Yesterday we completed the Oodnadatta track – refuelling & gassing up at Oodnadatta as the Branding championship was over. Steve cabled tied his sullage outlets together and we elected not to replace the gaping hole in the dash created by the non-compliant UHF mic holder.
As we cruised south, stopping only to salute the cairn to Ernest Giles, attempt to resurrect a reclining Old Telegraph Line pole and trace the footsteps of the fetters along the old Ghan for a bit, we made camp at Coward Springs. Here we enjoyed a dip in the balmy, opaque mineral waters of the Great Artesian Basin as the popped up to say hi. In the water it was divine – exiting had two challenges however ;1) the mineral water provides an awful lot of buoyancy which is only really evident when attempting to climb out on narrow ladder rungs – this is when one’s body mass and gravity come together to play a cruel trick; and 2) the water is wonderful – the kind of temperature that you get at the end of a perfect bath – but as you drag your great mass up the ladder and back into the wintering South Australian desert – the wind whips in bringing icy tendrils which wrap around every damp part of you. Some time later, following a beer, hot shower and a successful fire creation project – all was well. The setting sun, moon and stars once again provided an amazing astronomical backdrop. We headed to Marla and then Hawker the next day, stopping to pay our respects and gaze in awe at Lake Eyre – some folks never see water in her but we have had the privilege of seeing this spectacular sight twice.
At Hawker, a very cute and old town with 490 residents, we learned that schooners are really pots and pints ( which are metric and not pints at all) are S.Austtralian for schooners. We worked it out and embraced the local culture!
Today we enjoyed a day trip in the Northern Flinders, taking in Gorges, chasms, Emu bath time.
The ancient ( as in 5-600 million years old) rusty red rocks speckled with bright green foliage rise above the grey boulder end river beds guarded by tall white glowing ghost gums.
Tomorrow we return to bush camping on the banks of the mighty Murray at Overland Corner, then onto the banks of the beautiful (Murum) Bidgee at Hay and then Jugiong.