Today was a beautiful day. It started out cloudy, which was the remaining weather pattern that produced the first October snow in over a hundred years! But after that cleared mid morning, the sun was out with little or no wind. Just perfect.
We have had plenty of rain (and snow twice) this year, and the scenery showed the results of all this wet stuff in the form of lots of greenery and now in spring, lots of wild flowers. What a great time to be walking through the Adelaide hills.
There is one thing that happens every weekend in the Adelaide hills, especially when the weather is fine. From very early in the morning, the cyclists are out. Now, not the “fat men in lycra” types, that my good wife complains about every time the Tour Down Under comes around, but the (still lycra clad) serious riders taking over the quite narrow Adelaide hills roads. Don’t expect to get anyware quickly on these roads. With groups of two to ten taking up an entire lane, it can be slow going at times. Just as well it is beautiful countryside.
In addition to this is there are other riders that frequent the hills roads in the afternoons. That would be the motorcycle riders. Seems the motor cyclists think that getting up early is not quite as much of a priority as the cyclist seem to think it is.
Current temperature when we started walking was a very pleasant 15 odd degrees, with a forecast top of 21C. After wandering down the road from Norton Summit, we came across an old lot of buildings. Looking like it would have been quite a property in it’s day, and it turns out that it was a successful pastoralist back in the 1800’s.
“These barns were built by a local farmer John Baker who was also briefly the Premier of South Australia. He lasted 11 days as Premier but must have been much more successful as a farmer if these barns are anything to judge by. He also paid for St John’s church at Norton Summit.”
Saw some lambs still with their tails. Even some of the sheep also had their tails which is something you don’t see too often.
A large part of our walk was through Morialta Conservation Park, which I have to say is a beautiful park. Striking rocky outcrops, a lush valley floor, and open woodland on the elevated hills. Brilliant wild flowers springing to life this week as the weather slowly warms heading toward our typical hot summer (unless we get a La Niña for the third year in a row).
After walking through the the valley floor passing the waterfalls, we heading up the hill stopping occasionally to admire the views of the park and also of the city of Adelaide which is visible towards the top of the hills.
I can’t believe (or maybe I can believe) how busy this park is. Stack’s of people walking the trails to the waterfalls and doing the loop paths. So many people that I got a bit tired of saying hello every five minutes. The only consolation was that they were predominantly young women. Lots of good looking girls keeping fit and enjoying the bush. Now if I were a younger (and single) man, this would be a great spot to pick up!
Heading up to the top of the ridge we exited the park and stopped along the Moores road for a bit of lunch among the gum trees. Thanks Grant for bringing Ruth’s muffins. They topped of the meal just nicely.
The road meandered along the ridge until we hit Marble Hill rd. Following the road a bit further before before heading off onto a fire track along another ridge.
Came across an old Morris sitting in a driveway off the the road. Not sure quite what it was, but it looked pretty cool. It still amazes me the things we see on our walks.
Now we had been walk ing at a fairly high elevation without dipping much below 500 odd metres. This of course is not usual for bush walks let alone the Heysen trail, as previous entries quite clearly show. Our leisurely walk was about to be interrupted by the biggest descent of the Heysen walk so far.
We descended 200 metres to the valley floor in as little as a 600 metres! Anyone who thinks going downhill is easier than going uphill needs to go down this hill first before making that statement.
Once at the bottom and after a short rest (absolutely necessary), we strolled along the track along the creek with, again lots of greenery and trees, to Valley Rd. A lovely way to end this walk.
Norton Summit to Valley Rd
Distance : 17 kms
Terrain : Roads, fire tracks and decent dirt tracks. One very steep section, 200 mtrs down over less than a kilometre
Best Part : Morialta Conservation Park. Absolutely beautiful.
Speed : 3.7 kms per hour. Taking out stops (lots of photo taking) 4.4 kms per hour.
Wise word : Be wary of using Google maps. You will be led astray in this area.
The rest in pictures: