Blog: Creek bank DANGER!
Fearless traveller Lloyd Junor recounts a heart-racing stunt at a treacherous creek crossing...
WE WERE IN THE Flinders Ranges, near Parachilna Gorge. It had rained all night until the van park in Hawker was awash. I had two lady passengers in the One-Ten Land Rover, and we needed to head north once out on the bitumen.
The rain had created some fast streams, and as I approached the bottom of a gully I
could see the water racing downhill. It was clear water. I had crossed this creek many times, but never seen it so full or fast. I edged forward in low range very slowly and then there was an almighty thump and the nose of the Landy suddenly dipped. Outside the car, what had happened was apparent.
The fast-flowing water had undercut the creek bank, and the ground I assumed to be solid was only a shelf of the former surface, with nothing under it. The Landy was sitting on its chassis, with the front wheels suspended in the water, and the rear wheels had no grip at all.
We had a PTO winch on the front, but it would have been impossible to mount the far bank of the creek – it was vertical. The front end would need to be lifted in order to get onto the far bank. One solution was to construct a ramp of stones for each front wheel to roll up on. There were hundreds of stones in the creek bed, so it was a matter of setting to and using stones to make a ramp for each wheel. Crikey!
THE WATER WAS waist-deep and unbelievably icy. As the ramps grew in height, the rushing water pushed them over. They had to be built and rebuilt several times. Fortunately, there was no shortage of robust trees nearby, so I wrapped
a trunk protecor around a big tree and walked the winch cable out to it. With the winch cable as tight as a violin string, plus all wheels slowly rotating in low range,
the chassis screeched as the Landy was pulled across the surface.
Then came the moment of truth when the rear wheels dropped into the creek, and it seemed forever before the Landy's wheels began to help move it forward. The front crawled up the stone ramps, the rear sank into the water... then, suddenly, we were moving positively.
For a few moments I had feared the winch cable would break – then we would have been in real strife! All ended up alright, but at the time my heart was racing. It taught me to regard all creek banks with suspicion, even familiar ones. It’s a mistake I won’t make again!
WORDS Lloyd Junor
Written exclusively for Caravan World Online