Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mt Cavern Trek

Well two weeks ago Judith and myself found ourselves racing against the sun to return to camp before dusk fell. Today, we found ourselves wandering off the pathway and attempting to find our way safely down from Mt Cavern.

Mt Cavern trek, Mt Remarkable National Park

The second time in as many weeks we had found ourselves in a challenging situation. We needed to complete today's hike within a tight timeframe, but that mattered for nothing once we found ourselves off the pathway and lost. We backtracked a little but for a while, were certain we were still on track. Later, of course, it was obvious we had stumbled off the track, so we spent 30 minutes more or less in silence navigating our way down to the safety of the valley below.

A really fantastic hike though, despite the rain, mist and cloud on the way up to the peak of Mt Cavern, the views would be very good on a clear day. Despite what the signs said, I think there would be views from the peak. The walk down the other side of the Mount was truly breathtaking.
Mount Cavern Trek
(11 km return; 6 hours return. Or 3.6 km return; 2 hours return to Black Range Lookout only)
From Mambray Creek day visitor area, a demanding trek crosses the high ridges of the Black Range to the summit of Mount Cavern and then descends steeply into Mambray Creek. The view from Mount Cavern is restricted by tall trees but there are fine vantage points along the route. If your time is limited, an hours walk along the Mount Cavern Trek trail will lead to the Black Range Lookout. This lookout provides magnificent views of the plains and towns of upper Spencer Gulf. Return along the same route to Mambray Creek.

We had camped at Mambray Creek campground on Friday night, a stop-over for our drive up to Parachilna. Saturday afternoon, after our Mt Cavern trek, we drove up to Parachilna for the Shorts Outback film festival, held at the Prairie Hotel. Ideally, it is held under the stars with a gourmet feast, but due to heavy rains and wind over much of the state over the last couple of days, they went to plan b, using a marquee.

On Sunday we explored Blinman a little. This cute little one flew over the car almost immediately fluttering between each of the side mirrors in a seemingly unending obsession. Name it? Narcissus perhaps. Very cute.

Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit


Mt Remarkable National Park
Mt Cavern Trek
Distance 12.3km
Start Time 10.51am
End Time 3.07pm
Moving Duration 3h19m
Stationary Duration 55m
Moving Average 3.7km/h
Overall Average 2.9km/h

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A little too far perhaps

31km each day, pack carrying. Yeah. A little too far perhaps.

Heysen Trail - Burra to Black Jack Shelter to Mt Bryan East

It was Graham's doing. I blame him. I don't want to talk about it right now. A couple of long days of pack-carrying. Met someone who went to school with my mum. Hurt my feet. Got to wear socks with sandals to work for 4 days. Not a good look.

Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit


Heysen Trail
Saturday Sunday
18/4/2009 19/4/2009
Burra to Black Jack Shelter Black Jack Shelter to Mt Bryan East
Distance 31.3km 32.1km
Start Time 8.36am 7.07am
End Time 5.25pm 4.16pm
Moving Duration 6h39m 6h49m
Stationary Duration 2h05m 2h21m
Moving Average 4.7km/h 4.7km/h
Overall Average 3.6km/h 3.5km/h
Oodometer 31.3km 63.4km

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bunyeroo Gorge

Wanted to do this hike back in last August, but missed out.

Bunyeroo Gorge, Flinders Ranges National Park

Bunyeroo Gorge. Pretty dry. Ate some flies. Indeterminable end of the trail when you are meant to turn around.

Who doesn't love this place. Pretty special. Breathtaking still, even though I have been there numerous times before.

Stopped by Yanyanna Hut to leave some goodies for Kate and Tim, who were hiking from Parachilna Gorge to Wilpena Pound. I learnt all about Jude's exercise routine whenever she sees these cute little camping/picnic platforms.

Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit


Bunyeroo Gorge
Carpark to gorge & return
Distance 8.5km
Start Time 1.57pm
End Time 3.00pm
Moving Duration 1h50m
Stationary Duration 9h30m
Moving Average 4.6km/h
Overall Average 4.3km/h

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Aroona Valley to Angorichina to Blinman circuit

It was pretty straight-forward. Ride along a fire track, a dirt road, the Mawson Trail, then back to camp along another fire track. What could possible go wrong?

Aroona Valley to Angorichina (Heysen Trail) to Blinman (road) and return (on Mawson and Heysen Trail)

Well of course, you aren't meant to ride bicycles on the Heysen Trail. As if I don't know that having walked the entire trail. But from what I recalled on this, the final walk on the Heysen Trail, it was all fire track. As it turned out, it wasn't. It was mostly, but the rest was single track walking track, steep hills or creek beds. So our ride was truly some mountain biking, which was slow, but which we both enjoyed.

From the end of the Heysen Trail, as Parachilna Gorge, we rode along the dirt road, first to Angorichina then onto Blinman. Perhaps here, I underestimated how this would be 18km of uphill, and very, very dusty as drivers drove past us. Only a couple slowed sufficiently to not leave us breathing heavily in a cloud of dust.

In Blinman, we caught up with someone who had left a comment on my Mawson Trail blog, whom Judith knew quite well, and whilst talking to them in the main street, I heard my name being called out from the darkness under the Blinman Hotel. An old workmate. This ride was taking longer than we thought, and with these people we had seen, it was 3pm before we left town. Blinman, btw, was only just over half way through the day's ride. Don't get me wrong though, I wouldn't have not stopped and chatted away to our friends, so delightful is it to meet up with people in random places.

Along the Mawson Trail, mainly along a dirt road, we made quick progress, which was good since we could see the time when we could well be riding in the dark (or more likely, walking our bikes in the dark). From where the Mawson Trail crossed the Heysen Trail, we returned back to camp along the Heysen. Opps though. It was a single track route, once again I had selectively remembered it as fire track. There behind me, Jude's words summed it up, "due to information not previously known to me, I know determine the ETA to be ... ". Classic.

Amazing views though. Wonderful sunset. And we made it back to camp after the sun had just set, maybe within 5 minutes we would have been forced to ride our bikes. Back just in time to have our turn at preparing dinner for the rest of our crew. They had spent hours wondering where we had got to, but let's not forget they set that precedent for us the day before.

Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit


Flinders Ranges
Aroona Valley to Angorichina to Blinman circuit
Distance 80.0km
Start Time 8.50am
End Time 6.20pm
Moving Duration 6h32m
Stationary Duration 2h54m
Moving Average 10.7km/h
Overall Average 7.4km/h

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rawnsley Bluff

St Mary Peak is THE iconic hike in Wilpena Pound. So the Rawnsley Bluff hike held a little surprise for us, incredible views of Elder Range, Red Range and the Chace Range, not to mention the views back up inside Wilpena Pound from the Wilpena lookout.

Rawnsley Bluff, Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges National Park

The hike starts from Rawnsley Park Station, and indeed most of it is on their property and not within the national park. At the Wilpena lookout we saw some of Judith friends, and on the way back down from the bluff we met up some friends from our Heysen hiking club.

We were camping with Kate & Tim and Andrew & Candice up at our fav spot, Aroona Valley. The others set out on the St Mary Peak hike, this being Andrew & Candice's first trip to the Flinders. The following day Jude and I rode 70km, and the following day we hung around a bit and did the Bunyeroo Gorge hike.

Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit


Rawnsley Bluff
Carpark to Rawnsley Bluff & return
Distance 11.3km
Start Time 10.18am
End Time 4.00pm
Moving Duration 3h13m
Stationary Duration 2h15m
Moving Average 3.5km/h
Overall Average 2.1km/h