Peake – 9-10 September 2017

What a wicked weekend!

Peter & Lynne, Terry,  Elaine & Pete and Greg & I arrived Friday afternoon to set up camp. It was a fresh, sunny type of day and after unpacking and setting up, we all gathered around the campfire ready to start the banter and chitchat that generally happens around campfires. Peter P (trip leader) gave us a run through of the area and invited us to share what our goals were for the weekend. Obviously mine was to keep my eyes open!

After a cosy night’s sleep, we all woke up to a brilliant Saturday, anxious to tackle the sand dunes (well, to be honest, only the men folk were anxious – us girls were already starting the countdown till happy hour). After some general discussion, it was agreed that as MPeter had to meet the rest of the crew at the Post Office, the other Pete, who had already been around some of the sandy spots on a previous trip to Peake, would show the rest of us around until Peter and the rest of the crew joined us.

 Well; until today I thought sand was only for the beach goers but, alas, I discovered it was a man’s version of wonderland! We had literally driven around for less than 10 minutes when the men couldn’t contain their excitement any longer. We stopped in front of a rather high sand dune and all the blokes got out. They gathered together talking about how best to tackle this monstrous hill. I sat in the car and glared at it, wishing that a gust of wind would just blow it all away. Pete was the first to try it. His third attempt got him a round of applause from the men folk. Greg’s turn; and there was no need to close my eyes for this one – I just got out the car and walked!

The  rest of the morning, apart from Greg’s sand flag breaking off a number of times and some minor repair work taking place (assistance by Terry and Pete), the rest of the morning continued at the same pace except that Elaine joined the walking team with Mia, the dog, in tow.

Meanwhile back at the camp, Wal & Kerry, Rick & Luna and Alan & Cecilia had arrived. Pete continued to play ‘trip leader’ while Peter accompanied Rick & Luna for some one on one training.
Cecilia & Alan joined our convoy and, as the men continued to get into some awkward situations, Cecilia decided that it was much safer to join the newly formed walking group rather than watch the men continue to dig themselves out of some tricky situations.

Terry, Pete & Alan

In one incident Alan got bogged with one wheel dangling in the air. Pete tried to hang off the side of the car to balance it but soon realised that he wasn’t quite that strong. The boys pushed it here and pushed it there, and finally got it out. I’m 99.9% certain that getting the car out was just as much fun (if not more) than driving it to the top of the hill. Peter, Wal, Rick and Luna joined us for the rest of the afternoon where we mostly drove around learning new ways to tackle sand dunes.

Peter strongly suggested that I get in the car with him for a demo sand descent which didn’t look to bad, so I agreed; however, where there is descent, there is always an incline and, of course, that was much scarier and, of course, faster! By 4pm we called it a day, particularly as the ‘Overland Walking Group’ were stuffed!
Back at the camp Pete built a very inviting camp fire and we all shared cheese and nibbles and some beverages. And that’s where we remained for the rest of the evening.

Sunday, we woke up to a stunning warm day. Greg, Terry, Pete and Alan were almost frothing at the mouth to get going. Peter led the team out into the sand while Peter spent the morning with Terry doing some assessment work. Today’s trip wasn’t all about the men folk; somehow Cecilia, Elaine and I found ourselves in the driver’s seats, with partners by our sides. Elaine now led the convoy and all was well until we hit this steep slope and, by the time Elaine realised where she was, she was committed to driving through it. I think the term ‘traversing a cross slope’, which causes a 4WD to slip sideways down the slope, is a good description of this activity. I was feeling her pain and promptly got out the car, followed by Cecilia behind me. I must congratulate Elaine for a really gutsy try at this! She was amazing! Nobody got stuck or hurt so we moved onto the next obstacle which stopped Alan in his tracks, allowing the rescue team to pull out all punches and get the max tracks, shovels and what else they needed to get him out. Once out, we all decided to call it a day.

Back into the hot seats, the ladies drove back to the camp showing the men that we could do this to! Well, sort of!

Personally I found the weekend very enjoyable and would like to thank Pete for a great effort as the trip leader, Greg for assisting him and both Pete and Peter for encouraging us ladies to drive. I actually found it very confronting at first but, on the flipside, felt safe in the environment we were in.

I loved the camaraderie, the atmosphere and the genuine care and encouragement of everyone that attended. Good job everyone! 

Maria D
Pictures by Peter P