Sunny corner… the "usual spot".

dj2024
Getting to know the place
Posts: 15
Joined: June 6th, 2010, 7:19 pm

Sunny corner… the "usual spot".

Unread post by dj2024 » June 17th, 2013, 2:56 pm

As I drove home after some routine maintenance (new clutch, timing belt, radiator, oil and filters), I could tell the single cab Hilux was almost as excited as I was about the upcoming trip to Sunny Corner with the boys. I did have a minor moment when I tried to engage 4x4 and the shifter wouldn't budge. Did I assemble something in the wrong order? I didn't think so. Surprisingly for me, there were no "spare parts" when I finished work, there were no broken bits and my knuckles weren't bloodied from a spanner slip under the bonnet. I was pretty sure I just missed the tooth that the shifter was supposed to sit in but I've been baffled by much more minor issues in the past. Luckily, 10 minutes later I had the problem sorted and the little green 4x4 light was glowing it's little element off.

Friday night had finally arrived and a whirlwind packing effort had me ready to hit the road no more than 15 minutes after changing out of my suit and slipping on the steel toe boots. I generally pack pretty light but I was bringing food for 12 of the guys so the esky was loaded with meat and a little heavier than my usual tin of tuna, loaf of bread and two minute noodle effort. The familiar drive down Sydney's M5 and M7 motorways were a breeze for a Friday night but the run through the Blue Mountains' endless roadwork zones had me pondering how it could possibly take so long to fix a single stretch of road. Thankfully as it approached midnight there weren't too many other people holding things up. A quick pit-stop for some ice and stretch of the legs had me making good time. No land-speed records were broken, especially as I was shifting down to third gear just trying to keep the revs up through some of the steeper sections of the highway. After over three hours pounding the bitumen it was time to take that final turn onto the dirt road to our "usual spot". The first set of directions read like the bible and still, a few of the boys found a way to get lost. Now a group email with the heading "Sunny Corner, <date>, usual spot" is enough to get a full crew away from their regular lives for the weekend and enjoy a small piece of wilderness, pretty much in our own backyard.

It had rained all day on Friday so the available wood was soaked but Thomas (who was the first to arrive) still found a way to get a reasonable fire going, admittedly after a few failed attempts. We didn't need too much fuel because after a quick chat we were both done for the evening and called it a night. Just before the sun came up the mercury plummeted. I tried to tough it out but ended up giving-in after nature called and it was too much effort to climb back onto the ute tray and into the swag. At least I had some time to reignite the camp fire before Thomas got the remainder of his beauty sleep. Shortly after scrounging around for twigs and other kindling, a few of the boys started to arrive. One by one the troops started to leave the sealed road and hit the dirt and then a small convoy arrived with high spirits. By lunch time everyone was unpacked, getting a bit fidgety and settling into the pace of a camping trip away from the city. The BBQ was fired up and the lamb chops and marinated pork were gone seconds after hitting the table. Now it was time to head out for some exploring.
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After navigating our way out of the pine forest we were straight into the rocky shale and red clay that sunny corner is famous for. A few small creek crossings and a couple of fire trails later we were getting into some more serious sections of the forest. We were tipped off by a couple of guys in a sweet looking Jeep about a section of the track that had fallen away due to a small landslide. It was at the junction of another track so we didn't have to spend the same 20 minutes reversing back along the narrow track that they just navigated. Thank heavens for that. We stopped for a few photos and passed some bee hives before tackling another more technical section of the track. This hill has claimed a few casualties in the past so I was sure Friday's rain would make things interesting. And that's exactly what it did. The Hilux bounced up a few of the smaller rock ledges and I managed to keep enough momentum through the steep slippery clay sections to make it to the designated parking station for the next half hour or so. Dennis and I climbed out and viewed the spectacle as Chappo and his BT-50 came agonisingly close to making it past the clay section (while running highway tyres) before losing traction. Being wedged between a few inconveniently placed trees and a rock ledge did nothing to help the situation. Just standing on the slippery clay was a challenge in itself. Then Marko in his newly lifted and large mud tyre assisted Jeep decided to take "the hard way" up the hill. It took a few goes and some wheelie action but as much as it pains me to admit, the Jeep took the terrain in its stride on the way around the BT-50. A quick snatch and both of the boys assumed their position on the viewing platform to watch 3k in his mum's trusty 60 series cruiser chug all the way to the top with minimal effort. Even he seemed surprised at how he was able to keep up his momentum. Then Thomas had a crack on his newly acquired WR450. His first attempt wasn't bad but on his way back down he had a brain lapse and was thanking his luck stars his new protective gear did a good job. Up on spectator hill, all we saw was a bike going end over end and what looked like a rag-doll flying off in the opposite direction. The simple problem was a front brake being applied at the same time as the front wheel fell into a deep rut. The cartwheel action was spectacular but the damage to Thomas and the bike was minimal. The rest of the afternoon was much more tame as we weaved our way back to the campsite, picking up fire wood along the way and itching for some much needed sustenance.

