Stepping out of the car into the dry South Australian heat, I stopped for a moment to reflect on our short 15 km walk on the warmest day we have ever attempted.
I am not personally well adapted to excess heat, but this was our last chance to walk for the year, and our target this year was to reach Burra. It would mean a two day walk of 40 kms to be walked this weekend. We split the days into 15kms and 25kms,
Fifteen kms would normally be a breeze for us, but this was 20° warmer than what we were normally used to. Anyway, it had to be done. No point in setting a target if you are not serious about achieving it.
Not only was the heat a problem, but we had two other impediments on this walk hampering our progress and our enjoyment. Having to walk through fields in late spring meant that the grass seeds were going to be plentiful, and they were. Our socks were like porcupines after a dozen steps, and the seeds were working their way in deeper as we walked. After a while it got quite painful before we stopped and “de-seeded”. The other experience which I had not encountered since the late seventies, was the FLIES! There were millions of them. Annoying us from start to finish. For a couple of hours I was killing about ten of them every minute. That amounts to well over a thousand mortally wounded winged terrorists by walk’s end. Still didn’t put a dent in the numbers though.
This trek heading into Burra had the most amazing scenery. The colours, the hues, and the landscapes, all just like a Hans Heysen painting. You can kinda see how the naming of the trail all came about, huh?
Stayed at the Burra pub overnight. Typical country hotel with lovely people, and the food was just glorious. I had the lamb, as the steak we ordered was all gone. (we were a bit late). Tender, melt in your mouth type tender, and very tasty. When in doubt at a restaurant, always order the local produce. Went down nicely with a couple of beers. It was however, not a great place to sleep on a Saturday night. Just a little noisy down stairs.
The second day was a little cooler at 25°, but the flies were just as bad. Just as well it was a scenic walk. I was so taken with the stark beauty of the landscape I just had to put it into prose.
Through Heysen’s Eyes
Endless sky, a liquid sun.
Dusty road, aside old man gum.
A thousand flies, narking crows,
Cool breeze on us, from god bestowed.
White wisps across, the hazy blue
Sienna patches amidst the yellow hue.
Lone sentinel atop a windswept hill
Enduring, in wait for rain until.
Black ribbon wanders the ancient land
Attempt at taming, by man’s hand.
Pebbled beds carved through time
This is, old earth’s, paradigm.
Harsh it is, and it’s only spring
The rains have gone, and birds on the wing.
The hues and tones so bleached and dry
Just like a view, though a Heysen ‘s eye.
Distance : 40 kms
Duration : 7 hours 34 minutes (over 2 days)
Pace : 5.3 kph
Terrain : Rolling hills through farm land and dirt roads. Only two moderate hills and one gorge.
Best Part : Getting it done. Way too hot to be enjoyable. Will not be doing that again in the heat. At least the scenery was pretty cool.
Well, that is it for another year on the Heysen trail. I have to say that the vista’s all along the trail have been absolutely fabulous, and incredibly diverse. Can’t wait to see what is in stall for us in the mid north. Ciao for now.