THURSDAY 10 MAY ARKAROOLA
It was another overcast day.
We had planned for this to be another Gammon Ranges NP day – getting in before the Park was closed.
The Italowie Gap walk beckoned. This stretched from Grindells Hut trail head, south through to Italowie Gap, on the Copley road. It passed McKinlay Springs and for some of the way followed the gorge of Italowie Creek.
Unfortunately, the logistics of this demanded a vehicle at each end of the nearly 16km long track. Walkers sure as hell do not want to turn around and walk back again!
Rather than use both our vehicles, which would involve initial shuttling back and forth, and have legal issues – in that M’s Troopy only has two seats and seatbelts – we decided to only use Truck. I would drop the other two off at the Grindells Hut end of the track, then drive Truck, with its seats and belts for three (in travel mode we leave the rest of the back seat at home to make room for more gear!) to the other end of the track. This would give me some time to doodle about on my own, indulge in taking photos, and – importantly – save my Achilles from another huge walk. It was still deciding whether to continue to sulk over the last one, or cheer up and forget it!
After parking Truck at the Italowie Gap trail head I would walk north and meet the hikers coming the other way and return with them. I did not mind back tracking – things look different coming the other way…..
And thus it worked out. I really enjoyed being able to stop and take photos whenever the urge struck – that was a luxury.
I eventually parked Truck and walked up the Gap track for about 4kms, before meeting up with them.
Yet again, I could dawdle and take photos and just look about.
I wasn’t focussed on making too much distance, knowing it would be doubled. Sat on a big rock and ate my packed lunch, enjoying the surrounds and solitude – totally only bush noises around me.
The section I covered was a really attractive part of the walk, beside or along the dry creek bed, with red rock walls on either side and lots of vegetation.
At times it required fairly close attention to where I was putting my feet, especially on the rocky creek bed sections.
The others had made good time, including a lunch stop, so I was a little surprised to meet them as soon as I did. They had really enjoyed the walk, and the sense of meeting a challenge. They’d had some uphill and then downhill sections to do, whereas I got to walk the flat part!
Going back the way I’d come was not at all boring – it was a lovely part of the track, and it did look different! So, I did a fairly respectable walk of about 8 kms.
Through the day, the cloud cover occasionally broke up a bit and there were patches of blue sky, which brought out the colours in the gorge better, for photos. I was sorry that we’d not had a properly sunny day for this jaunt.
On the way back to camp did another firewood gathering stop.
It was quite chilly around tonight’s campfire. As usual, we rehashed our day. John was really pleased with his walk performance. I was happy that the Achilles did not seem to be worsening, despite the walking on uneven ground. This mix of driving days and walking days seemed to be working out well.