We decided to take Frenchmans Track out from Iron Range National Park. It’s a very rough off road track that is notoriously difficult. We weren’t sure whether we should tackle it being on our own but Joe was fairly keen on giving it a go. In particular the descent to the Pascoe River, the Pascoe River crossing itself, and then the ascent out of the river valley are renowned for being difficult. We did it from east to west which is even harder since the western side of the river valley is steeper – this is the side we had to drive up and out of.
The descent down to the river wasn’t too bad. We bottomed out a couple of times on the side steps but that’s fairly normal when travelling through Cape York. The Pascoe River crossing itself was ok as well. It was rocky and rough but fortunately at this time of year not too deep. The ascent out from the Pascoe River was really hard core for our standards. It was very steep, very rough and very rocky. The rocks were big and the step ups to drive up were huge. Proceeding up slowly in first gear low range, Joe stalled it attempting to mount a particularly large rock. The car rolled back and the left rear mud flap was ripped off as the rear tyre slammed into a rock behind. A little scary it was rolling backwards on a steep incline. We tried again and stalled it again. We generally try to go as slow as possible to avoid breaking the car but these rocks were too big and the angle too great to slowly crawl over. So with a bit of speed we managed to scramble the hilux over the largest rocks and make it up the rest of the ascent.
The rest of the track was rough but not too extreme. Apart from a couple of extra character dents in the side steps and a missing mud guard, the hilux faired quite well. We made it through ok to the telegraph road ready to continue our journey north.