wheel. He wasn’t phased by meter deep culverts, not even a little bit. And the fact that it took over 2 hours to get to the other end of the track phased him not once. I have to say, even the Skipper was heard to mutter ‘bloody hell’ on occasion, so slippery and rough was this track.
There was some lovely scenery (when I had my eyes open) and Branch Creek itself was a meandering wonder filled with incidental waterholes, waterfalls and rain forest that housed some enormous trees, hunders of years old.
And when we finally got to the other end, we found we had to a move a sign right out of the way to get the Cruiser through.
A sign that looked like this.