The night before our walk, Malcolm was doing his best to warn (or scare) us about the walk through to Eyre Depot. He had heard many a tale of heart ache and tears, so just in case there was a smidge of truth to his tales, we decided to leave a little earlier giving us sufficient time for any unforseen outcomes. (code for stuff ups and slip ups).
We managed a pre 8am start at Buckaringa Gorge in the cool and cloudy morning. Armed with plenty of equipment for the day. Variable clothing to cope with Melbourne type weather (You know, four season in one day), topographic maps, Heysen book, GPS, and plenty of food and water. We headed off with much confidence that we could tackle anything this day, and as it turned out, we needed most of what we took.
A few gems along the way though with a white Kangaroo stopping to say hello, some interesting rock formations and plenty of flora with splashes of colour among the green and ochre. We made our way in and out of the creek meandering uphill slowly but surely.
The five K mark rescued us from the creek and we headed up the hill above 500 metres. Up another hill, and up another hill, until finally atop the ridge which would take us all the way to Mount Arden, 12 K’s in from the Gorge.
The panoramic views in all directions opened up bit by bit as we topped each hill. The higher we got the windier it got also. We had been warned that the ridge is windy and usually in spite of any calm weather down below. So we were prepared with arctic style tops to fend off the icy blasts.
The ridge meandered left and right and up and down a little, before the final push up above 800 metres, to the summit of Mount Arden. At the top the wind was even more intense and absolutely relentless. It was only a short stay at the peak, to catch our breath and snap a few photo’s, before descending down the southern slope back to a more tepid temperature.
The drop is quite dramatic, but very tiring. I certainly would not want to be going up this section though.
Just after we saw horizontal ground again, the terrain opened up to a lazy creek with majestic old Gum’s and what looked like manicured lawn area’s either side. Every bit the public city park, but smack dab in the middle of the bush.
This is Mount Arden South camp site, and was very clear why it was here. Fantastic spot, so we stopped for a break, having lunch and resting in the natural beauty of the surrounds.
We headed off again refreshed, and wandering along the idyllic creek setting, we were easily lulled into the comfort zone in these gentle surrounds.
The easy walking was not to last though. After a few more K’s the terrain turned back to the “obstacle course” of rocky tracks and in and out of the creek again. It seemed to go on for like, “evar”. Pretty dramatic scenery, but pretty wild I have to say, and one of our more challenging walks.
Just when we thought we were nearing the end, the trail took us up the side of a very steep hill. So steep it had rope to hang onto. Great view at the top, but at this point we were a bit shagged to really care too much. Once back in the creek we meandered our way through the canyon until coming to a rather steep waterfall. No water flowing over it, however it was much too steep to climb down, so we back tracked to where the trail actually leads up the hill and around the falls.
A rocky dirt road (twisted my ankle here) took us eventually out of the hills and onto the plain at Eyre Depot.
The last 3 kms to the car seemed like the longest leg though. Funny how it is quite regularly the case.
Ps. The gate that we had passed through at Eyre Depot to drop the car off, now had a sign saying, “Trespassers will be prosecuted”.
The walk in to Eyre Depot is now 6 kms, not the 3 that we did. Best bet though if you are not doing an overnighter would be to get Malcolm from the Argadell’s to take you through Thompson’s Gap for a drop off or pick up.
Buckaringa Gorge to Eyre Depot
Distance : 27 kms (with an additional 3 km walk out)
Duration : 7 hours 1 min walking time. 2 hours 12 mins worth of breaks.
Pace : 4.3 kph
Terrain : Track (20%), steep hills/ridges(30%), and creek walking(50%).