We met this morning at the bottom of Crown Range, club members milled around while we waited for the clubs biggest gas guzzler to arrive. He’s such a big gas guzzler that it took 20 minutes to fill his huge tank. So once Keri and his tank arrived Neil commenced the briefing and we drove off towards Coal Pit Road in the Gibbston Valley. We again milled around there while we picked up Tony Fleming and his son and their neighbours. Tony jumped in with Alister Campbell in his Suk and bravely left the work Landcruiser to his son.
Coal Pit Road was fairly rough and bumpy as we went up and over the top and down to the right branch of the Doolans. The track led into the river but then turned into a track to nowhere. So we took the lead from the local cattle beasts and used their crossing which took us towards a horizontal fence. After crossing over this and with a little help from eagle eyed Alister back on the track and uphill towards the ridge line. There we turned skyward toward the falling snow. Once in the swirling snow a voice from the leader, Neil came over saying we’d hit deep snow and lost traction. Colin pulled off the track to leap out and take photos of Neil reversing. Pam was next in the queue and had a case of “what’s-around-the-corneritis?”, so put her truck in 1st steered wide of the drift and crawled around the corner to find a long wide dry ridge ahead. Most followed until the track split. We were to take the right hand track but Bert said as this track would lead down a gully and there would be even more snow down there, so we did a u-turn to rejoin the others.
Back down the ridge we turned right to head towards the left branch of the Doolans and lunch at the hut on Wentworth Station. Noelene and Pam had to hold back a beautiful Shire gelding from going through the gate to join his cattle beast mates while the trucks drove through. After lunch we headed up to cross-axle corner. Most of us got around without crossing our axles too much and carried on uphill.
We then turned right and headed up a hitherto untravelled ridge on the Horn Range. At about 1600m we turned left and headed SE down a long ridge towards the Nevis Valley floor and out to the Bannockburn pub for a de-briefing.
Great trip thanks to Neil. Those on the trip were Colin,Bert & Noelene, Melita & Grant, Deborah & Ross, Pam, Al, Keri and Robby, Lee & Ollie, Tony, Lynn & son James, Russell & Christina who were Tony’s guests and Glenys & Neil.