A coolish and cloudless day greeted us this morning. Certainly much cooler than the usual October weather in the Flinders. The road to our start point had plenty of furry and feathered friends greeting us along the way, slowing our journey at many a point. Mostly Kanga’s who seem to want an early morning race. One hitting 44kph! Just a young’n too. Leaving our friends, we kicked up a trail of dust leading to the gorge. The rock face stood large in front us. An amazing rock sculpture that is Buckaringa Gorge.
Lizards feature quite regularly on our two walks this trip. Lazing in the sun seemingly without a care. Right in our “boot scootin” way on the trail. Until we get too close of course.
The Stumpy’s are always grumpy, flashing their blue tongues. Every bit as aggressive as a Maori, in full Haka. The bearded dragons however are pretty chilled. Not moving a muscle no matter what we do. Grant has also learned to look first before stepping on them. It only took about a thousand Km’s to learn that one.
Seems to be a very healthy ecosystem out here. The recent rains have transformed the normally dusty grey landscape into a myriad of colours. Muted greens, browns and ochre bleed into each other, just like a Monet painting.
Once at the entrance of the Gorge we hang a right heading across the creek heading North East and onto a slightly overgrown track. Gaitors were a definite necessity today, as we were not keen to end up with porcupine socks.
The trail wanders along the edge of the range undulating a little up and down with open views to our right of scrubby grassland with the occasional tree line creek. Plenty of Roos to the left and the right, with one Mob numbering in the teens.
The scrubby bush persisted for the first 11 kms or so without any decent rest spots. Not until we walked through the second gorge did we find a comfortable seat. The Heysen camp site with a seat and tank water was a welcome respite instead of having to sit in the prickly grass. Those grass burs f’n stick to everything.
A couple of wild goats welcomed us into the second gorge, but did not stick around to chat. The goats headed off into the scrub while we climbed the stile to the right and after a short rest at the camp site, we headed up the first of the two major hills. About 50 metres each. Nice views from the top, and even though there has been plenty of rain with the recent storms, it does not take much time for the land to dry out. This was evident today.
Off in the distance we could see a break in the landscape. A lighter coloured crescent splitting the land in two. It became apparent soon that we would be heading straight towards this oasis in our muted Monet landscape.
Coming off the second hill, our “roman road” trail did not deviate until we reached the break in the landscape which is the “glistening” Willochra creek. But before we hit level ground, we spied a pelican circling high in the sky. I had not seen a pelican out here before.
Must be water in the creek I thought, or that jumbo of the bird world must be really lost!
The creek is a wonderful place to stop for lunch. The layered cliff face with whites and browns, stood silent watching over the still waters. Wonderful clay pattern in one section. Looking just like a paved patio. If you do this walk, plan to spend your longest break here.
After a short steep climb up the cliff face, we were once again walking the fence line in the grass and burs, leaving Willochra creek to disappear from view. Once again swallowed up by the hardened dry landscape.
A couple of K’s later and after crossing Kanyaka creek, we hit the road. Although the walking was a little easier, the hardness of the road and the increased heat was starting to take it’s toll. Even though the road walking was only 4.5kms, it seem much longer and harder. Why is it that the last few K’s always seem to be the hardest. Strange that.
Our trail end today was Bobby Creek Road, and while we were still 3 odd kms from our end point, we could see a shiny blue glint in the distance. The bright beacon of my small piece of civilization parked in the harsh wilderness. The thought of a soft seat and a cold beer teasing us for just a little longer.
Buckaringa Gorge to Calabrinda (Bobby Creek Road)
Distance : 21.4 kms
Duration : 4 hours 14 minutes (walking time). A bit over an hour of breaks.
Pace : 4.9 kph
Terrain : Undulating hills with only two major hills (50mtrs each). Rocky in places
And the rest…….