This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels May 17

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MONDAY 17 MAY     WILPENA

Got a fairly slow start this morning, as I still had the cold.

Decided we would tackle the other end of the Wilkawillina Gorge walk, so packed lunch and set off to drive to the Little Bunkers Trailhead. Continued on the Wirrealpa road for about 6kms past where we had turned off for the other trailhead, then found the track to the north. Followed this track for about 7kms, up a narrowing valley and parked Truck at the track end. There were quite rugged ranges all around us here.

Ate our lunch by Truck – the last of John’s yummy pasties.

It was about 1.15 when we set out walking.

The track initially climbed up a range – a steady climb, angling along a very steep hillside. The track itself was very narrow – like about a foot wide in parts – and the drop off was steep. It was somewhat stressful for me because of the height and the drops alongside the track. There was only low grasses and small shrubs on this limestone and siltstone slope, so the openness accentuated the perils.

05-17-1999 01 sth bunkers-wilkiwillina gorge tk.jpg

The narrow track up to the saddle – note my uphill lean! The track is evident, crossing the slopes behind

After 2kms of climb, we reached a saddle – great relief on my part, because the land on both sides of the track went up! There were excellent views from the lookout there.

05-17-1999 02 almost to the top

In the saddle. The lookout is on top of the hill.

Then we continued on, down the other side. There was some loose rock in places on the path, and one had to watch their step, but it was not as vertiginous as the other side.

05-17-1999 03 walk track to Wilkawillina Gorge

The track from the saddle towards Wilkawillina Gorge

05-17-1999 04 j on track down.jpg

The track down towards the Gorge was easier – and better vegetated

At the base of this slope, we reached Wilkawillina Gorge and Ten Mile Creek. It was just brilliant. The creek bed is wide. The gorge is steep sided. There is a permanent waterhole, with bright green bulrushes.

05-17-1999 06 wilkawillinia gorge.jpg

In Wilkawillina Gorge. Boulders of red sandstone and white limestone show the two adjacent rock types of the Gorge

We followed the creek back through the gorge to the creek crossing at the 6.4km mark, according to the track notes. Since these start from the northern end it meant we’d walked 5kms since we started, as the total walk length is 11.4kms.

05-17-1999 07 wilawillina gorge

We followed the creek bed through the Gorge

It was about 3.45 by now, so we needed to turn around and back track – and make a fair pace.

John managed really well. It was a hard walk on the legs and feet. This walk is rated as Hard.

05-17-1999 05 Wilkawillina three mulga trees.jpg

I was intrigued by these three dead mulga trees by the track

The track back down from the saddle was just as bad, going down. Once we could see Truck, a long way below, we abandoned the more gradual track that wound around the slope, and walked straight down a side ridge. It was very steep, but, paradoxically, easier for me than the giddy parts on the track.

05-17-1999 08 track down from wilkiwillina gorge.jpg

Heading back down. Truck is parked by the road track, on the far side of the creek gully

Reached Truck at 5.15pm.

It was dark by the time we got back to camp, having driven 107kms for the day. We were both really weary.

The cold seems to have eased somewhat – just have a bit of a sniffle. Maybe I have walked it out?

Tea was a packet soup, toasted cheese, yoghurt and pear.

Early night again.

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