Heysen Trail, South Australia
The District Council of Mount Re, South Australia, Australia
time : Jun 25, 2019 7:24 AM
duration : 9h 4m 4s
distance : 29.6 km
total_ascent : 597 m
highest_point : 962 m
avg_speed : 3.8 km/h
user_id : gstreet
user_firstname : Carl
user_lastname : Greenstreet
Magnificent walking day. I truly feel I’ve reached the Flinders Ranges and the Outback. I started by climbing Mt Brown, then worked my way along the rugged ridges above Pitchi Ritchi and finally followed the railway into Quorn. Tired and sore again but nice to be staying at a pub!
Day 40! This milestone deserves a celebratory beer and I’m in just the place to have it! I love ending up in a trail town and Quorn is a perfect overnight stop.
Fabulous walking today! For the first time, I really felt that I had reached the Flinders Ranges - rugged ranges with magnificent rocky outcrops, creeks lined with massive gums, open pine forests in some places arid hills covered with spiky grass trees in others. The microclimate ecosystems are alive and well here.
Last night I went to sleep in the tin Catninga Shed whole it was blowing a gale outside! The tin would rattle and shake and, at times, it would sound as if someone was beating on the side of the shed with a bat.
Never mind, I was exhausted. In fact, so tired I didn’t finish my ramblr trail journal before bed. It felt great to be in my down quilt! I woke up at 2am to dead silence. The wind had blown itself out! I got up to have a bio break and it was overcast but surprisingly warm.
I woke up early, finished yesterday’s blog and tried to get moving as I knew I had another 30 km day in front of me. On a good surface, that’s no problem as I can cover ground quite fast. On steep grades, rocky footing or no trails, I slow right down. Given I only have 10 hours of daylight at the moment, I’m motivated to minimise breaks and keep moving so I don’t have to navigate in the dark.
I said goodbye to Catninga Shed at just after 7am and started up the steep Mt Brown climb to the summit in the pre-dawn light. The views back to the dwindling Spenser Gulf were outstanding and I enjoyed watching the sky and terrain colours change rapidly as the sun rose.
I could see on the flat up from Port Augusta, the reflective facility with a tall tower that I thought might be a solar power plant. I asked my barmaid tonight, Nina, who said she lives in Pt Augusta what it was. She said a tomato farm but didn’t know why it looks like a solar plant. I’ll have to find out more when I get home.
The steep climb up Mt Brown moved into a wooded rocky portion where I struggled to find the trail. Blown over trees and rock outcrops made it difficult to reach the summit. It took me an hour to climb 300 metres and cover only a couple of kilometres but I was rewarded by a beautiful summit. I think I’m peak bagging my way through South Australia!
They’ve built a steel pedestrian tower at the top of Mt Brown which has outstanding views. Mount Brown is named after Robert Brown, a doctor, botanist and naturalist who accompanied Matthew Flinders on his expedition at the start of the 1800s. Not only did he climb the peak in 1802 later named Mt Brown by Flinders, he had many scientific discoveries including what is now known as Brownian Motion. He lived an amazing life as a scientist and adventurer.
Once I left Mt Brown summit, I dropped down the other side on groomed tracks within Mt Brown Conservation Park. Walking was a pleasure with stable footing. In time, I reached the base and followed for some time green and gum lined creeks. As s geological engineer, I enjoyed all the rock outcroppings along the way!
Surprisingly, after yesterday’s freezing wind, today was warm, sunny and blue skies. I was able to strip down to short sleeves which made for pleasant walking.
Finally, I crossed under the Pitchi Richi railway bridge. From there, the HT went back to form and I climbed a very steep grade, straight up. I ended up following the ridges above the Pitchi Ritchi camp. The scenery, views and geology were sublime but the trail was difficult. In fact, there was little trail and at times poorly marked. The surface was very rocky and steep, making it slow going. Once again, I was thankful for my poles although I wondered if I might break them in the rocky rough terrain.
Our daughter Jess did her structural geology field camp here so it gave me a great perspective as to what she’d field mapped.
After following the high ridge for some time, the trail eventually dropped down to the railway. I was happy to find better footing. I followed beside the railway for sometime, even cheating in a bit by actually walking along the railway itself although I know that is supposedly forbidden.
I ended up the walk with a long dirt road section through a green valley following the rail line. Most interesting, I crossed a stile into a section where the owner hung a sign saying “Warning! Bull camel on premises”. Well. Not sure how to avoid that so I walked on and fortunately saw no camels!
My feet were aching when I got into Quorn. Quorn is an interesting town, wide streets, three pubs (one which I’m staying at) and interesting shops. After I sorted out my room, I threw my smelly clothes into a washer in a laundromat and went to a nearby cafe. It was a beautifully interesting place; the owner said it was built in 1870. I had a nice coffee and slice of pie while I waited for the washer to finish. Then it was over to the IGA to resupply for a five day walk into Hawker. My pack will be heavy tomorrow!! I capped the evening off with a few beers and a pub meal.
Ah, the glamping life for me!