Day 13: Cradock to Wilpena: The End!

We left Cradock at 8am, determined to stay on the bitumen for most of the day. What a relief to travel on a smooth surface. Only one car overtook us on our 26 km journey to Hawker for breakfast. It took us little over an hour. The same distance on one of the tracks would have taken us twice as long.

The 82 km trail did not have any hills to speak of, I didn't get below third gear at all. What a joy. And we discovered that major roads provide picnic areas with tables and seats for all those worn out drivers who have to endure sitting in air conditioned comfort, whereas the Mawson Trail provides nothing, you are lucky to find an ant infested log to sit on.

Although we didn't break any land speed records, we managed to complete the last day's journey with an average speed of 19kph. The best we have done on the rest of the trail has been 13 kph.

We finally rocked up to our luxurious room at the Wilpena Pound resort around 2pm, happy in the knowledge that we have no more long bike rides in the near future. It is going to be 38 degrees here tomorrow, so after our scenic flight over the Pound, we might just laze around the pool.

Ray has just mentioned that we could ride out to the last 7 km of the trail, which we missed on our way in. It involves a steep hill and dirt. Hmmm, it might just be me lazing around the pool.

All's well that ends well. The bikes managed to stay together, and miraculously we did not have any punctures, considering the rough terrain. Ray and I are still talking and the champagne is in the freezer. We are just off to happy hour and a welcome to country. What bliss, no bikes involved!

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LIke an ancient dinosaur frozen in time, these two hills combine (from this angle) a resting beast. Pan the camera slightly to the right and we might expect to see its head.

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Not sure why they are ploughing these gouges in this very sparse paddock. I do know that a lot of the land along this section of road belongs to sheep farms. It is possibly a strategy to try to slow down any future water flow (if water ever flows here in the future) and for more of it to seep into the subsoil instead of just running over the top.

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More rainbow serpents slithering along in the background

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Not sure what causes people to do things like this. Unfortunately we left all of our old shoes at home otherwise we could taken part of the excitement of flinging old shoes into a tree. What a missed opportunity.

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The southern edges of Wilpena pound rise up before us. we have been following the same bands in the rock (yeah, rock bands) for many kilometres and apparently they will continue well after the pound. We are almost there!  As a point of interest, the Pound was not formed by a meteorite or earthquake, but by two parts of ancient Australia coming together and crumpling upwards. Apparently where there is now a huge hollow, there would have been a mountain, one long since eroded away.

 

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