Bushwalking

Saw the Price, Walked Away

This week’s hike happened on Saturday[1]. Port Clinton to Price and back-again overlooking mangrove forests and samphire flats. It was 7.8Km each way for a grand total of 15.6Km on a high quality, relatively flat trail and took me a little over three hours to complete.

I got off to a late start – up half-an-hour late and then lots of dawdling. Late enough that I was able to pop into my local outdoor shop before starting the drive up to the Yorke. This turned out to be a very good thing – I picked up a new hat (broad brimmed as opposed to the caps I otherwise own) and that hat was a godsend given that the few parts of the trail that had shade at all had only a little.

The drive up to the Yorke peninsula is tedious – though being about 15 minutes shorter than last week’s journey, it felt twice as long. Most of the journey is a single, perfectly straight road. I really must get a car with cruise control if I’m going to do that on anything remotely resembling a regular basis.

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Just after the start of the trail. Once you’re around the bend there are shacks to the left all the way through to that cliff you can see in the distance. Nice enough I suppose, but it hardly felt like a bushwalk.

I parked next to the sign announcing the Walk the Yorke trail, Port Clinton to Ardrossan section (the Port Clinton to Price walk being the first part of that). In retrospect that was probably a mistake. There’s about a 1.2Km walk down a dirt road with beach shacks along it. Not the most inspiring of sights and I had somewhere to be after the hike, so that 2.4Km less would’ve meant a lot less worrying about timings whilst I hiked. Ah well, live and learn.

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The start of the trail proper.

The trail continues for a couple of kilometres, with views off a cliff too small to be impressive, but tall enough that you really wouldn’t want to fall off it. The view is out over the mangrove forest, which was prettier than I’d expected. I remember going to the St Kilda mangrove park on a school excursion fifteen or twenty years ago. The mangroves smelt bad and looked dead. It was not inspiring.

The trail meandered its way along the cliff top, sometimes only a metre from the edge and sometimes 20m back. There was light tree cover, which kept reminding me of mallee scrub – no idea if it was or not.

The trail also has a few educational signs up. Most had the sort of information every Australian kid learns in late primary / early high school (hairy nose wombats dig burrows and get called grumpy a lot, mangroves tend to grow between the high and low tide lines). But there was at least one cool thing I learnt – there are three places in the world that have ‘dodge’ tides – South Australia’s two gulfs, the Torres Strait, and the Gulf of Mexico. Dodge tides happen when the sun and moon line up in a certain way and are basically a skipped tide. They happen twice a month and the water basically just stays (mostly) flat. The BoM has a little bit of info about them.

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Cliffs, mangrove forests, and the sea.

Just before the cliff starts to peter out, there’s a set of fairly steep stairs down to the samphire flats (though not nearly as steep as those in Talisker). The picture headlining this post is the view from the top of the stairs.

The next few k’s into Price are along a wide track with no shade whatsoever. There are apparently a bunch of southern hairy-nosed wombats in the area, one of the few colonies left on the Yorke Peninsula – most having been killed by farmers either directly for fucking with their crops or indirectly by the land clearing. And now what’s left is at risk due to a lack of genetic diversity (which is a polite way to say there’s a little too much incest going on). I didn’t see any wombats, but I did see numerous burrows.

Along the way I very nearly stepped on what I think was a shingleback lizard. Very nearly. I was surprised he hadn’t run off and wondered for a moment if I’d found a corpse, but then he stuck his tongue out at me. I named him Stumpy No Fucks, took a couple of photos and continued on my way. By the time I passed the same spot on the return trip, he’d continued on his way too.

I ran into another lizard. Or should I say, he ran into me. Or past me. Very quickly. He was bigger than Stumpy No Fucks and took off like a bat out of hell from the right side of trail and deep into the samphire flats. Looked kinda like a skinny goanna or something. About 50cm long, but narrow. With those funny looking legs where the knees look like they’re higher than the body when they run. Anyways, I didn’t name this lizard but it clearly gave a lot more fucks than Stumpy.

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Meet Stumpy No Fucks. He gives no fucks.

The walk back saw the sun hitting the front of me instead of the back and, being around 1pm by this point, it was quite a bit hotter. I was very pleased to have my hat and grateful whenever the sun went behind a cloud and the sea breeze picked up.

I startled a kangaroo shortly after climbing back up to the cliff top. It was a grey (is that an actual variety? Are there multiple types of grey roos? Isn’t this the sort of thing I should research before hitting ‘publish’?) and I was actually surprised by its size – standing only a couple of inches shorter than me. For whatever reason, I thought that only reds got to that sort of height. Then again, it didn’t stay still for very long and with all the jumping and bounding and surprise, I may have over-estimated its height.

I startled it again a k or so down the trail[2].

Though this hike was a much easier trail than the others I’ve done, it was somewhat longer, the weather was warmer, and there was less shade. I was pretty tired and done with walking by the time I got to the car. I also learnt that my backpack, which was bought to take stuff to work and not for bushwalking, gets a tad uncomfortable after a couple of hours. I’ll need to pick a day pack up that has some straps across the torso in the not-too-distant future. More importantly, I learnt that Local Legends’ soft beef jerky is very, very tasty and a perfect substitute for lunch on the trail.

The drive back into town was brutally tedious and my ankle was rather unpleased with me by the time I finished the trek (must get cruise control). The next activity was seeing Deadpool with some friends[3]. I was really impressed with the movie, both for how much I laughed and for being one of the few examples of crude humour that I didn’t feel relied on offensively discriminatory or mean jokes. I also enjoyed the ten thousand references in it and seeing the fourth wall broken is something different. The plot was not at all deep, but held together decently and was orders of magnitude better than Transformers or the like. I’d recommend it to most of my friends and would happily see it a second time at the movies.

Next week I was planning to do a section of the Yurrebilla trail, but I’m wondering if that’s not too much of a difficulty jump for me. Also. Sunday Assembly is that weekend and I’d planned to go for my hike after that, but that would have me out in the hottest part of a day currently forecast to be 39°C. So, that’s probably not the best plan. I guess you’ll have to tune in next week to see what I ended up doing.

 

All photos in this post are by Daniel O’Brien, 13-Feb-2016, CC BY-NC 3.0 AU unless noted otherwise.

 

FOOTNOTES

My footnotes are never essential reading. It’s where I put the tedium (or the occasional attempt at humour) that I’m loathe to cut but that most people aren’t interested in. Read at your own peril.

  1. Actually, I wrote this the evening of the hike. But after the hike, Deadpool, finishing off Benedict Jaka’s Cursed, and playing with my dog I’m a little too tired to trust my editing skills. So I shall publish it tomorrow or, as it turns out, on Monday. And it’d seem I hardly did any extra editing anyway (I probably should’ve done more, but if I try to edit it to the point I’m happy with it, no one will ever see it).
  2. It was at this point that I started hoping I’d run into the roo standing in the middle of one of the bridges the trail crosses. Then I’d have an excuse to name it Roodolf “You shall not pass” the Grey.
  3. A key advantage of going to the movies after a 3½ hour hike is that I had several thousand extra kilojoules to burn and could safely eat an entire large popcorn and still have dinner and still be well under my energy target for the day. This whole dieting thing would be a lot easier if I could do a three-hour hike every day.

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