31 Aug 2011 -Down and dirty.

Today's activities started with a trip out to Stoke's Hill lookout, where we were treated to a 360 degree view of the surrounding ranges.

Next we visited SA's version of "The Great Wall of China". While we were parked up here Dave and I took several shots of the unusual geological formations that make up the wall, whilst Di and Sharon were off like a pair of mountain goats, down the hill chasing wildflowers to snap.

On to the town of Blinman, whose main claim to fame is that it's the highest town in the Flinders Ranges (I assume they mean elevation). This sleepy little place has a certain charm, but not much else. If the road through the middle had've been dirt instead of bitumen, it'd almost be the preverbial outback country town with the pub in the centre, and the local mutt wandering to and fro, idly sniffing at passers by.
The wall of the public bar is covered in notes of all different nationalities and denominations and thousands of business cards. Don't know why, and didn't ask. The barman wasn't exactly busting to be BFFs after we traipsed in and asked for 3 Skinny Lattes and a Flat White.

We left Blinman and backtracked a few K's to the turnoff to Barachina Gorge, around 20 Kms down a freshly graded dirt road (hence the "Dirty" in the title). A short distance in over the dusty and shale strewn track, we pulled up for another photo opportunity. As I was about to hop back up into the rear passenger seat, I noticed a hissing sound coming from somewhere down near my feet. Unusually, after earlier stopping to take a shot of a snake sunning itself on edge of the bitumen, it didn't occur to me that it may have been something natural hissing at me. So I bobbed down to investigate. The sound was coming from the rear tyre, specifically, from a 1cm long shard of shale that was imbedded between the tread blocks (this accounts for the "Down" in the title). As it was deflating slowly at this stage, Dave decided to press on to the Gorge, where we sat and ate lunch. A quick squirt with the compressor before we set off again would keep us going for a while.

The countryside here changes so dramatically. Just over a rise, or around a corner and the terrain can be markedly different. Right next to a stunted bush, seemingly doing it tough, can be a mass of wildflowers, flourishing and full of life.

These next 3 shots were all taken within metres of each other.
Unfortunately though, there was no getting around the fact that the deflating tyre had to be changed as it was now going down rather rapidly. So it was out with the tools and after a bit of grunting and effort, we had the spare on and were back in business.

Thankfully we were spared any "plumber's crack".
After another 20Kms or so we were back onto the sealed road, and only a short distance from our camp.

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