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The camping couple and a dog named Pumba

Getting into the swing of camping life

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 3 October 2016 | Views [408] | Comments [1]

The boy and his dog

The boy and his dog

It is day 6 of our adventure and while I sit here to recount the previous days, I marvel at the fact that there seems to be so much time in a day when you don’t get up with an alarm clock to go to work, but rather wake with the sun and sounds of the birds for a day filled with any possibility.

 

Our campsite at Burra Gorge was right next to a creek, shaded with giant hundred-year-old gumtrees, so we got to spend the day walking through the gorge and up the side of a rocky hill to get sweeping views of the area.  I must mention that in the lead up before our trip, Jamie had decided we would need “hobbies” to keep us entertained while out camping, since with so much time in the days we might get bored.  So he decided gold prospecting could be a great hobby with all the places we are going to and the time we would have.  It started with him buying a gold panning kit off the internet, but quickly he had become quite obsessed and that led to him needing to buy a metal detector and of course, then a gold coil to attach to the detector. So, at various times through the days he would decide to go detecting and could be seen walking about camp with his detector and pick axe.  I was of course fairly sceptical that he would find anything of use, and much to his displeasure I have been right so far, unless you count the bottle caps, used bullet shells, and other useless bits of metal that he comes back with.  But true to his nature Jamie remains positive that he will soon find something valuable and continues to venture off searching. That night we pulled in the yabby nets we had put in the creek and found over 20 tiny yabbies in there. We of course released them back to their home, but with such a wet September the creeks were full and teaming with life.

 

We had a message on our satellite phone in the morning from Jamie’s mom Sue, warning us that some heavy storms and bad weather were on the way.  We checked the full weather reports in a town when we got some reception and were both a little excited and apprehensive at the reports of 60-100km winds, and thunderstorms.  Nevertheless, after 2 nights at Burra Gorge we headed out to one of our favourite spots just south of the Flinders Ranges, Warren Gorge.  We also made quick stop along the way to a spot Jamie had heard about called Magnetic hill. There are hills like this all over the world and they are a natural phenomenon where the magnetic field within the hill can actually pull a car slowly up the hill.  When we arrived there the sign told us to stop and put the car into neutral and take your foot off the brake and then it would start pulling us uphill.  For whatever reason, possibly because our car is ridiculously heavy, it didn’t work and we rolled back instead.  Both Jamie and I were pretty disappointed, but could only laugh and shake our fists at the not so magnetic hill. 

 

We arrived late afternoon into Warren Gorge and set up camp on high ground in case of flash floods and then went to explore the creeks, finding a giant blue yabby and some small frogs.  The next morning despite the very warm air, we could see heavy, dark clouds threatening on the horizon. With all the warnings we had from the weather reports as well as family and friends we started to baton down the hatches.  We put pegs, and ropes everywhere on the tent and set up a shelter of an awning and some sturdy tarps to keep us from the rain.  Just before it hit we felt the change in the air and saw the speed that the clouds started to move above us as the dark grey clouds moved in. Then came the thunder and lightning and we started to get a bit excited.  The wind really picked up and then came the rain, bucketing down in torrents. It only lasted all of about 20 minutes and afterwards the dark clouds had been blown away with the wind and the sun came out.  Since the sun had come back out we went for a big hike up the steep rocky faces of the gorge for more stunning views and a rock wallaby sighting. Pumba came with us and was clambering over the rocks like he was a mountain goat.  It was late afternoon when another storm hit us.  We saw it coming over the ridge of the gorge again and managed to get everything back in the tent as well as ourselves just as it hit. The rain was pounding down this time and as we watched it started hailing. It wasn’t like any other hail I had experienced before and just seemed to keep getting bigger. Jamie was worried about it damaging the car so we dashed out of the tent to put a tarp over the bonnet. We were instantly drenched the second we stepped out.  It was a mad rush in the rain and wind to put the tarp on, all the while getting hit by marble and some golf ball sized chunks of hail. We managed to get the tarp on and stood dripping in the bottom of our tent.  So now a bunch of our clothes were drenched, all to save the car.  Again, the storm stopped after about ½ an hour and the sun came out.  This time the creeks were gushing and the color of chocolate milk as they continued to fill up from the down pours. The night passed with large gusts of wind, but luckily the tent held and nothing was broken.

 

The temperature had really dropped and it was pretty miserable outside as we made our way from Warren Gorge to our next spot.  We hadn’t really decided where we were going so we first stopped at Hawker to get internet so we could figure out if the bad weather was to continue. We took some four wheel drive tracks to get to Hawker and were stopped and yelled at by a farmer in a ute. He seemed to think we were city slickers who knew nothing about the outback. He told us very patronisingly that we shouldn’t be tearing up the tracks and more to the point could get stuck out here because of all the storms and potential flash floods.  I wanted to tell him where to stick his advice and that we knew what we were doing, but Jamie handled it very diplomatically as usual. The weather report said we had another day of some rain, and wind and we also discovered that the whole of South Australia had a power outage from the storms, so it almost didn’t seem that bad to be camping since we didn’t rely on electricity anyway.  However, I soon changed my mind about camping being so great, once the cold got to me. Every campsite we tried in Parachilna Gorge wasn’t protected from the icy wind. We argued about whether it was worthwhile going to a caravan park, or one of the free spots that are in the wide riverbeds.  After much debate, as we were both tired, hungry and cold, we decided the free spot in the riverbed. The tiny caravan park didn’t really look very good anyway.  My mood certainly improved when Jamie built an impressive fire and we cooked a delicious minestrone soup on it before retiring to our tent for the night.

 

As my hair was starting to resemble a bird’s nest at this stage, Jamie set up our shower the next morning, which consists of a bucket with a tap and a shower attachment and a little pop up tent.  We boiled some water and if it weren’t for the cold wind it would actually have been a very pleasant and warm shower. I was starting to realise the extra planning and preparation that Jamie had gone to in making showers, and buying extra gas bottles for our cooker and felt pretty grateful that it hadn’t been up to me. Feeling much more presentable with my washed hair we set out to do a mining tour of Blinman Mine.  It is an old copper mine that the locals have now made into a tourist attraction.  Our guide was an interesting, but very knowledgeable man and told us all about the old mining days when this was a working copper mine.  He managed to paint a very good picture of what it would have been like crawling around the dark tunnels with only the light of a candle to see by, and it certainly made me appreciative that we live in a modern age where machines can do most of the hard work.  We stopped off to the general store in Blinman to get one of the famous miners Cornish pasties for lunch.  We finished our afternoon with a walk along the pretty, wide creek and then another climb up the side of a steep gorge for breathtaking 360 degree views and even got to see some kangaroos up there for our efforts.  I feel like I will certainly be getting fitter with all the walking and climbing we have done so far. Once again we lit the fire and Jamie cooked an amazing meat pasta on it along with an amazing salad. I am really appreciating the satisfaction you get from making and cooking your dinner on a fire we built and found the wood for.

 

Tags: camping, gorges, hiking, on the road

Comments

1

I have been reading your blog to Amadeus and aside from coming to the conclusion that camping isn't for either of us he seems to, much like me miss his friends.
You guys seem to be having a great time stay safe and keep on touch

  Bianca Oct 3, 2016 10:13 PM

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