We have been walking the trail for a couple of years now,
using the Heysen Trail handbook, which is a fantastic and essential resource if you are going to tackle the trail. One must however not take it as gospel as displayed, as we found out.
Some of the previous trails we have noticed to be quite challenging and have joked about it being created by sadists. This particular section from Myponga heading towards Mount Compass (in the book), showed a 50 metre incline for about half a kilometre, and then a gentle decline, then mostly flat and gentle incline over the next few kilometres. In addition to this the map indicated not too many twists and turns. It appeared to be mostly straight lines on the map.
Well. Our first two kilometres took us about an hour. (That’s 2 kms per hour). It was not a straight incline but an up and down roller coaster, over and around hills and over creeks. The inclines were steep, but the declines were much worse, and the trail was overgrown not so easily followed and had lots of loose dirt and stones under foot, particularly when descending.
Even when the trail levelled out after that initial couple of K’s, there were still plenty of inclines and declines that did not appear in the book. My mate has a pretty good eye for these things, and when he says this hill looks to be about a 30 metre change in height, I believe him. These were not shown clearly in the book.
Anyway enough of my bitch’n. The rest of the track was grassland, dirt roads and spacious trails. We managed a good pace over the rest of the trek at about 4km per hour. The only other challenging bits were the sandy track through the old Eucalypt plantation, and the small “ravine” near the end.
Again loose dirt and stones with few trees and no fence to grab onto. It could have been worse though. Had it rained a little these slopes would have been deadly, although you would probably make it to the bottom very very quickly indeed! One slip and you would be gone.
Saw an old “Amoco” fuel tank on one of the properties. Remember the tv ads? “Amoco in my machine”. Once again the views were just stunning. Beautiful country side.
Rolling hills, a fair bit of wild life and occasional glimpses of the coast. Including one spot were the Bluff is visible. The Friends of the Heysen have even erected a viewing seat and water tank just in this location. Would be a great view on a clear day. Must come back to have a decent look when less cloudy.
It was however a perfect day for walking. 19 degrees forecast, cloudy with the chance of a shower (but did not rain), and a 4 to 6km per hour breeze. The breeze was very pleasant keeping us cool when blowing across our path. The higher temperatures are in our opinion the biggest hazard, as we do get quite warm when walking even when the weather is cooler. Any breeze is appreciated.
Not too much happening on the properties just yet with only a little rain in the last month or so. Only saw one mob of kangaroos this walk, and of course a herd of “curious” cows. They just crack me up every time. What the hell are they thinking when they look at you? We saw a couple of very cute “Bobby” calf’s. Shame really, but that is, life on the land.
The ground was dry and hard. It has been quite a while since we had a
good drenching around here. We both had sore feet by the time we had finished. Not sure it was the hard ground or because it was our first walk for the season. Probably both, although Grant did have new walking boots. Probably not the best way to break them in on a 15km bush walk.
Myponga to Mount Magnificent
Complete walk 32km. We did about 15kms Myponga to Woodcone Hill.
First few Kms were taxing. The rest was fine for moderate fitness. All creeks had wooden bridges which were appreciated.
The terrain consists of dirt tracks or roads, sandy tracks, and grassy fields, although on the steeper sections slippery dirt and stones make it challenging. The trek through the (now cut down) Eucalyptus plantation was all sand.
First 4 kms 2 km per hour. The rest we did at 4+kms per hour.
Until next time.