2019 Road Trip – Nunijup Lake to Redmond West (Mundal 4WD Track)

25/08/2019

Richard was in contact last night and he is fine to come on the Road Trip, well sort of ?? We plan to meet with him at Tenterden later this morning. So after breakfast we move the camper into the sun to dry whilst we have a morning search of the surrounding area.

We find many orchids, however I will only mention those different to the ones found here yesterday. First up was a very nice specimen of the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) which can have up to 25 flowers per orchid. Also found nearby was a fertilised specimen of a Scented Autumn/Autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum Sp.) Funnily enough both these can have up to 25 flowers as well.

The donkey orchids found appear to be much paler versions of the Purple pansy orchid (Diuris langifolia). One is found fighting with a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva). Please feel free to correct my classification of the donkey orchid as I am far from positive on my ID.

A surprise find was a magnificent white spider orchid. A solitary Tangled white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. redacta) is in flower with it’s twin yet to open. I have chosen this classification due to the small size of the orchid and the 4 uniform rows of lamina calli. This is the first time we have discovered this species. Exciting find.

It’s nearly 10am and the camper has dried out so we pack up and move on so we can explore another spot before we will need to meet up with Richard in Tenterden. We make our way to Orchid Nature Reserve on Yerimunup Road just north of Tenterden. We had just parked up and headed into the bush when Richard calls asking where to meet exactly as he is in Tenterden. Oh well so much for exploring a new location. It will have to wait for another time.

Richard is still quite unwell but he did not wish to miss out, so we meet up on the Albany Hwy and head down to Albany, via a toilet stop in Mount Barker. At Albany we call into the local IGA at the bottom of York Street to buy supplies. Time to start our 4WD Trek to Mundairing – 900kms of the Mundal Track to go.

Leaving Albany on Princess Royal Drive, we turn into Lower Denmark Road and head to Elleker. Turning north into Marbelup Road we pull over to take our official start of the track photo.

Marbelup Rd – Elleker. On the Mundal Track

We hit the South Coast Hwy however only to turn off pretty much 50 mts down onto Marbelup North Road. We are now on gravel.!! We pull over at the intersection with Cochrane Road to have some lunch as it is nearly 1pm. Taking Cochrane Road west to Hunwick Road, where we continue west for some way. Finally we turn north into Redmond West Road and now have to find the sandy track that will be the real start to the track. Pulling over at what we feel is the right track, we await Richard whilst he checks on his dash GPS, which he is yet to master. Seems to be the correct sandy track so into the unknown we head.

Tame part of the Mundal Track

The track soon turns into mud hole after mud hole and one time we actually drive over a pot hole pitted gravel causeway through a very full swamp. Slip either side and there would be no getting out.

Mudal Track – Just off the gravel causeway

At one spot we got out to check a bog hole and stumbled across some decent sized snail orchids. I am naming this on the Red sepaled snail orchid (Pterostylis erubescens) due to these features: Flared hood, uniformly thickened lateral sepals, hairy stem and dorsal sepal extending beyond the petals. This orchid is found from Mandurah to Albany during the period late July to September. The common name eludes to the fact they age reddish-brown.

We eventually come to a massive bog hole which has 4 choices to get through. After deliberating for too long, Deb finally attempts the track to the far left. Buggar,she gets stuck. After many attempts to rock her way out, the MaxTrax come to the rescue.

Mundal Track – Seconds before getting stuck.

Now Richards turn to tackle the bog hole. Then he has a brain fade and for whatever reason he takes to 2nd track from the left, which proved a big mistake. He is stuck and the water is much deeper. His Triton bottoms out and even using 4 MaxTrax he does not move. Due to the water depth he has to get in and out of his Triton through the drivers window,

Mundal Track – Bad decision

Well we need to try the Snatch Straps. Connecting two together using shackles, Deb unhitches our trailer and reverses as close to the mud hole as she dares. First attempt we here a loud crack so stop dead. It turns out we bent the crap out of one of Richard’s MaxTrax, so nothing too dire. 2nd attempt is successful.. Big sighs of relief.

Onward we go however, a few kms along if that, we come to another large water hazard. There is no chicken track to the left and the one to the right leads to options all driving through rushes in a swampy area. Options limited and with it getting near 4pm we need to find somewhere to set up camp. Nowhere to go, so we set up camp on the actual track. I then suggest walking along the track to the so called river crossing, as if it is too deep then why attempt to get through this large water hazard. Richard and I grab a torch, as we have no idea how far up it is, and head off whilst Deb looks into setting up camp and collecting some firewood. We reach, what we later find out is Hay River, and it is flowing strongly about thigh deep, so way to dangerous for us to try and cross. We make it back to camp around 5.30pm and get the fire raging. We then settle in for a great night around the fire. Later with Hot water bottles filled we hit he sack. Not a great start to our Mundal Track adventure, in fact we have decided not to attempt ant more this time and will come back another year when the track is drier.

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