Gunshot was like a clarion call for Cousin Heather. She and her husband Roscoe were travelling Cape York with Tony and I. She was coping better than expected away from the sterile environments where she had spent most of her working life as a chemist.
She wasn’t that keen on really tough 4WD tracks but she wanted to see the legendary Gunshot crossing on the Old Telegraph Track. She had heard the stories and seen the postcards. By the time we had lurched and crashed along the OTT to reach her bucket list item she had had 17 seizures.
Little Troopy Trailer, the ingenious camper trailer Ross converted from a Troopcarrier, needed seasick pills.
It was close to dark when we reached Gunshot but Heather was mesmerised by the options posed on the other side of the creek. In the stillness of the fading light she prowled the creek soaking up eeriness.
It appeared no one had plunged more than 2.5 metres down the toughest option for a while. Option 2, about the same depth but offering the solace of a little ledge you could bump off, had been in use in the last day or so.
The Old Telegraph Track is no longer maintained so some crossings have become even more challenging that they used to be before the bypasses were built.
The way to do Option I and 2 is to have a vehicle you can afford to write off, a dash of bravado laced with stupidity and the nerve to drive off a cliff to nosedive into mud almost three metres below. Then you need to be winched out.
We could see from the tyre tracks that a recovery vehicle had tried to winch out a 4WD driven by a couple of young blokes the day before. Apparently the bull bar came off but that was the least of their worries. They had been camped at Bramwell roadhouse working out what to do with their write-off and how to get home.
YouTube has some footage of the things they do at Gunshot, including one of a chap in a V8 who went up Option 2. Option 3 is a fair but not-too-bad drop then a run up the creek and out. Around on the left side heading north is the chicken run around the side of the hill and down through a gully.
Gunshot is decorated on the north side with whimsical, poignant and acerbic memorabilia. Most are bits that have come off vehicles but some items have been cleverly crafted and captioned. A pair of boots dangles by shoelaces on a branch more than 5m from the ground. Who knows how?
We camp at Gunshot and enjoy the solitude and sounds of the bush before the first rumbles signify vehicles approaching. Four vehicles arrive – Tasmanians and South Australians. Despite our photographic pleas they all opt for the chicken run, declaring it not as bad as Palm Creek further down.
Following batches of vehicles also crawl around the side. It is still fun but some day I would love to see someone tackle either Option 1 or 2.