Heysen Trail, South Australia
South Australia, Australia
time : Jun 26, 2022 7:33 AM
duration : 7h 6m 45s
distance : 29.9 km
total_ascent : 696 m
highest_point : 723 m
avg_speed : 4.3 km/h
user_id : gstreet
user_firstname : Carl
user_lastname : Greenstreet
More Thermarest mattress dramas last night unfortunately. I was so tired and chilly last night that I went to bed a bit after 6:30. I had inflated my just repaired air mattress and laid it on the foam mattress of the Catninga bunk as I wanted to sleep on it and confirm the patch was holding.
I sat my weight on the end of the mattress and heard a loud pop like a balloon bursting! I jumped up and saw the ribs / pleats at the bottom of my pad had broken free and the bottom now looked like a swollen balloon. I think this is delamination which possibly could be a warranty issue (although I bought the mat in the UK which might be a problem obtaining warranty service here).
I couldn’t hear any air escaping so I slept on it any way, feeling like a had a swollen lump under my feet. I let some air out over the night to lessen that feeling and when I got up the Matt was quite deflated- I’m not sure if it is leaking or I let too much air out?
Oh well, it looks like sleeping mat problems will be a theme this walk…
I was up and walking early again this morning. The setting crescent moon was spectacular but I missed most of a colourful sunrise getting packed.
Coming down off the upper slopes of Mt Brown was beautiful with green grass and majestic gums. The terrain was generally steep up and down although heading south this time should be easier than northbound.
The trail cleverly winds through a few creeks saving me from climbing the steep adjacent hills. My heart fell as I approached these hills so I was pretty happy to wind around.
Nevertheless, there was plenty of steep pitches. Also, many sheep and lambs about and I did my best to minimise their disturbance. The trail often takes a much more difficult path along the fence line while sometimes there is an option to follow a nearby graded road. The problem with that is the road often put me out amongst the sheep so I chose to stick to the trail to avoid disturbing them and potentially separating a lamb from its mother during their flight.
I walked into the treeless, dry and rocky areas I so remembered from my previous walks. The feet destroying rocks were still there but this time the countryside was green and almost lush.
Despite no rain forecast, it clouds up and I have to pull on my rain shell as I get caught in a small 30 minute shower. Once over, it’s not long before I’m dry again and the sun comes back out.
Today, I really felt the incessant rocks pounding at my feet! I reached the new hikers camp, Hawk’s Nest. It’s quite exposed with a water tank and a bench only. It makes a better rest / water stop than a campsite, I reckon.
After many more painful steps on the rocky ground, I finally reach the Highway at Horrocks Pass.
The trail parallels the highway but keeps the walkers 50-100 metres off the highway. I don’t feel like route finding or poor footing so I decide to (carefully) road walk down on the highway shoulder, making sure I’m well away when I hear a car coming.
In this way, I make very good time down from the pass at the price of a hard walking surface. I reach the dirt road where the trail circles around Wilmington (to come back around on the Alligator Gorge road) and I make a second decision to keep road walking in through Wilmington to the Beautiful Valley Caravan Park which lies a bit over a kilometre to the east of town. I walk the five kilometres quickly. My feet are really hurting now after a rocky trail and a hard road shoulder.
I make the caravan park before 3pm which is quite good time for 30 kms walked and 700m total climb.
I’ve hired a one bedroom dings with an ensuite shower - just like the ones at so many resource camps I’ve stayed in over the years. I treat myself to a cornetto ice cream and FaceTime Lisa before taking a welcome shower. I also rinse out my sweat soaked shirt and socks in the sink - they should be dry and ready to go tomorrow.
Shortly, I’m going to walk the 1.4 km back to the Wilmington Hotel as pub meals are worth the extra effort! I enjoy star gazing on the walk back.
I came back (yes, the stars were awesome!) to find the caravan park’s owner’s wife feeding the possums - probably 20 possums crawling all over her to get some bread.
Early start tomorrow as another big day to Melrose; I’m expecting a bit over 30 kms distance and over a kilometre of climb - tough day!
Carl / Pilgrim