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Friday, 22 February 2013

20th May 2007, Shaw River, Marble Bar Road, WA

Before I moved to Karratha I spent 18 months at Port Hedland, WA which was basically built to serve the mining industry. The port exports iron ore and salt and it’s not unusual to see 10 or 12 ships waiting to be processed through the port and often 6 may be more in the process of loading.

 Fuel for the region is also off loaded and there’s a rail terminal as its end of the line for iron ore rail trains.

I usually worked 6 days a week with Tuesdays off and all of my days off I would leave town and take a ride somewhere.

This particular trip (the first of two) I decided to run north along National 1 (The Great Northern Hwy) and take the road to Marble Bar.

Map of route;
It’s not the most spectacular trip for scenery unless you’re into flat coastal plains with a few mediocre trees, a few dry creeks/rivers lined with gum trees, spinifex grass and depending on the time of year: wild flowers

The first picture shows a pool of water where I stopped for a breather and a drink. It’s important to keep fluids up, you can get by without food for a couple days but fluids are a must. Exact location unknown but point B on the map looks close enough.

My next stop was the Shaw River (Point D on the map) and where I spent the rest of the afternoon. There was plenty of water and though not that deep you can still get wet and cool off. I could have spent more time here and stayed the night but I only had the one day off.

 The next few pictures show the bike parked in what could be described as a camping ground (if you don’t mind sharing with a cow or two) and no doubt would be used as such by many.

The line of trees across the middle of the picture is where the road crosses the river. 

The bike is parked in a nice shady spot

The water in the foreground is only ankle deep but there's deeper water behind the trees in the back ground
What could be a nice place to stay a few days at the end of the wet season.

This road also serves the mining around Marble Bar so triple and quad trailer road trains to Port Hedland and they all have to cross the river at this point. Looking west in this view. I walked the length of this ford.

The water flows from the south and under the road way to the northern sign.

I also wonder at the locations of some these water level markers. If you’re close enough to read most of them, you’re all ready under water. I didn’t take much notice at the time but it looks like this crossing has been built three times looking at the concrete layers.

The water looks inviting but there's plenty of tree branches and logs hidden in the water.
On the way back home I noticed a small sign post just the other side of the river crossing. Doolena Gorge, the sign read. Point C on the map shows the track heading south which is not really meant for a bike (Honda ST1100A) designed for 180kph cruising on the Autobahns of Germany.

The track wasn’t too bad so I slowly rode in and and at the end of it I found this. The body of water and the cliff face are visible on the map if you zoom in and follow the track until it ends.

Looking left of the previos picture. Gum trees are a dead giveaway for creek or a river courses even though there's no water.

A photo can only give you an idea, it's better to be there and see the detail.

The road is behind the trees to the left in the background. This was the only place I park the bike safely as it's fairly sandy and this would be under water in times of peak flow.

I was only there for half an hour; just long enough to snap a few pictures as I wanted to be back in town before dark if at all possible.

As luck would have it I had a shower or two of rain on the way back near Point B on the map but I missed a major down pour (I could see it crossing the road ahead). One big massive lightening storm with highly visible strikes to the ground about 1km away is not a good thing to be around.

Total return distance for the trip was 312kms