Walking the Warren Gorge trail

In early August, Fred and I headed off on the well marked trail in the Flinders Ranges on a glorious day without rain or howling winds.  Such a relief!

The Warren Gorge is a fairly short drive from Quorn along a sealed road these days and is managed very nicely by the local council.  Fortunately it is also open to dogs.

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I’d been given the advice from regular visitors on the best direction to begin the walk – so that the steepest section was traversed downhill not uphill.  Very glad of that advice as at one point I met another couple who had climbed up the hard way and looked quite worn out with still a long distance to walk.

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At first I was concerned that it was going to be too hard or long for Fred with his little legs, but I needn’t have worried.  He took it all in his stride 🙂

Starting at the gorge and walking along the green valley I admired the lovely rock formations.

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See if you can spot the Kookaburra sitting in the gum tree

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Pools of spring water along the base of the gorge are a haven in this otherwise dry land.

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As the path slowly rose up the hillside, Grass Trees began appearing. Personal favourites of mine, and this specimen particularly caught my eye.  Extremely slow growing plants, this one could be close to 100 years old.  You have to respect that!

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This is the flower head of one, and it is very sweetly scented and the bees and the butterflies adore it.

The trail was gently shaded by the native pine trees, before opening out to grass tree hillsides.

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Another plant common to the arid areas, and not one to get too close too, is the Triodia grass, otherwise known as the porcupine grass – for obvious reasons!

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The slender leaves taper to a very very sharp point!

The path then took a sharp right hand turn and up the hillside we went, pausing now and then to admire the view (code for catching our breath).

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The silver leafed plants I know as Mulla Mullas, though which particular one I couldn’t say.  There are also other forms shaped more like Christmas trees.  Nice 🙂

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This colourful plant is the Native Hop Bush. I can remember seeing whole hillsides ablaze with these plants catching the afternoon sun, when I lived in this region years ago.

As we neared the summit, the vegetation changed again, to small gum trees.

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Soon we reached the summit, and more views.

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On the way down, going carefully because of the loose rocks, I was constantly stopping to admire the colours of them.  Nothing boring about rocks to me.

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rocks

Nor to the many geologists from all over the world who come to study this ancient landscape.

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Then after more than 5kms, we reached the bottom of the gorge again, and the cooling water which Fred really enjoyed.

I found the walk to be really enjoyable for several reasons.  Out walking with my buddy boy Fred 🙂 , being in the great outdoors in nice weather, and finding my old favourite plants again.  Long time ago, I lived and walked and rode my horse in the Australian bush, and these plants became my friends and each season I’d look forward to their blooms once more.  Now that I’m back in the Flinders Ranges, I’m remembering all manner of things, from the birds to the plants, to the people. It does feel like coming home………

 

 

A word from Fred

Hi folks, I’m happy to have a guest post on my friend’s blog, although really I think the reason is a bit ummm……… er…… well…….. anyway………

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It was like this you see.  It was a couple of weeks ago and we were travelling out in the bush, heading north – way north of Port Augusta, back to where my friend had been quite familiar with the area many years ago.  We headed towards Leigh Creek and just before the township turned off the highway onto a bumpy dirt road.  Now things were getting interesting!  And even more so when these big birds came across the road right in front of us – but don’t worry, I scared them away from the van!

The road wound around some really old looking hills.

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And then we got to where there was LOTS of water!  Not that I got to see much of it because of this sign –

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It’s the last point that did it.  I got told to stay in the van while SHE got to wander around taking photos of the dam.

Now that was really unfair, and to tell the truth, I was a teeny bit angry at being left behind.  So I thought I’d get some revenge………….   Usually I’m really trustworthy with any food left in the van that’s not mine – unless it’s the cats’ food of course.  However….. sometimes a guy has to do what a guy has to do………. So I raided her snacks basket.  Yum!  I found a freshly opened big bar of chocolate!  Dark chocolate!  Boy did it taste great!  In fact, I was so engrossed in it I didn’t hear her return……… but she heard the rustle of the chocolate wrapping and caught me at it.  Damn.  And yes, she was REALLY ANGRY and upset and told me all sorts of things.  Then she used that funny thing she holds up to her ear and started talking to someone.  Getting some advice on me eating the chocolate I think.  She seemed really worried.  And instead of us heading further north, we turned around and went south for a long time – and much faster than we’d usually travel.  Not that I minded going fast, it was good fun!  I think I was a bit hyped up by then…..  and next thing we’d travelled 260 kms in no time at all!

