Desert Queen Baths, Secret Valley hike.

Desert Queen Baths, Secret Valley hike.

I’m no stranger to a good cross country hike. I mean real no trail ever existed here kind of hiking. So…when I saw a spot marked Pyramid Point on EOTOPO maps, I decided to plot a hike and see if I could tackle some sort of circuit hike. If you’re heading that way, and want to tackle such a hike; see the bottom of this blog post for free waypoints and a Google Earth Map.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 litres of water per person
  • A basic map of the Karlamilyi national park
  • Compass
  • Snacks & Sustenance
  • GPS Receiver
  • Map and waypoints at the bottom of this post
  • First aid kit
  • Your basic survival kit (this varies person to person)
  • Satphone and/or Personal Locator Beacon
  • Hat, sunnies, protective clothing, sunscreen and sturdy boots

We set off from the cave on the hill just opposite the Desert Queen Baths campground. As a loop back around to this point, you’re looking at 7km of hiking across rough terrain. It’s not going to be easy, you’ll be scrambling up river banks at some points, pushing through spinifex and other grasses probably full of snakes – so make lots of noise and do wear long trousers. Perhaps a set of gaiters as well, that’ll somewhat save your legs.

Facing the cave, head right along the base of the breakaway. You need to get over this breakaway, and after about 110 metres, you’ll find a place where you can scramble up some boulders. You’re greeted with your first view here, and if you look north east; you’ll see a gap between ridges. That’s what you’re heading for. It’s only about 300 metres and pretty soon you’ll be popping out into a rather spectacular valley!

Now you’ve got 1.7km to cover down the valley. Steer clear of the trees, they are full of golden orb spiders (at least I think that’s what they are, correct me if I’m wrong). If I’m right, they aren’t deadly to humans but I wouldn’t want a face full of one!

 

The view from atop the sand dune is pretty good, you don’t see many sand dunes like it in Karlamilyi NP. Once you have enjoyed the view, you’ll be following a little gully that meanders through the ridges until it reaches Rooney Creek.

We trekked along Rooney creek which has 3 or 4 pools along the length that we are walking. The soft sand in between makes the hike a pretty tough slog, but easier than tramping through the spinifex and grass on either side. 

After about 2.2 kilometres following the creek bed, we reach a permanent water hole in the river. I found this the most challenging part of the hike, as the vegetation either side was thick; and snakes were a worry.

After this point I think you’ll be glad to reach the end! Not far past this permanent pool you’ll encounter the track that runs from the Desert Queen Bath campgrounds – to the cave on the hill where we started, so turn left for camp, or right for the cave.

All up the hike took Jake and I just under four hours, and we were properly stuffed after that! So let me repeat once more, that if you are thinking of tackling this hike -know what you’re in for and be experienced with cross country hiking.

If you’d rather just live it through this blog post, why not check out a video of the hike? It’s part of the Intents Offroad Pilbara Wandering series, and below you can see the video starting from this very hike.

Enjoy!

Alex

 

 

 

 

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    February 20, 13:52 Reply
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