Gammon Ranges SA

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 00:00

Mick O

Tuesday 4th April 2006
Arkaroola
Gammon Ranges S.A.

Nothing strange to report overnight. No mechanically minded foxes, no invasion by giant spiders. Bodes well for the day actually. The sun was out today through sparse and occasional clouds. A much better day than the previous. It was even quite warm at 7.00 a.m. Packing up seems to be getting much smoother and I’m even finding more space. By the time we hit Ceduna, I reckon we’ll have it down pat. We we’re on the road by 9.00 a.m and finished the short trip up the Aroona Valley to Aroona Ruins. Not much to see so it was back onto the Blinman Road and north. The main Wilpena-Blinman Road was like a superhighway having just been graded. The only other traffic being a couple of school trip buses we were soon at Blin man for a brief stop and then onto the Gammon Ranges Road.

I really enjoyed the drive through the shallow creeks and narrow winding gorges of the drive. Recent grading made the road a breeze although very dusty. The occasional sharp dip of a creek bed snuck up on you but at 70-80 kph, nothing much to worry about. After 40 km or so the ranges became low, rocky and arid. Most of the trees appeared withered and lifeless. The track turned to the deep red of the outback away from the quartzy white of the past days.

11.30 a.m. saw us at Chambers Gorge. This large jagged slash through the ranges was visible for some time rearing up out of the plains. The road in followed the wide stony bottomed creek for 7 km before arriving at the parking area. A 15 minute walk along the creek bed bought us to a smaller ravine running off to the north. Here, the Adnyamathanha People had etched symbols of religious significance in the walls of the gorge.

The main gorge was spectacular. The wide creek wound it’s way into the high walled gorge. Large ghost and red gums grew along the banks and shallow pools of water remained in rocky outcrops that would have made spectacular cascades during a flood. High on the rocky walls, surefooted feral goats scrounged out a living. We saw several groups, one of which was silhouetted on the very top of the canyon walls. Well into the gorge we found a deep and inviting rock hole with a lone ghost gum growing against the rocky walls. Much as I’d have liked to, I didn’t take a dip as Amanda had conked out some distance before me and was waiting a kilometre or so back.

We took an overland route on the way back up and over the hills in a straight line rather than the winding creek bed. Back at the vehicle just short of 1.00 p.m. with a million flies attendant. It was quite warm especially for Amanda being in jeans. The road through the Wearing gorge is again a winding drive through the ranges but on its western side it opens onto the vast flat plains extending east to Lake Frome. A hell of a lot of nothing out there! The road soon ventured north again and we were in the Gammon Ranges less than an hour later.As we were both pretty tired, we’ve opted for the luxury of a caravan park stay, if you could call it that. Arkaroola is just as tawdry as I remember it but at least we can wash the aeroguard off. Some serious travelling to be done through the Gammons tomorrow and a picturesque bush camp hopefully. The sunset tonight was truly amazing. It seemed as if the western sky was on fire. Only a picture could do it justice!
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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