Thursday, November 23, 2006

Walk Season Over

With the start of the Fire Season, the Heysen Trail is closed (the bits that traverse private land, which is most of it). So no more end-to-end walking until the fire season ends in April 07... or later if the season is extended, which is likely given the drought.

Meanwhile... doing some of the club's Twilight walks and doing a couple of projects for them... and riding some of the Mawson Trail...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tapanappa to Balquhidder

It just seemed like it would be too hard. I'd done the first couple of hills ok, but could I ride another 15kms of it? And stupid me, I had not got up early enough, it was 10.30am already. So I canned the ride. I was at my determined end point of today's walk, Balquhidder, on Callawonga Road just past the end of Tunk Head Road. I had missed this End to End 3 walk when I was sick (remember the shortest cold ever?). I had got a copy of the CFS map book page from Tim, why had Robin bought him this neither I nor him had any idea, but it was certainly useful for me. Would have been more useful if I could read contours better; I had determined it was hilly, but manageable. It was mental, so at 10.30am in the morning, I decided not to risk spending the next two to four hours riding, then walking the 15km walk back to the car. I had plenty of water for the ride and the walk, but time? No. So I rode back to the car. Also, I wasn't completely comfortable with the idea of walking out-of-season across the short 2kms or so of farmland. Well, I wouldn't normally even consider it... but it was only 5 days into November, and it seemed such a short distance (if on the map and not in reality!).

So I drove to Tapanappa, to where we had ended the walk back in July (I missed this June walk). I had camped here before, so with that established I felt justified in driving a little along the trail to reduce my walking distance, I was already set to do this section there and back. So I saved about 1.5kms by driving. I really enjoyed walking down to the sea, it was much warmer in amongst the scrub than it was on the bare windy hill before, although this section was overgrown. I taped my knees after my right one started aching, this was a two hundred metre descent.

It took me about an 1.5 hours to reach Tunkalilla beach, a distance of about 3.5kms. The beach, yes, the dreaded beach everyone complained about, apparently the sand was very soft so it was difficult to walk along. It wasn't difficult at all, just long, the trail went for about 4.5kms along the beach. Of course, I took my shoes off, prefering to walk barefoot. It was soft in sections, but it was a matter of walking in the wet bit and following the line of dry sand, although this became difficult to determine sometimes as the tide was coming in. I checked myself off on the map as I passed landmarks, however, somehow I still missed where the trail left the beach. This wasn't a big deal as I wasn't walking this small section of the trail, instead turning around at this point and returning to the car, well, after a quick swim, a snack and a sunblock top-up. I need to check Google Earth perhaps, but from the map the trail left the beach between the last two creeks, and I found both creeks but no sign of the trail, nor any sign of it on any hill leading away from the beach. This apparently, was a tough climb up a fenced hill. Could only see one hill to match that, and it wasn't marked with trail markers at all. I thought maybe I would see the trail when I walked back, I had walked about 1 km past it. I then walked back, choosing to walk along the track just beyond the dunes, so I could see some sign of the trail but also so I could walk somewhere new. Back towards the start of the beach I had to walk a km or so on the sand again. Saw 2 roos, it is so easy to unintentionally creep up on them, even within a couple of metres before they see a lone hiker. Anyway, one with a joey jumped they fence to flee from me, but the joey couldn't or wouldn't jump. Eventually it did with the help of the mother, and then it scrambled into the mother's pouch, even though it looked too big for that. It was too big, with it's legs and tail sticking out of the pouch (it dived in head first), it fell out with two bounces.

Although it only took me 45 minutes to walk down the beach along the sand, it took me over an hour to walk back. No idea why, thought I was going faster on the track, but apparently not.

