The time has come when the distance to travel to and from our walk destination is just too far to do in a day, so a weekend away was the only answer. Now ordinarily Grant and I would journey on our own, but on this trip we decided to take our significant other’s. As it so happened the best weekend to go this month was going to fall on my wife’s birthday. This would work well for us. The boys would walk, and the girls would have a day on their own at a Barossa Valley winery. Perfect! Now some might suggest it a bit selfish of me, and that I should be lunching with my better half, however, the real gift is to allow her to have a break from work, house, kids, and from me. She had a great day, and we went out for a lovely dinner in a fine restaurant at Angaston that night. Back to the Trail. After good rains so far this winter every thing is green. The hills, the road sides, and of course all of the fields. Grass green, tree green, pea green, green wheat, green lucerne and all sorts of other shades of green in the fields, on the hills and in the bush. This land is open farm land. Looks fantastic after rain, but probably would be pretty barren in the dry. The roads were in excellent condition for walking, but be wary on the trail in this section. The trail markers are not always very clear. We had a couple of minor detours which added a Km or two to our journey. Most of this walk is on the flat or on gentle slopes, however there are two large inclines which will test your mettle. One of which is not in the Heysen Trail book as it is on a “reroute’. Always a good idea to check the FOTH website for re-routes before you go. It’s hard enough at times to stay on the trail without any added complications. Niblett Gap was such a beautiful place to stop for lunch. At the top of the ridge we were looking either side at the lush views. Even better because Grant had made my “gourmet” lunch that morning. What a guy! Back on the trail and down the ridge over looking Apoinga lagoon, which after all the rain we have had, was full of water. Google maps show this as a parched dry bed. After heading off up the hill at the re-route, we ended up walking through a field of Grass Trees (or Black boys). We have not seen any of these since we were in way down south in Deep Creek. The hill itself was not welcome, but the views certainly were. We wound our way over hills, over rocky outcrops, through fields, and along creeks finally finding ourselves at Huppatz Hut. A great spot with adequate facilities for an overnight stay if necessary (not 4 star, but after a 20km walk it would feel like it). A 150 odd metre ridge awaited us after our short break at the hut. Challenging it was, however once over the top we powered down the hill encouraged by being able to just make out my car 2 kms off in the distance. Now, we normally track our distance and pace by Runtastic on our phones, but for some reason our batteries were running low towards the end of our trek, so we(I) decided to run the last half km or so to ensure we got an accurate reading. Crazy? Maybe, but we did it. Amazing how one can have energy to run after a 23 km walk up hill and down dale.
Distance : 23.6 kms (although this includes 1.5 kms of minor detours)
Duration : 4 hours 32 minutes walking time (we also had two 30 minutes breaks)
Pace : 5.4 kph walking speed.
Terrain : Good dirt roads and trails. Rocky in parts on the ridges
Best Part : The views on top of the ridges.