Tag Archive: Australia


IMG_5851We arrived early in the afternoon on a wet and windy day, with something you don’t see very often out here.  Rain, and we saw plenty of it on our way north. Hawker had received 18+mm in a couple of days, which is great for everyone in the bush. It was relatively dry when we arrived, but the wind was still gusting above 50kmh as we would realise when we got to the top of the ridge.

IMG_5841A short walk today of 9 kms, from Jarvis Hill to Leigh Creek Rd. Half of the walk was along the ridge of the Yourambulla Ranges.  Climbing the rocky ridge to the lookout, with a panoramic view opening up before us, we shifted our city brains out of gear and just allowed our minds to take in the pleasures of the Heysen trail.  A valley to the left gave rise to another ridge standing tall and keeping ours company on the journey north. To the right the flat plain stretched out with incursions of hills, peaks, and ridges seemingly placed delicately to give an interesting view.

IMG_5858The rocky ridge line jutting out at a 30+ degree angle was not the easiest to walk on, particularly when it is a little wet and the wind is trying to blow you off the mountain, repeatedly.

A classic rock overhang gave us some brief respite before battled those gales again. Our pace on the 4.5 km ridge was pretty pedestrian, and although the views were fantastic, we focussed mainly on keeping our footing. I only slipped 4 or 5 times. Thank goodness for sturdy boots.

IMG_5862We shared the trail with a few Wallabies and a couple of hairy goats, all of which were very shy, and disappeared down the slopes as soon as we came into view.

After coming off the ridge we meandered through the scratchy, thorny, stony scrub on a gentle slope before pacing it out along the fence line to finish at the old wagon adjacent the road with many names. Leigh Creek Road/Outback Highway/Barndioota Road/Parachilna Road(all dependant on which map you look at).

One of four walks done.  This trip will take in four days of walking with one day break (to rest the sore feet).  Today was a easy “break-in” walk of 9 kms, just to get us back in the swing of things. Tomorrow we will up the anti with 15kms, before we tackle the 30+ kms  on walk three. Last day will see us do another 15 kms walking into Wilpena Pound. 75 kms in all for the week. We are staying in a comfortable cabin at Hawker Caravan Park for two nights and the rest of the week will be at Rawnsley Park.

In Short:

Jarvis Hill to Leigh Creek Road

Distance : 9.8 kms

Duration : 2 hours 18 minutes

Pace : 4.2 kph

Terrain: Rocky and prickly

Elevation : Gain = 189 mtrs. Loss = 215 mtrs

Calories burned : 1351

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And the rest in pictures.

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Black ribbon in an ancient land

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,

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Sienna patches in a sea of yellow

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.

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Some, just along for the ride

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.

In Short:

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.

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Hmmm. Hpefully not a previous walker that didn’t make it!

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Lone sentinel

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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.

JTF62

Koala season

The hot weather usually brings among other things, the koala’s, and yesterday we had a big fat Koala sitting in our front yard tree.   Our yard seems to have all manner of wildlife from time to time.  Kookaburra’s usually wake us up in the morning (damn things) at about 4 or 5 am.  Lizards abound from gecko’s to Skinks and Legless lizards, to Blue Tongues and Stumpy’s. Possums and hopping mice are also plentiful. The mice apparently love to be brought in to the house to play with Pancakes. I am now a pretty good mouse catcher thanks to Pancakes.

Two days ago however Pancakes (our cat) was whining in a very distressed manner. The lower pitched sound is only heard when there is something wrong ( I may be the cat whisperer), and she was refusing to use her cat door.   Having searched the house and surrounding area around the house I settled back to having breakfast.  Sometime later, Pancakes bolted outside and Meri (my wife) peered out the window to see a young Eastern Brown snake (second most venomous in the world) slithering up our back yard stairs with Pancakes in hot pursuit.  Pancakes has played with Brown snakes before and come up second best. The $600 vet bill is testament to loss in that fight.  Anyway, we managed to distract Pancakes long enough to allow the snake to escape.  I did follow up, attempting to find the snake to ensure it was not going to be a problem and of course even though I had spade in hand, I was not about to chop off it’s head because that would be illegal (protected species).  So, that question became mute as the (almost) metre long Brown snake found an escape route through a hole in the fence (neighbour’s problem now).

Here is our most recent visitor.

JTF