SATURDAY 5 MAY ARKAROOLA
It was a hot, sunny day, with just some scattered light cloud.
After breakfast, we walked up to Reception, at the main complex. Maybe the campground was a bit further away than 500 metres?
We looked at displayed information and collected walk leaflets. Booked ourselves in for tomorrow’s Ridge Top Tour.
Decided to do the walk that went along the Mawson Valley to the Pinnacles, and return by the Spriggina Track. It was an 8km circuit – a reasonable stroll! After walking back to camp to get organized with things like first aid kit, drinking water, muesli bars, cameras, our proper walking boots, we then had to walk back to the village centre again, to the trail head. So that was a kilometre walked, before we’d even started!
The first part of the trail paralleled a little, dry, creek. It was attractive and photogenic, with a surprising variety of vegetation – almost none of which I could name. Mt Oliphant was off to our right.
Around half way to The Pinnacles was the granite outcrop of Sitting Bull, named by Douglas Mawson in 1945.
The track flanked Sitting Bull and soon we could see The Pinnacles – similarly, granite. These were all intrusions, or plugs, exposed when the softer surrounding land was worn away.
From The Pinnacles, we followed a track back to the Bolla Bollana road, crossed that, taking a trail towards the Spriggina fossil replica, then followed low ridges back to the campground. Taking this trail meant that we avoided walking back on the road, but it was more open, hot and less attractive than the first part of the walk had been.
On a flat area below the trail, so walkers could look down on it, Reg Sprigg had built a much enlarged replica of the Spriggina, an ancient fossil that he discovered in 1946, west of Beltana. It was like a worm and was the first animal fossil discovered to have a definite head. It was one of a most significant group of fossils found around the Flinders Ranges area, called the Ediacara Fossils – for the geological age when they crawled around on the sea floor. They were the first multi-celled animals to appear on Earth, some 600 million years ago.
From the last part of the trail, as we came along the ridge, there was a really attractive view of the campground, with Griselda Hill behind it.
John found the latter part of the walk hard. Neither of us was very fit, after the ailments of the past few months. The shingles that John contracted, back in February in the Pilbara, really knocked him about. I was hoping that a recent cortisone injection had finally fixed the troublesome Achilles tendon that plagued me all last year. I was pleased with how it stood up to this walk – a positive sign. M, of course, the former PE teacher, was totally fit and agile!
We had a late lunch back at camp and relaxed in shade there for the rest of the afternoon.
M drove up to the mechanic’s to collect her repaired tyre. They had found there was a hole in the inner tube, caused because some drongo at the tyre service place, back home, had left a valve cap inside the wheel when her new tyres were put on, last week! Why is it so hard to get competent workers?
There were notices up, that the Gammon Ranges National Park, to the south, would be closed for feral and weed control work, in a week’s time, so we would have to do all that we wanted to, there, before then.
As we pored over maps and brochures, I was already suspecting that a week would not be long enough, here.
Tonight, sitting outside, we faced the other way and watched the moon rise over the hills. The moon always seems larger, here. The stars are certainly brighter.