T-Team: Young and Restless in Brachina Gorge
It could’ve been Good Friday; most probably was. One thing was for certain, it was the Easter long weekend, when throngs of city folk in South Australia head for the outback to camp. My brother and I joined our youth group friends on a camping trip to Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges. Ah, those were the days!
Another thing was for sure. We had reached Brachina Gorge after a long day of driving and everyone was, let’s just say, less than civil with each other. At least no kangaroos had been slaughtered by car, no copious amounts of beer had been drunk in the car, and thus no unfortunate accidents causing us to escape the car had happened either. Not like some Easter in the future when the T-Team explored Chambers Gorge.
So, late Good Friday afternoon, we stopped in Brachina Gorge just before the track became too suspension-crunching rough.
B Calm sautéed his dehydrated rice on his personal gas cooker. He wasn’t grumpy.
I peered at the sizzling stubs of rice and deliciously smelling onion. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked.
‘Cooking,’ B Calm replied.
‘Looks good.’ I mused how B Calm could settle down and cook his dinner. The rest of the crew bumbled about the narrow sandy rise above the riverbed, searching for a decent-sized patch to plant their tents.
Storm bowled past B Calm. ‘This place is rubbish! Can’t we move on?’
B Calm ignored Storm and continued frying. The cliffs of the gorge shimmered salmon-pink in the late afternoon sun.
Storm paced in front of B Calm. He moaned, ‘There’s nowhere to put a tent up! Who chose this place?’
The culprit, my brother, also ignored this feedback. He hovered over the rock pool, searching for his tucker tonight. Yabbies.
‘Any luck?’ B Calm called.
‘Nup,’ Rick replied. ‘But I just caught a tadpole.’ He then tipped back his head, opened wide his mouth and popped the tadpole in.
‘Ew! Yuk!’ the girls, Summer and Autumn screamed. ‘That’s disgusting!’
After a gulp, Rick shuddered. ‘A bit too salty.’
Storm stumbled past. ‘This place stinks!’
‘Find us a better place then,’ Rick replied.
Storm stomped down the road that led further into the gorge and disappeared around the bend. The sun, by this time had slunk below the horizon to light up other parts of the Earth. Twilight lingered, dusting wisps of cloud in shades of crimson.
B Calm glanced in the direction of Storm’s venture. ‘He’ll be back.’
Sure enough, as the twisted bushes on the neighbouring ridge turned to ink against the fading sunset, Storm returned. ‘Still reckon this place is a dump,’ he muttered.
For the rest of us, the ancient mystery of the Brachina cliffs had convinced us to stay put. Tents lined the banks of the creek. And our small group of friends gathered around the roaring fire, sausages sizzling in frypans and billies boiling for a cup of tea. Brachina, and the campsite Rick had chosen, was more than good enough for us.
‘Maybe we’ll move on in the morning,’ Rick promised; more to allay any remaining discontent, than a firm promise.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2020; update 2023
Feature Photo: Sunset on Brachina © L.M. Kling 1999