J18.34 Balladonia to Hopetoun

By ruzamada
This post is part of a series called Journey 18 ● PolArt 2015
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With last night’s storms rolling past Balladonia, I toyed with the idea of popping out to take some snaps of the storms in the distance with clear skies above – a prime opportunity given my distance from any major towns and their light pollution – so what happened is no surprise when I’m on holiday, I laid-down for a moment and woke up hours later, there goes that idea! The upside was plenty of sleep to start today’s drive with a brief fuel stop in Norseman and an unplanned detour to see Peak Charles, with the Lake King-Norseman Road located about 55km south of Norseman, north of Salmon Gums. I knew months ago this would be a long detour and a risky one if weather was less than favourable, though with dry conditions, I took the challenge head-on and chose to see how far we can get toward Peak Charles. Unfortunately 27km down the gravel track, which at times slowed me down to 10km/h due to the poorly maintained condition of the track, I had come across one obstacle too large and risky. A simple puddle but a quick check of the depth, plus the slushy mud nearby from the rainfall that started just 30 minutes earlier, it was too much of a risk and I chose to turn back. A further delay was notched up when I took a shortcut towards the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy and came across a mud-pit as wide as the track and upto 500mm deep, this was 4WD only territory! Back the long way around we go, though I’d like to return here one day with a suitable 4WD and in better conditions to try and reach the peak, which is said to have fantastic views even as far out as the Southern Ocean on a clear day, impressive given how far it is from the coast. With mud all over the car, I headed to Esperance for a fillup and a bite, then enjoyed the epic view from Observatory Point before gusty winds and rain chased a group of French tourists and myself away!

Unfortunately with the Peak Charles detour I had lost a few hours that would’ve been handy to enjoy Starvation Bay Lookout, Mason Bay and a few beaches around Hopetoun, but the first two highlights of this area we’ll have to come back another time to discover. Today I was also hoping to climb Mount Barren from Hopetoun but this looks like an early-morning visit for tomorrow, off to sleep early ahead of possibly 10 hours on the go before rolling back into the garage, as if I had come home from work on a Friday 🙂

This entry was posted in Journey 18 ● PolArt 2015, Journeys
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