Monday, June 11, 2012

Dibber Dobber Dabber

Well no-one dibber dobbed, but we did finish off our three day trek hiking up Mt Dib and Mt Dab, and um, Dob, and a little of Deb. Leaving our campsite, we started our summit attempt on Mt Dab, until it became clear it was Deb, or at least not Dib or Dab. Progressing across the saddle to Mt Dab, then onto Mt Dib, which was most certainly Mt Dab... oops. Every time we reached a summmit we saw another, readjusting our minds to exactly which ones were Mt Dib and Mt Dab.

SUMMARY - Aroona Valley to Blinman Pools, return via Wild Dog Creek
Start Aroona Valley Campsite
End Aroona Valley Campsite
First Night The Cascades
Second Night Pigeon Bore
Time 3 days
Distance 57km
It wasn't the only navigational challenge we experienced, but our uncertainty added minimal distance to our three day trek. Navigation across the landscape is an element that makes a trek so good, opening up the possibilities of where we could go. Camping at The Cascades, a cross-country hike to Blinman Pools, hiking through the Wild Dog Creek canyon and summiting Mt Dib and Dab were the highlights of the weekend.

When we reached the Cascades mid-afternoon on Saturday, it was clear, even without a vote, that no-one was keen to continue on that afternoon to Blinman Pools. The Cascades were beautiful, it was clear, flowing water, the first water we had seen in a creek. Even more amazing, just a few hundred metres upstream, the creek was dry. The source was a spring - the water was warm, and there was plenty of it. We enjoyed our early camp with a camp fire and salmon and soft cheese crackers. Following the previous night's late arrival by bus, and our day's 20km hike, we retired early, to our already icy tents.

Sunday morning was cold, very cold, minus three. In the cold we set off with our daypacks, armed with Kate's 1:33 333 map and landscape familiarity from a recent rogaine, crossing the countryside to Blinman Pools. There was plenty of water in the pools, a stark contrast to what I saw when I was last here in the drought during 2007 - no horizon pool back then. The large, deep pool was irrestible, Ros and I jumped in for a swim - maybe the wrong verb, it was very cold, an instant brain freeze, so we scrambled out pretty quick.

We returned to our now dry tents, grabbing our packs and trying our hand at some creek navigation, always difficult in the Flinders Ranges. We lunched in a creek bed, each of us with varying degrees of lunch envy, before walking through Wild Dog Creek and onto the Heysen Trail, wandering south to Pigeon Bore. We made it in late, just after sunset, just managing to set up our tents before seeking out our torches.

We joined two other ABW groups around the fire, sharing our last rations of alcohol and chocolate.

Early on Monday, five dedicated walkers of the 12 strong group tackled Dib and Dab. We were rewarded with spectacular views of the Heysen Range, Wilpena Pound, and the landscape east all the way to Patawarta, all soaked in the early morning sun.

Maybe some more photos to come soon...

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Aroona Valley to Blinman Pools and return via Wild Dog Creek
Saturday Sunday Sunday Monday
09/06/2012 10/06/2012 10/06/2012 11/06/2012
Aroona Valley campsite to the Cascades The Cascades to Blinman Pools and return The Cascades to Pigeon Bore Pigeon Bore to Mt Dib and Mt Dab, return to Pigeon Bore then to Aroona Valley campsite
Distance 19.9km 8.33km 18.93km (total 27.26km Sun) 9.51km
Start Time 8.43am 8.08am 11.33am 10.04am
End Time 2.37pm 10.45am 5.33pm 11.05am
Moving Duration 4h04m 2h0m 4h19m 2h31m
Stationary Duration 1h34m 1h01m 2h09m 36m
Moving Average 4.9km/h 4.4km/h 3.8km/h
Overall Average 3.4km/h 3.1km/h 3.1km/h
Oodometer 19.9km 28.23km 47.2km 56.9km

TRACK NOTES - Aroona Valley to Blinman Pools and return via Wild Dog Creek
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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mt Crawford Forest

A wander through Mt Crawford Forest with the under 40s group from Adelaide Bushwalkers. Hot potatoes on the campfire and warm mushie bananas with infused chocolate, Kate set a high benchmark for our first hike.

SUMMARY - Mt Crawford

with ABW u40s group
Start Hale Conservation Park
End Lucky Hit Farm
Time 2 days
Distance 27km
Oh, it's true, she cheated with the potatoes and bananas. No-one, well no sane person, would carry 12 potatoes and 12 bananas in their pack into the campsite of the first night for our two day hike. She smuggled them there with her car, caching them away behind a tree. We all approved of her cunning though, smart move.

There were 12 in our group, after the usual formalities of the car shuffle, we hiked our way through the southern end of Hale Conservation Park, somewhere I have never quite seen due to a too-deep river crossing last time I was there. A bit of scrub, a deep valley, a snack and rest on a ridgetop spur looking over the rolling farmland and forest - all very nice. Some of Warren Conservation Park - great scrub and views - then some country laneways, and eerie forest (forest is always good eerie, as the wind gently blows through the pine needles.) It's true, some of the intruders amongst us complained when bits of trail were overgrown, that every plant in Australia was sharp, overly pointy and liable to kill by a slow death of infection or annoyance (who can argue), but we all managed with it.

We camped overnight on the Heysen Trail's Scotts Camp. A nice shelter with water tank, fancy pants toilet (no pants required?), a sweet pine-needled forest floor for a soft mattress beneath the tents, and a nicely set up picnic table and circle of stones for a campfire.

We put the campfire to good use, as the wind came and went, and soft rain fell. The usual alcohol rations were pooled and divied up - no cheating there, it was all carried in. Some served at outside temperature (what's room temperature when you are camping?) and some warmed up, nice work Mark! I barely needed to eat my dinner with baked potatoes from the coals, and our cheese snacks - thanks for supplying the dual use cheese platter board hut-maintaining-people!

We sat around laughing, poking fun at each other and talking the shit, as one-by-one people slid off to their tents, as weary hikers are wont to do. A couple of newbies in our midst - new to hiking in Australia anyway - won the peoples' choice award for both lunch and dinner: fresh salad baguettes, steak on the campfire coals and freshly cooked vegies (who's jealous?).

Sunday morning, after a bit of rousing, we trundled out down the lane, following roads and fire tracks through forest, farmland and into the very nice Cromer Conservation Park. Yes, there were more fence crossings then promised, but it did not dimish from Kate's perfectly scored walk leading.

Not many photos for this one...

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