The guys who bailed on the 4x4 mission had the fire raging and the food situation was completely under control a short time afterwards. Joe had been preparing his beef stew diligently all afternoon, so expectations were high. Marko and Danny whipped up two pasta dishes to keep the gremlins at bay until the stew was ready. I also got a 5kg piece of pork into the camp oven knowing it would be at least three hours before it was ready. I haven't eaten so well, or so much in a very, very long time. After the pasta and the stew there was a slight delay in the next course, partly because everyone was stuffed and partly because the extra time in the camp over was only going to improve the flavour of the pork. Fast forward about an hour and the smell of pulled pork and pumpkin had the troops dunking bread into the gravy and piling on the pork as if it was the first food we'd had following a 40 day famine. Too full to clean up, a few beers were cracked while we sat around the fire and told tall stories about the good-old days until the wee hours of the morning.
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A few comments were made about how old we must be getting. Nothing (and no-one) ended up in the fire and there was a total lack of hangovers which is very different to what has happened in the past. It did make the campsite clean-up much quicker and painless on Sunday morning, which was a bonus. Those who had prior commitments departed and the same 4x4s that were out on Saturday went in the opposite direction looking for terrain to tackle on the blue sky Sunday morning. I knew Sunday's tracks were going to be more challenging but I don't think the others really knew what to expect. I must have had 10 attempts at one hill before deciding to let the black diesel smoke settle and give the others a chance to enjoy the track. It was slippery, steep and the recent rain only deepened the ruts and joined a few of the deeper ones to make "super ruts". The depth meant the Hilux was dragging a rear diff and struggling for traction. Marko and the bigger wheels on the Jeep only needed a couple of attempts at the same hill but he had to wait about half an hour for his turn. He dropped his tyre pressure to "give me a nod when it's enough" and never looked back. The pressure gauge fairies must have visited and hidden our gauges since the day before. Next up, Chappo and the almost brand spanking new BT-50 realised that locking the front and back diffs might have a positive effect on this particular hill. Eventually, locked diffs and a heavy right foot more than made up for the lack of mud tyres. Seeing the BT-50 with one wheel hoisted about a metre in the air made for a good photo opportunity and he powered on. With Toyota pride at stake, I dropped another thirty seconds of air out of the tyres and somehow found the traction to claw my way up past the worst section to relative safety. 3k in the 60 series dropped his tyre pressure right down and made it to the last pinch before the leaf hangers on the front suspension hooked into the ruts and they weren't interested in letting go. There were too many chiefs among us, so a simple snatch up the last section turned into to a couple of failed attempts before "mum's 60" conquered the mountain to a winners cheer. The tracks from there were more scenic than scary and we enjoyed a quick play in, on and around a mound of shale before taking a fire trail back to the campsite for the final campsite clean-out.

We were back on the road by early afternoon and very quickly reminded of our approach into Sydney via a long drive through the Blue Mountains as all the day trippers and other city escapees returned to their normal lives. The mud covered 4x4s and unwashed passengers were a far cry from the sparkling road cars filled with beautiful people and their families. But we each enjoy our weekends our own way. For now, I'm happy to get off-road and share the good times with mates as regularly as our varying commitments allow.
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dj2024
Getting to know the place
Posts: 15
Joined: June 6th, 2010, 7:19 pm

Re: Sunny corner… the "usual spot".

Unread post by dj2024 » June 17th, 2013, 2:59 pm

A few more pictures
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dj2024
Getting to know the place
Posts: 15
Joined: June 6th, 2010, 7:19 pm

Re: Sunny corner… the "usual spot".

Unread post by dj2024 » June 17th, 2013, 3:09 pm

And some more
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Cornbeef
Need to get out more
Posts: 4263
Joined: April 29th, 2008, 2:44 pm
Location: Dapto, NSW

Re: Sunny corner… the "usual spot".

Unread post by Cornbeef » June 29th, 2013, 10:38 am

Good report dude , i love that place , it would have to be 1 of the prettiest pieces of country around , & i,ll tell ya their is some good trout fishing their as well .

Looks like a good trip had by all , can smell that roast pork right now .lol

Happy TRax Cornbeef

Not for highway use
Here and there
Posts: 44
Joined: October 6th, 2013, 5:41 pm
Location: Canowindra, NSW

Re: Sunny corner… the "usual spot".

Unread post by Not for highway use » April 18th, 2016, 9:28 pm

Great report. Been riding motorbike through that area for ages but to be honest never even thought of taking a fourby. 'bout time I gave it a shot.
Wannabe hasbeen

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