Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Sturt Gorge Walk 6-3-18

Walking back up the hill from our shady morning tea break beside the gurgling creek. 

Yesterday we walked in Sturt Gorge.
A group of 18 walkers headed off for a lovely walk in just about ideal conditions (a lovely 23 degrees C was predicted)
Gary was our leader and he took us past some of the spots we have orienteered and into some countryside we have never seen before. I had no idea there was a huge lake just below Craigburn Park.

our route (in red)

We have found this walking group to be very pleasant company and there is always someone to chat to as you walk, or you can just enjoy being out in the open countryside and the ever changing views. 

We parked at Blackwood Football club and shuttled to the start of our route, finishing the walk back at the football club and then moving on to Gary's home where he showed us his amazing "bike shed man cave'' with choice of bikes (he is a riding fanatic) and entertained us on his lovely shady deck. 

Today we met Dianne (who manages the walking roster) and Richard (who manages the money) along with Leila (who is a lovely french lady). 
We are starting to remember names, but spent some of the walk checking with each other and practicing who was who. 

There is always a back marker to make sure we are all OK as well as the leader at the front.  I'm not sure what would happen if someone was badly failing to keep up. 

We started the walk heading uphill fairly steeply (there were lots of zig zags which the keen ones cut off just for fun). Here the gorge was to our left as we walked, and construction of new housing was to our right. Some of the latest additions will be very close to the walking track we travelled on. The track was clear to walk on, though you did have to watch for uneven surface which was a bit of a trip hazard. Grass had been slashed on either side, or stood chest high if not yet slashed, but we didn't pick up any grass seeds due to the cleared tracks. 

Early in the walk.

looking back along the gorge - can't see much due to vegetation

 the moon still showing over the lovely old trees

 all smiles about walking down to the creek for morning tea... a bit of a climb back up afterwards to this spot.

morning tea beside the creek

 lovely trail

Which way will we go next? 

 The Lake

 heading on after lunch

beautiful gum blossom

We surprised this fellow up in the tree.  He just wanted us to go away and leave him alone again. 

Another very enjoyable time spent with a lovely bunch of people seeing some of our wonderful countryside.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Michael Perry Reserve and Willowbridge reserve walk 6/2/18

Today was a warm day and our planned walk with the group was cancelled, so we decided to do a local walk a bit later in the day.
We hopped on the Walking SA website and found the walk along second creek that goes up into Michael Perry Reserve from Hallett Rd as far as the fence into the Boral Quarries.

Walking up as far as we could go to this fence we passed an old pump and stone shed used for pumping water in the old days, before turning around and heading down the hill.

In the warm day the running water and shady track were rather pleasant. Finding a geocache along the way made it even better.

We enjoyed looking in the back fences at the yards, and dreaming about what it would be like to live along a creek like this.

There are still some lovely old properties (with large yards) in this part of the suburb. We looked in the gate at Ivymeade (built in 1850) and lived in by Captain Hancock (of Moonta mines fame) at one stage, with fancy driveway and with arcaded lower verandah. (Thanks to google we could see what the house looks like from below)

From the road you can see the back of the house and tell it is quite grand. Only 16 rooms with 3 cellars and 6 bedrooms. (and a studio) 

We've discovered this old building below  (Now the "Ruth Tuck Art School") on Hubbe Court, but didn't realise that it was partially built from the walls of an old irrigation tank which was part of the original property "Undelcarra" and used for watering the orchards to the west.

It was apparently later used as a swimming pool before being adapted for it's present use. I'd love to see what the building is like inside. The reserve it sits on is beautifully kept (by Burnside council I presume)

The old Undelcurra house still stands on a huge allotment at 58 Lockwood Rd and sounds like it is still pretty fancy.

Other sights of interest along this pretty walk were:

Tunnel under the road

pretty metal cutouts on the information sign

An unexpected grave.  Apparently this unreadable stone is for a child,  Maud White, who died in 1841.  There used to be wattle and daub huts along this part of the creek apparently.  Hard to imagine now in this fancy, leafy suburb. 

A really cute and friendly guy along the way

An old gum tree entwined with an even older fig tree (see above and below) 

yes - that thin gum base is the one supporting that very tall tree which disappears above the fig through the branches in the photo above.

These people have shared their yard (or annexed the reserve) so that lovely green lawn and pretty garden borders the path here. What a lovely sight. 

Rock Oyster, River and Scenic Hills Feb 3/2/18

Manu had offered some training at Rock Oyster, near Mannum, so we were keen to go. We took our standard route along the Onkaparinga Valley drive to Mt Pleasant on the way there. We even arrived a little early!! (Not bad, after getting to bed after 1am that morning)

Rock Oyster is called that because of the many fossilised oyster shells on the ground there. A very slippery side slope coming out of the many parallel creeks, just to make more of a challenge. 

The first training was a middle distance training - with a choice of distances - I took the shorter distance, and Trevor the longer one. The challenge here is always to find the best route choice, and alleviate danger and climb, while managing to stay in touch with where you are on the map.  If you leave the creek systems it is really easy to lose touch and hard to figure out where you are again,as everything looks the same.

As you can see the terrain is rocky and pretty dry at the moment.  I didn't hear about any snakes seen.  The mallee country has its own charm and I couldn't resist taking a picture or two on the way around. 

Manu used these small hanging controls and SI units so we had timed legs and an accurate time for our courses. 

 The seed pods on the ground catching the sun were stunning.

 After the first run we all gathered, had a good drink and a snack for some. At this point I called it enough as I had been feeling sick before we left home and was not any better for the exercise.  I took advantage of the peace and quiet and sat down by the car and enjoyed some quiet reading time, while Trevor went out on his next course.

 I would have loved to have done this course as it had all sorts of tricky challenges where Manu had formed corridors you had to stay in (control 1-3) ,windows you had to navigate to (12-15) and a contour only section (9-12). Beats me how the kids (who have less experience) can still whip around these types of courses while us oldies struggle.  I guess it is all about the rate of brain development and how good they are at picking up new information.

After a good sit down and recuperate (and sharing of spare water with those who hadn't brought enough) we headed to the Swan Reach pub via the ferry at Swan Reach. 
South Australia provides a number of ferries as part of our road network.  They are free to travel on, and save building bridges.  I've always enjoyed the fun of a ferry ride, and you just have a little time to park the car and hop out to enjoy it before you have to hop back in and be on your way. 

Trev and Zita enjoying the ferry ride and view of lovely Murray River cliffs

 The pub sits overlooking the river and you can sit out on their deck and watch the ferry coming back and forwards.  Very relaxing , but a bit warm for doing that for too long .
The white cockatoos screeched and partied in the big gum tress by the river.
We moved inside and took advantage of the pub air conditioning for a while and then were on our way. 

We headed home on the Swan Reach side of the river, following along as close as possible to the river itself.  There are some great viewing spots (lookouts) where you can pull off and admire the mighty Murray.

Big Bend from the lookout

Trev, Al and Zita enjoying the view.  Soon after this we parted ways with Al and Zita when they stopped to buy fruit at a roadside stop. 
Trev and I made our way down to Walkers Flat, where we crossed again using the punt, and then meandered our way as closely as we could along the river again to Mannum.
Here we stopped for a while at the riverfront reserve, where we admired some of the swanky riverfront architecture and read about Captain William Randell and his amazing riverboat adventures.

At the reserve

Instead of coming home the usual way we decided to take some of the less travelled roads, winding our way home via Lobethal and Uraidla. 

It had taken us all day, but another excellent retirement adventure.