This was a ‘first-time camp organiser’ and despite contracting COVID a few weeks beforehand, she did an amazing job to turn on a fabulous and well-run camp. Of course, ably supported by the small organising committee who filled in the specific grade walk detail.
So, come 29th August, about 65 A, B, C and D walkers converged on the small Southern Flinders town, some staying 12 kms out at Pichi Richi Park as camp HQ, with others scattered variously in the caravan park, apartments, BnB cottages and backpacker hostel. The walks, rated as B, C and D level, were all scattered around the local region, with pre-arranged car-pooling taking walkers out from the Quorn meeting point each morning. Quorn is a much under-stated location with many of us not being aware of the amazing walking and scenery it has to offer; the town generally having been simply a pass-through point on the way to the more well-known and iconic Flinders Ranges tourist venues. It was an amazing experience to become acquainted with the incredible views across the hills, valleys and out to Spencer’s Gulf afforded from the top of the high points of the region. Even simply sitting on the balcony deck at Pichi Richi Park during our evening visits provided a compelling view out to nearby Devil’s Peak, with the colours and valley shadows changing subtly but dramatically as the sun sank lower in the west each evening.
While the D walks were generally gentle and more becoming their regal bearing, the B’s and C’s had climbs most days, some quite steep and demanding. All of which compensated us for our pain and suffering with fabulously rewarding vistas, particularly from the summits of Mt Brown and Dutchman’s Stern. To sit or stand quite often amidst clusters of timeless Xanthorrhoea and gaze out, often from the razor edge of sheer cliff tops, over the surrounding hills, valleys and plains into the blue mists of the distance, was an amazing experience and worth every last huff and puff up the long and usually rock-strewn slopes sometimes involved. Many of us felt we could have sat and soaked it all in for far longer than we had available but then we might not have seen the stunning views around the next corner. This was no more evident than the walk-stopping views of Stony Creek Gorge we were faced with on the way back down from Dutchman’s Stern. Golden orange fractured sheer rock walls afire from the angled early afternoon sun. Just awe-inspiring.
But after four days of this excessive fabulousness, we had our rest day, during which many of us revisited our childhoods by travelling on the Afghan Express steam train from Port Augusta to Quorn then return. Bob provided endless entertainment by popping up at random and unpredictable points along the rail track to take photographs of our progress, which greatly amused the travellers and kept Bob amused for most of the day. The last day’s walk took us to Alligator Gorge which is a hugely scenic, albeit demanding, ‘big rock’ creek walk. Our camp dinner that evening at Pichi Richi Park enabled all of us to convene in our party frocks without packs and poles to round off yet another fabulously enjoyable RASA Bushwalkers camp. Once again, Retire Active lived up to its name and gave us another week’s full supply of fun and friendly outdoor-based soul food. Well done, everyone.
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