In the wee small hours of October 1st, Soot knew something was up, + it was not the sun. He sleepily watched me prepare sandwiches + fill a thermos with hot espresso goodness, then stumbled outside with me, investigating the Been with frantic sniffing as I packed in the Chippy blanket + roadsnacks.
“Nope, Soot,” I had to tell him, ushering the surly beast back up the steps to the house. “You’re not coming.” He didn’t like that much, + he let Aurelia know as she gave him goodbye hugs that there was clearly plenty of room in the back seat, you’re lucky I don’t bite your face, etc. 🙂
The suburbs are still + silent as we drive out of town, + soon the sky begins to lighten. A sliver of moon hangs above the vibrant green countryside, watching the sunrise. We find ourselves driving briefly through a thick morning fog until the warming day carries it off. . . . I cop the first of much flak for neglecting to bring along a journal to record this adventure 8( We pause for a nap + lunch at a rest stop, where we encounter what we think are many flies, but really only a hint of the buzzing doom that awaits us. . .
Back on the road, it isn’t long before the lush Southern Ranges come into view, + with 6 hours travel between ourselves + the beach, we arrive at the Flinders Ranges National Park.
We rock up to headquartes under Wilpena Pound to pay our fees; AUS$7 entry + $8 per night. Wilpena is the remnents of an old mountain range – its peaks are actually what remains of the valley between the long-eroded mountains! It looks like a bowl, or a meteorite impact, from the air – the whities called it the Pound, as in, “keeps the sheeps in”. It may be early yet, but the flies are swarming, hungry for ice cream. . . we are given a trailmap with all the campsites + hikes listed. So many to choose from!
So we take the scenic route, naturally, the Been seething at being stuck going 15kmph as we trail behind grandma + gramps in their 4WD. We pause to allow them to get ahead, taking a moment to enjoy the view.
Then it’s back down + into Bunyeroo Gorge. The Been is quite brave, despite the difficulty in determining which is the road,
+ which is the riverbed.
We look in at a few sites but decide we like the look of Cambrian (affectionately referred to as Camp Brian) – there was nobody bloody there! 😀
We are taken rather by surprise how green everything is. From the looks of it, we just missed the wet + arrived in time to enjoy the sauce. . . + the flies. Bit of a panic about that. Ranger Phil drops by to check us out + offer some helpful suggestions like “Get some decent bug repellent.” We tough it out by napping in the tent ’till it gets towards sundown + the flies bugger off. The stars come out + we wander up the road a ways, enjoying the nanimal sounds + several shooting stars.Morning finds Aurelia in a joyful mood “GOODMORNING BOO!” as well as “NATURESHOWHOSTS!! :D” – her battle cry in moments of exuberance. ‘relia took charge of breakfast – something that only ever happens when we are camping. We were on our way to Sacred Canyon before the rest of the campers were out of their sleeeping bags. During the hour drive along the dirt roads we had lots of opportunities to watch the locals nosh their tucker.
Sacred Canyon meets the description of the perfect touristy thing to see when bush camping – ancient Aboriginal rock carvings in a magnificently formed gorge. Unfortunately it only takes about 15 minutes to explore the area so we improvised by climbing up the waterfall + following the dry creek bed for a while. The :sun: decides that we deserve a good roasting – which we welcome after all the stormy spring weather at home.
We head back into Wilpena just before lunchtime + decide to have a picnic by the Cazneaux Tree – a potent landmark for photographer ‘relia. She explained its significance as she munched her cheese + vegemite bagel. The flies soon got too much for us so we decided to act like city folk + head into the Wilpena Resort for an espresso in air-conditioned comfort. We took a seat overlooking the swimming pool where kidlets were frantically jumping in + then out of the pool. Later we figured out that the swimming pool is refridgerated!! Cheers to the solar power station that provides energy to the resort + powered campsites throughout the Park, I guess.All refreshed (re: hardwired on camp-coffee style espresso) we decided to go on another hike – this time past the Hills Homestead to the Pound lookouts. :duck:
Heading back to camp neither of us could shake that “impending doom” thought prickling at the back of our minds. 👿 We were entirely expecting to discover upon return to our camp a horde of lost fishermen, their dog + their boat. Fortunately the only disaster occurred when the navigator was napping in the passenger seat + the bushed driver took us on a bit of a scenic journey out of the park and further north into the outback. Who knew there was another Great Wall of China?After a fantastic dinner of fire-roasted potato, carrots and corn, washed down with a glass of red wine we hit the hay, planning to be up early and at it again in the early morning……which is pretty much what happened. We spent day # 3 hiking a small section of the Heysen Trail. Being Sunday of a long weekend, there were only a handful of other mad dogs, the only other hikers we saw were a retired couple all kitted out in hiking gear complete with 😀 :ahoy: + flynets over their akubra hats. The trail is crisscrossed by what must be torrential rivers during part of the year and a few times we risked the possibility of wandering in the wrong direction, never to be seen again.