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Time to hike to the Pinnacle

** This post is from the Grampians, South of Adelaide. It got lost in all my posts.  **IMG_1092After careful inspection of my expensive map of the Hall’s Gap trails, I decided to head up to a place called the Pinnacle. There are nice little trails everywhere around here and they seem to link together well. You can do short 1.5 or 2k walks or you can stretch it out into big loops and walk all the way from Hall’s Gap and around in the bush for 10, 12 or 14k hikes.  I had every intention of running and hiking as much as possible this trip but one can only do so much. I took the car up to the car park near the Pinnacle that was the access to 2 sets of falls as well, Splitter and Turret Falls. Splitter was a nice short jaunt down the trail so I headed that way. The only problem was it was all downhill and before I realized it, I was at the end and had to slog back up. There wasn’t much water coming down the falls but it was pretty. Snapped a couple of photos and headed off to the Pinnacle!IMG_1104The hike up to the Pinnacle was definitely all uphill but it was the perfect temperature. The sun was out with a tiny bit of wispy cloud and a slight breeze. Just warm enough to hike with a t-shirt and pants. Stand still too long though and you’ll get chilly. The hike up to the Pinnacle was only a couple kilometers but it was really interesting. Some of it was sandy path in the bush and other parts it was out on the open rock. All of it was very dry. About halfway up you go through the bottom of a large rocky section they call the Grand Canyon. The walls rise up 20 or 25 metres above you while you’re walking along the bottom. There is a narrow path at the bottom helped along by railings. Without the railings the path would be doable but tough.IMG_1128Out of the Grand Canyon and almost to the top there is a very narrow section of rock that you must go through. A small canyon and quite narrow, only a person wide really, called Silent Street. It’s a little creepy how quiet it is in the rocks and all the sound you make comes back quite a bit louder. To get out of Silent Street you must go up a very narrow section with many rocks for stairs and then a few wooden ones. The rock comes very close together near the wooden stairs. I was barely able to get my shoulders though. Not many fat people are going through there!IMG_1131At the top, the Pinnacle was impressive. It’s a large point of rock that they’ve fenced off and made a few stairs up and a platform on top. It’s quite impressive to stand on the edge and look straight down. It goes down at least 200 feet from the edge to more rocks and drop offs. The view was incredible, you could see out onto the plains to the north and east and to more hills to the south and east. From up there, people can hardly be seen down in the city unless aided by binoculars. Definitely exhilarating to be on the edge that high! It reminded me of the Edge cube in the Eureeka Tower in Melbourne but this one was much more work to get to and free.A horrible dent in my beautiful moment at the top, though. I arrive up there and am checking out the area. The Pinnacle is a popular attraction so there are about 15 other people up there. I’m ok with that. I’d rather be able to enjoy the view alone but with weather like it was, it’s hard to find a prime spot like this with no one around. I’m breathing pretty good after hiking quickly to the top and loving the fresh air. All of a sudden I get a bit breath of cigarette smoke. And now I’d like to throw you off the Pinnacle for smoking, buddy. If there is one thing I’d like to rid this world of, it would be smoking. Now back to your regular programming.I took a bit of a wrong turn and started heading towards one of the other carparks. The interlinked trails are nice but you do need to have an idea of where you are heading. I have a pretty good sense of direction (don’t ask about Sydney) and headed back down to the proper carpark.Another short walk from the Pinnacle carpark is Turret Falls. It was pretty but I was disappointed there was no trail to the bottom of the falls. I got a couple photos from the top but was unable to find a trail to the bottom without bushwacking. There seemed to be a packed down spot a the bottom where people had been but I couldn’t find the path there. Had the falls been very impressive I would have found my way down there but I had more hiking to do.Only a few minutes up the road driving a few more trails lead off Sundial Carpark. My plan was to hit Sundial Peak, head down to Delleys Dell and then be back at the carpark in no time for the quick drive back to the hostel and some recovery from the days exploration. It definitely happened in that order but not in quite the time I was expecting.IMG_1169The trail up to Sundial Peak was a sandy track with gum trees all over the place like so many of the tracks around here. The views south from the peak were beautiful. It’s slightly south from the Pinnacle so the views were similar but a little different. Heading down from the peak into the Dell, it was much more of a drop than I had expected and my knees and feet were aching by the time I hit the bottom. The trail at the bottom was beautiful and well worth the trek down the hill. Amidst the trees, were huge boulders that looked like they were thrown here from the peaks by some giants. I can’t imagine hearing them roll down the hill and being in the way.Just before the end of the trail at the road there was supposed to be another trail that head up to towards where my car was. I sure couldn’t find a trail. The map said it split off the trail at the river and then went back up the hill along the stream. There sure wasn’t any trail where I was. I went to the road, back up the trail, up the stream in the bush a ways. No trail. After giving up my search and starting the slog up the road to the next carpark I find a trail. Oh, this is where the trail was. Good thing the map said it was here.I cruised up this section of the trail, it was soft and smooth with beautiful lush green foliage on both sides. I got so excited I even ran a bit of it. I quickly hit Rosea Carpark and continued on the next section of the trail up to my car. The incline increase dramatically which halted any running that was happening and left me gulping for air. Remember the huge section of downhill after Sundial Peak? I had to regain all that elevation and the trail decided to do that in rocky uneven switchbacks. This section of the trail shouldn’t have taken that long but after running around the trails all day it seemed to take forever and a day. A few times, what I thought were cars in the carpark turned out to be large boulders sitting among the trees. Eventually my car materialized and I quickly hopped in and thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of sitting compared to trudging up steep sandy switchbacks. I celebrated with draining the rest of my giant bottle of water and then followed the road as it slithered back into town.[gmap]