Got to Port Augusta and found a nice animal doctor who patted me lots and weighed me (7kgs) and gave me some tablets.  Bah! Didn’t like them anywhere near as much as the chocolate!  And then I was really really thirsty.  By the time we got to the caravan park in town I could have drunk that dam dry!  So I did drink lots and lots of water…. with the result that I had to keep getting up during the night to pee.   But my friend didn’t seem to mind much – she just said she was glad I seemed ok.  I know she wasn’t happy being in THAT park though and was only there in case we had to visit that nice doctor in the middle of the night.  But she really didn’t need to worry – I’m really fit and strong and a bit of chocolate – well apparently about 100grams – wasn’t going to upset me!

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Have to admit, that place did seem a bit like a jail, especially after all the lovely bush we’d been staying in.

Now my friend won’t keep any chocolate at all.  Zilch.  Zero.  None.  Not any. At all.  Ever.

So that’s my story.  The end.  For now……

 

Along the track

We’ve been back in the ‘civilised world’ now for a week or so, and finding it a challenge.  However, it’s been good to catch up with friends and such like.  Now the weather has broken again, with rain and cold forecast for the next few days so our plans are still in suspension.

When I can, I’ll bring you up to date with the latest – including a guest post from Fred who has his own story to tell.

Before we came south, we were up north at Beltana station.  I first knew of it back in the 70’s and last was there in the late 80’s.  Things have changed… and tourists are now welcome. 🙂

I felt quite at home out walking in the bush….. more on that later.

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People

Oh how true this is.

fourwindowspress

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

There have been
periods of time
in history
where the people
have had power,

periods of peace
where rulers
have been peaceful,
and people have had
their say.

But now,
we, as people,
have lost our power.
We are living
in a period
of war and injustice:

Like the ancient civilizations
where despots ruled
with reigns of terror
for millennium.

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Rawnsley Park

After I left Hawker last time, I eventually ended up at Rawnsley Park campgrounds.  I had been heading to Blinman but as the day had crept forward I decided not to risk travel on kangaroo roads in fading daylight.  It was a good choice, as even though it was still school holidays the staff found me a relatively quiet powered site and we were undisturbed.

That afternoon, with a little time before sunset, Fred and I took a walk up a steep hill where we could view the landscape better.  We weren’t the only ones up there.

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Fred began making a great deal of noise about this…… and got told to shut it.  I’ve figured out since that he thinks he’s protecting me from them, so have tackled his behaviour differently with reasonable success.

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It was a steep climb and I was glad to stop and admire the view along the way.  It also kept pulling me upwards…

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Looking down on the campground below, in a north westerly direction. Beyond the buildings is a long stretch where bush campers can setup for lovely private views.  There are also a couple of toilets along the way but aside from that campers need to be self sufficient.  In season, campfires can be lit if you have your own wood supply. I’m certainly hoping to return there at some stage.

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This shows Rawnsley Bluff and the little Eco Village – high class accommodation for the wealthy.  There is a walk to the top of the bluff but I passed on that 🙂

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Don’t think this land is only grey/greens.  This Cassia lights up the landscape especially in the light of the setting sun.

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The type of view I love – no houses! 🙂

It was time to return to camp while it was still daylight as I didn’t fancy finding my way down the steep rocky path in the dark.  It was a nice conclusion to a lovely day of exploring.  It was also forecast to be frosty overnight and we needed to prepare for that.

Next morning despite the freezing conditions, Fred and I were out exploring at sunrise.  More on that next time.

Today we’re back in Hawker, about to head north to Parachilna.  It has changed a lot since I was there last and I”m curious to see the changes.  There’s also an art exhibition I’m wanting to see.  There’s unusually some rain around and I figure I may as well be nice and warm in the van travelling as sitting somewhere chilly 🙂