Soapy spray bottles work better than full immersion when trying to find a pinhole leak in your air mattress
Heysen Trail, South Australia
The Flinders Ranges Council, South Australia, Australia
time : Jun 23, 2022 7:47 PM
duration : 0h 0m 1s
distance : 0 km
total_ascent : N/A
highest_point : 297 m
avg_speed : N/A
user_id : gstreet
user_firstname : Carl
user_lastname : Greenstreet
I love rest days, same as hard hiking days. The Yin and Yang of a long distance thru-hiker.
I can imagine myself at a Quorn meeting of Hikers Anonymous:
“Hi, my name is Carl and I’m addicted to hiking the Heysen Trail”
It’s great that some hikers are slow and steady and take many weeks to finish the trail. It’s also great that some are fit and strong and finish the trail in an astoundingly short time. Soon, mid-July, there are runners coming to raise money for charity and attempt to beat the fastest known time by doing the entire Heysen in 14 days!! I look forward to seeing them run past and cheering them on - literally.
Me, I’ve found I like to generally hike hard during my trail days but I also jump at every glamping / rest day I can take. It’s the perfect balance to me. The old hiker saying “hike your own hike” is oh, so true!
So today was a slack day and what more comfortable place could I be than Elizabeth House? Yesterday, I found a Jack Reacher novel on the shelves and it was nearly finished by bedtime.
I slept in and then had a big brekkie at the Quandong Cafe. Back at Elizabeth House, Kylie stopped by and found me a tub container that I attempted to submerge mattress sections into, carefully and methodologically looking for my slow leak. It was hard work pushing and air filled mattress under water and soon my back aches.
I was 70% through the mattress when I heard the faint squeal of an air leak as I pushed a new section of mattress under water. I took the soapy water sprayer and sprayed the remaining section and was rewarded by seeing bubbles and foam in one spot. I had found the leak! Surprisingly it wasn’t in one of the protruding ribs that would be touching the ground but in a low seam between the ribs. I dried it off and marked the spot with a cross with a permanent Sharoie marker I happen to carry. Success!
I let the mattress dry and go have lunch. Afterwards I search stores for alcohol to clean the mat before patching. I have alcohol wipes in my repair kit but I’ve been carrying them for three years and I’m concerned they have gone dry. Note to self and other hikers: it’s a good idea to periodically refresh your first aid and repair kit.
I found 67% rubbing alcohol at the pharmacy. After watching a few videos I had a go at repairing the leak with the thermarest repair kit I had been carrying for years. I deflated the mattress and wiped the leak spot down thoroughly with alcohol. After drying I applied the supplied glue dot to the leak. I had some difficulty here as one side of the dot wasn’t very sticky and the other side wouldn’t release from the backing. I pried the sticky side off with my knife and placed it over the marked leak, pressing firmly. I the applied the larger patch over the glue dot. I let this set for a number of hours and only now have reinflated the mattress to see if it keeps pressure all night. I feel I am successful but morning should tell.
Otherwise a slack, lie flat day. I finished the Jack Reacher novel and started an old SciFi novel, Hyperion, that I love.
I met Mick and Sue, NOBO thru-hikers from Victoria who are on their first long distance hike. They are staying in Elizabeth House and will take a rest day tomorrow. Like all hikers, they are lovely and easy to talk to.
I had dinner at the Austral and it was quite good. Don’t believe that the Intercontinental has the only good food as my steak at the Austral was excellent. It was much quieter there and I enjoyed talking with the locals and Zoe the bar made. Riley even shouted me a beer although I protested and he would not let me reciprocate. A nice evening.
Tomorrow I have coffee with my friends Bruce & Isabel who finished the trail and stopping by on the way home. I also need to do a small resupply but mostly it will be a slack day before hitting the trail again Saturday. Ah, the glamping life for me!
Carl / Pilgrim