This will be our sixth year of walking the Heysen trail. It does’nt seem to be that long ago, although, in another way it seems like a life time ago. That cool day in 2011, heading off from Cape Jervis (so long ago it was in B+W).
Well seasoned we now are on the vagaries of the trail. The challenges and the pitfalls that beget a walker from time to time. From blisters, to minor injuries, to getting lost and walking in the dark. Not bringing enough water, mis-calculating the distance (both too short and too long), and missing trail markers (again and again). Getting my car bogged, and oh, there was also the time I left my car keys in Grant’s car (at the start of the walk with my car at the end). No mobile coverage to ring a taxi until we climbed the nearest hill. A number “two” accident with insufficient loo paper, and having to go “commando” for the rest of the walk was less that ideal (albeit very refreshing).
Amidst all of these very human frailties though, lies the beauty of the Australian landscape. The Jurassic cliff views of the un-ending southern ocean while keeping company with Roos and Echidna’s. The ever inquisitive cows and the communal sheep, often looked over by protector alpacas. The rolling hills of wheat and canola. The heavily wooded forests, every bit of the Hollywood scary movie, complete with fog and creepy stillness. The temperate micro climates of the gullies and valleys. With birds and lizards and all other manner of creatures filling in the spaces among the grass trees and the native flowers. The old Gums, engraving themselves relentlessly into the vista, defying time and dominating an all too often harsh environment. The unspoken history on show in the bleached homes of the fading past. Often the only clue as to the harshness of our colonial past.
Life and death is on display without judgement or care. There are no humanistic emotions at play in the bush. It brings life into sharp focus, without the subtleties of relational or competitive politics which forever cloud one’s mind living in the city. The simplicity of survival clears out the irrelevant and redundant, giving clarity of mind and spirit. Oh yea!
Then there is the delightful cafe’s, bakeries and restaurants serving the most delicious Aussie country cooking. Beef steak pies, Calamari, or Roo fillets with Quongdong sauce. Do I need to go on? To accompany such fine food, there is always a fine beverage to elevate the meal to truly memoral. Mclaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula. The Barossa Valley and the Clare Valley, will delight the fussiest of wine taste buds. All this and more, on, or very near the trail.
The mostly unseen beauty of SA is revealed when you walk the Heysen Trail. Much of which is hidden from the more well travelled roads. Plenty of characters on the way too. In the pubs cafe’s and the camping spots, as well as other walkers on the trail. Plenty of country hospitality and friendliness, and they always love a chat. Seems everyone out there has a story, and I love to hearing their history.
The mostly unseen beauty of SA is revealed when you walk the Heysen Trail. Much of which is hidden from the more well travelled roads. So if you have moderate fitness, or are willing to “step up” your training, the Heysen trail is such a joy to experience. Come and see the beauty of South Australia.
2011 – 107.5 kms
2012 – 185.2 kms
2013 – 208.8 kms
2014 – 148.2 kms
2015 – 264 kms
2016 – About to be done.
2016 will see us completing the final leg of this amazing journey. Dutchman’s Stern to Parachilna Gorge. Although the logistics are getting a little more challenging, we are looking forward to seeing the ancient geology on show in the Northern Flinders Ranges. I am also treating myself to a new camera lens to help capture the raw beauty we are about to experience. Our first walk will be Hawker(Jarvis Hill) through to Wilpena Pound over 5 days from May 8th.
I have been really happy to share our experiences and hope it has been an enjoyable read so far. Here I go for another year of looking at the back of Grant’s head.
See you on the trail maybe?