Saying goodbye to The Cape
...but the Ausventure's not over yet!
We’d made it all the way to the top of Cape York, but there was still heaps to see and do on our way back down. Plenty more dirt, dust and 4WDing to do, with some great camping along the way.
After returning back across the Jardine on the ferry and tackling the southern half to the Telegraph Track again (with the gals behind the wheel this time), we surprisingly still had a taste for more off road. It’s about 60km from Bramwell Roadhouse back south to the start of the Frenchman’s Track, another must do on the cape. The 60km was more than enough along the Development Rd, I swear it had become worse since we’d travelled north two weeks ago. We arrived at the start of Frenchman’s just before dusk and travelled the 10km to the Wenlock River crossing and camped up for the night, having a quick look in the dark at what we would be up against in the morning.
There are two main obstacles on this track; the crossing of the Wenlock and the Pascoe Rivers. It’s less traveled than the Telegraph track and just like any track up here it all depends on the season and weather. Previous people had some fun with challenging lines, however, when we arrived the river was low and straight forward enough. We did notice on the decent to the Wenlock River it was very dusty, like a bull dust fine powder, and this proved to be a challenge up the other side. It was just way too rutted out for a run up and no traction crawling it, so we opted for the winch. Nothing like winching straight after breakfast.
We travelled along slowly but consistently until arriving at another small creek, not big but all of it covered in the slipperiest Cape York clay. It consisted of a small stream and then a water filled trench about two car lengths long with a climb out the other end. After our friends had made it through, they’d nicely covered the climb out with water. I knew a run up would be required, it was smooth but slippery, and I had my foot into it. However, ‘someone’ (me, Micky) had left the traction control on so my foot did nothing and it was a flop. I tried reversing but because of the trailer and the skinny trench a second go was a negative. Out with the winch yet again, I needed to step up my game. My excuse was that I just wanted to make it more entertaining and get everyone involved!
We were all in good spirits knowing that the real challenge of this track was next, the Pascoe River. The whole Frenchman’s track is only about 60km in length, but expect it to take all day. We arrived at the Pascoe and went for a walk. This river crossing is definitely a wild wilderness. Long and steep entry and exit with challenges; very bouldery and currently a medium depth. As with any decent river up here the possibility of snapping handbags is ever present, sounds like the perfect Ausventure afternoon.
We did all the normal stuff including, walking, talking, laughing, looking and finally planning. It was nice timing for the river to be just above the bottom of the doors, with only a couple of deeper holes to get through. This meant we were able to stop, not rush, and position ourselves. The decent was slow and simple, we plodded our way across the river and boulders, with only a splash of water getting on the carpets. The climb up the other side was a challenge, but we had spent enough time winching; it was the Jeeps time to shine. It didn’t let us down! Some cheering and then lunch to celebrate. The scenery then changed completely with the jungle opening up for spectacular views.
The Cape bucket list was getting shorter and shorter and we were running out of roads to go down. There was still a couple more things on my list however, not to mention more awesome camping with great friends every night.
Watch out for our next blog: Leaving the Cape - part II
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky