Gawler Ranges National Park - Kolay Hut August 26 - 27 2018
  A bit further south than our campsite we catch a last glimpse of Lake Gairdner before heading west, then south.

We are becoming used to the rounded granite hills of the Gawler Ranges.

  Also becoming used to buildings and ruins that aren't on our map.
  We cross the boundary into Yardea Station.

Perhaps shearers' quarters, next to a shearing shed.

But we haven't seen any sheep in the last 100 km.

  Shortly after the salt bush was no more. Just this short ground cover, with almost microscopic flowers. Its not grass.
  Turn left towards Minnipa, which is south of the national park.
  On the park tracks its a bit like solving a maize. Keep turning left to reach Kolay Hut Campsite.

We have to cross the range on the conical hill track. Looking back, from the lookout, we can see the hill, and sand dunes.

  Past Pondanna outstation.

Renovated as tourist accommodation.

  There's a handful of small puddles but the tracks are mostly sand from the granite.
  Over another low pass and down to Kolay Hut.

Kolay Well is next to the track, the hut is beyond that in the trees to the left.

  We are immediately welcomed by a Grey Butcherbird. Singing a pleasant song.

In Tasmania its probably referred to as a Tasmanian Jackass. Which cleverly resolves our friendly domestic dispute concerning whether it looked like a Kookaburra - the Laughing Kookaburra is also referred to as a Laughing Jackass.

Having resolved that little matter to our mutual satisfaction we consider ourselves settled in and have lunch. Though we do wonder a little about avian taxonomy.

An easy day of about 100 km we are at Kolay Hut for at least 5 days. Rest and we will be joined by Peter and Margaret on the 29th.

  Probably the same flock which kept re-appearing in the gum trees near our camp.

After four laps of the bird book we still have no idea. There must be at least one picture that has a red/yellow patch above a short beak.

They are finch sized. Similarly fast and almost constantly on the move. We hear them tweeting to each other.

  Next morning, a walk.

Still intrigued by the green ground cover we got up close. Apparently "Ward's Weed". Its the sparse grasses in between that are eaten.

Every plant has flowers.

Now we are looking for the insects ...... just a few flies so far.

  Kolay Mirica Falls is just a bit more than a km from the hut.
  This area of the Gawler Ranges is known for "organ pipes".

This is the pavement area above the pipes.

  The pipes show up on the edges.

I used to think organ pipes were very coarse crystals very slowly cooled.

Now I think the area has been covered by rock which has eroded and the pressure relief causes faults in the underlying rock we now see.

Water then erodes the faults. To give us both the pavement areas and the pipes.

  The rolling hills are where the granite (rhyolite) has been pushed up unevenly.

The relatively coarse (about 2mm) crystal structure is more visible here than at Lake Gairdner. More pink and less brown. Pink in the middle.

The creek runs around the corner to Kolay Hut.

  Deeper into the "gorge" the intrepid duo ventured.

Pipes on both sides.

  A single pic from a couple of days later, the weather changed to dense cloud and a little rain.
  Back to "today". On the way back we admired the green meadow.

Some spinifex at the edge, then bushes a bit higher, and gum trees (not in the pic) even higher.

An upside down landscape?

We are surprised to find the spinifex.

  The parks administration have used lots of old fence posts to form barriers.

This is an old fence which can supply the next lot of used fence posts.

There are four holes drilled in each post with wire threaded through. Just "number 8 wire", it would be hard to thread barbed wire.

More than 50 fence posts visible. First make the posts, then drill 200 holes.

We hope the fence posts were prepared with a jig in a shed and carried to where the fence is.

Regardless, a lot of work. Not as simple as nipping down to the hardware shop to buy some ....

I'm tempted to borrow some of the leftover wire that's lying around. Despite my methodical care in sorting out the heater I found a leak. Fixing it involved shortening a pipe and thus re-routing others. My collection of cable ties has become brittle with age.

  After the frustration of having to fix something I thought I'd fixed we needed another stroll.

There's an old track (no unauthorised vehicles) southwards past Kolay Dam.

Our attention shifted to plants after admiring the symmetry in this very squashed looking growth.

Plants are generally symmetrical. We recall trying to remember the difference between pine and fir trees - the number of needles is different. This plant has leaves in "threes". Sometimes we see plants that divide in two, or three, or four ... or ....

  Not a meteorite crater ....

Kolay Dam is dry. Looks like there's a leak on the west side.

The concrete tank on the far bank is collapsing, the windmill stand has fallen over.

Looks like it used to fill with surface water as well as pumped water.

  Occasionally we see this plant with small, little, finger nail sized, red berries.

There's a similar, but different, plant with yellow berries.

  About 100m from the dam we find a trough, after following a steel pipe.
  There are so many flowers to choose from.
  Mostly small.
  Past the sheep yards near the dam. A couple of wombat burrows, and we disturbed a rabbit.
  This is the plant that is most prolific.

Flowers that look like propellers to us. About 5mm across.


At least there is one insect involved. Just not the sort that bother people. When we look closely they are all around us.

The yellow flower with the little insect is quite large, dwarfing the small yellow and white flowers around it. We aren't used to looking at small things.

Gawler Ranges National Park - Mt Farview August 28 2018

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