Still a little sore from our previous day’s epic 34k walk. However, our spirits are high with our task today to conquer the “Wilpena wall” and for me to revisit Ikara after a 39 year absence. A meeting place for sure. A convergence of time and memory. Our journey today takes us from Moralana Drive through Blacks Gap, up the wall of Wilpena and into the Pound via Bridle Gap. 15 kms to finish off a week of Heysen trail walking in the Flinders.
Vague memories flood back as we wander the trail. Mostly not memories at all, just feelings and sensations of familiarity. A sense of comfort. Like coming home after a long journey. The connection through time though, cannot be explained, only experienced. The heart of this land clearly lives within me. Though I only dwell in this reality for short periods of time, my soul appears to be connected to the land.
Black Gap road, broad and flat, soon transforms into Bunbiniyunna creek. I guess not too surprising as the creeks are the highways of the bush. The walls either side soon steepen as we reach further into the gap. Familiar colours return beneath our feet and by our sides. The richness of this natural gallery on show in the cool silence of the morning. Only a sliver of light and warmth penetrating into the depths of this ancient bed.
We soon emerged from the creek, bathed in full sun and slightly daunted by the scale of the climb ahead. Little did we know that what we could see, was hiding the hardest part of the climb.
On the narrow path on the side of the hill, I travelled back in time. Once again amongst my peers from Seacombe High. Our very fashionable 70’s gear seeming out of place in this environment, but also, just out of place! But a sense of wonder, along with blissful ignorance of youth made this a great time.
We paced steadily up the hill, stopping briefly at a ridge or two to catch our breath and admire the steadily expanding view. The track to the top is a little vague at times along this section. In scrubby bush, we meandered on and off the trail, keeping a keen eye on our GPS. Looking back at one stage I noticed something a little different about one of the Heysen signs I had just passed. Ordinarily, the arrow points up to indicate straight ahead, yet this one was pointing straight down. Intentional or not, I loved the humour of the directional indication.
Breaching the top of Bridle Gap, with the entry to the park boldly etched in the space, we paused to reflect on our journey from the Elders. Mount Alec and the receding ridge standing tall in our view. It only seemed like yesterday that, ….. Oh that’s right, it was just yesterday.
Looking forward now, and gazing at the ridge to our right we noticed some movement. Contrasted against the bright blue was a very healthy goat, standing proud atop the ridge.
Off again after a short break, with the environment changing around us. Scrubby trees slowly giving way to taller native Pines, and eventually stately Gums dispersed in the manicured grassy land. Lazy Kangas and Wallabies not fussed by our presence, with only the slightest of a stoic glance, soon return to their languid tasks.
Almost as flat as a “Bundaleer pitch” and as curated as a city park, the path wandered though the Pound ending up at the old homestead. We paused to take in a bit of the history before walking the final few kms to the visitor centre and the car park.
A coffee at the visitor was very civil (it was a bit early for a beer), and a bit of lunch finished off a very pleasant mornings walk.
Walk : Moralina Drive to Wilpena Pound
Distance : 14.77 kms
Pace : 4.5 kph
Duration : 3 hours 15 minutes
And the rest……