Monday, 3 September 2012

Flinders Ranges - Day 5

Day 5: Thursday 30 August

We were up a bit earlier this morning so that we could get away and add additional things into the day. Actually, the whole group had opted to do the 18km hike from Aroona to the head of the Heysen Trail. This hike was not on our trip notes.

Everyone was ready on time and pitched in to ensure we got away as quickly as possible.

Heading north we picked up the Geological Trail. We dropped the trailer at the junction as the road was unsuitable for towing. We stopped at the Golden Spike to look at some outstanding geological features demonstrated by this area.

Wes demonstrating some of the significant geological and bio features evident at this spot
A closer look at some of the rocks and the various strata
Wes attempted to explain the significance of the Golden Spike and I'll add some details later to document why this particular area is so very significant in the story of the evolution of Earth. Wes was actually a wealth of information.

[Golden Spike photo to be added]

As we were pulling out of the car park we were confronted by a Wedge Tailed Eagle who had been on the ground feeding. He flew into a nearby tree, keeping an eye on his food, and we took the opportunity of getting photos of this wonderful bird at close range.

Wedge Tailed Eagle
A bit further along the road (actually it was a bit like a goat track) we came across an emu with a stack of chicks. He gathered his chicks and walked them across the road in front of us as we watched. More photos!

Emu dad with chicks crossing the road. Note the dry creek bed in the background, bordered by wonderful old river red gums
One of the chicks

Where have all the chicks gone?

The chick reappear
At Aroona we had a look at the ruins and the Heysen hut, took advantage of the toilet facilities and set off on the days 18km hike along a trail between the Heysen and ABC ranges.
The hike was great. Trevor thought it the highlight of the trip even though he had managed to injure his right calf early in the day and suffered on every up hill section and after each break. Once again we broke into two groups. Paul, Terrie, Trevor and I were in the lead group and the rest behind. The bird ladies did not take their binoculars today so they didn't fall as far behind as they did yesterday and generally caught us up during rest breaks.

General view of the ranges from our track

Taking a break. l-r: Paul, Trevor, Terrie

Another view of the ranges

Follow that track (if you can find it). Just as well there were footprints!

There was a green sheen on some of the slopes

River gums lining the dry creek bed we hiked along
We didn't get our cuppa today as Andrea couldn't get the stove to stay alight.

More wildlife - a shingle backed lizard

In places the material we walked over, and saw, was a deep red

Goats are a real problem in the area. They cause significant damage to the environment.

The sign at the northern end of the Heysen Trail

A view back through the area we had hiked through

Here is our group (Wes took the photo so isn't in it): left to right - Paul, Barb, Trevor, Judi, Lorraine Terrie, Penny and Andrea.  The photo, provided by Penny, was taken in front of the Heysen Trail sign at the Parachilna end of the trail.

Trevor ended up giving me his camera and I took quite a few photos.

After a rest and fruit at the end of the walk we went on to Angorichina for a toilet break then into Glass Gorge for a view across the route we had taken on our hike.

Tonight we are at Parachilna … definitely outback Australia.

Accommodation was in converted shipping containers. Each container had three rooms. While they were basic they were quite comfortable. Facilities were shared but adequate.

Dinner was served at the Prairie Hotel. The food was excellent.

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