So the walk took 4.5 hours total, about 9kms each way, 5.5kms each way on Tunkalilla Beach. I was glad I had decided not to cover that last 2kms, how would I have found the trail? Although later I realised I would have had to close the 2kms to get back to the car, so probably would have followed the creek up to the road.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Inman Valley to Myponga

I was too tired when the alarm went off... I hadn't slept on the plane the previous night... I wanted to go hiking to catch up with people and see some of Australian countryside, but alas, I missed it (but my 3 weeks in Thailand was very good). Will have to do it as a catch up next year...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Curnows Hut to Georgetown

Missed this walk, although I heard it was a really good walk weekend. Everyone from End-to-End 2 stayed in the Gladstone Gaol and shared a bbq meal on Saturday night.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tugwell Road to Inman Valley

I'm not sure how the cows manouvered themselves along these tight sections of the trail. But evidently they did, and they were there for a while, manourvering themselves, and leaving us large, squishy, sloppy presents. We must have been glad of the gift, you can tell, cos so many of us managed to step in one. Or was it that you spent so much time avoiding stepping in one, that you eventually gave up and ended up stepping in many?

Today's 20km walk was through pastoral land, cows obviously, but most of the trail followed old tracks. This was all unknown territory to me, never having been through Inman Valley. It was all so green, it was hard to believe we hadn't had much rainfall. The corridor the tracks passed through were pleasant, lush really, although strangely overpopulated with cow patties. The vallies were spectacular to look across, the green, the areas of vegetation and pine plantation forest.

The wind had been so fierce the night before, at 4am it was difficult to imagine that it would calm down enough to make today's walk comfortable. The weather forecast was for a clearing day with light showers, I know, I checked it at 5am in the morning. The wind so so gustful that it kept waking me, so I checked the BOM's forecast on my phone. By morning it had settled a little, and increasingly so as the morning wore on. By the time we reached Inman Valley to meet the buses, it was even sunny! However the weather varied throughout the day, with short bursts of light rain, or horizontal heavy rain, warm sun and cold wind.

I don't have much else to write, my mind is too occupied with my holiday to Thailand in just 4 sleeps time? I think so...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Old Burra Road to World's End

I learnt a few things on this walk. Firstly, walking by oneself can be boring. Although, the boring factor might have come because it was a catch-up walk. So what I really learnt was that catch-up walks are boring. Why? Cos I could see where I was starting, and where I was ending. I knew the kind of scenery to expect. I had already been here and done that. Possibly though, I would enjoy a catch-up walk if I did it with other people. What did I think about during the walk? I pondered whether I enjoyed walking, or walking with people more.

I drove up to Burra Creek on Friday night. It was kinda planned, pencilled in you might say, but it was only late Friday afternoon I decided to do it. Packing at home, I thought I might like to go down to Ray's Outdoor store on West Terrace and buy myself and air mattress pumper-upper (that's the techinical name). Checking the web using my phone, oh how I love that, it was open until 7. Of course, I already have one of the pumper-upper devices, just I haven't seen it in so long I guess it isn't really mine anymore, especially since I have no idea where or with whom it is. I hurriedly packed, but when I got to Ray's it had clearly closed some time before. Mmm. I was later to realise I should have organised this during the week, it wasn't really just a comfort matter, my ribs ached and ached all Saturday from sleeping on that thin foam rollie mattress on the ground. Ah hindsight, what a wonderful gift, that no-one has. At least I now know what I might expect from some of my night's sleeps in Thailand, especially the hill tribe trek. I hope it has healed much more by then, can't believe my scooter accident was over three weeks ago when my ribs are still so sore.

Rode my bicycle, maybe 15 to 20km, on the roads from Burra Creek to the south along the bitumen road, then along the dirt roads across a low part of the hills into the next valley, then back up north to where the Heysen Trail is. This was ride was incredibly hard, one because it was uphill, and I didn't seem to consider this, as I got depressed about how hard it was to ride. Two, I had brought three litres of water for the walk, but forgotton to allocate any for the bike ride, when I needed much more! So I was rationing my water. The day was hot, predicted 24 degrees, but felt much hotter, 29 I think it was. Very dry and dusty. Woah. It was hot riding in the sun. Because of my low water, and hard riding, I cut short the ride to start the walk some 3kms west of Old Burra Road, on Koo-owie Road. I could come back later today when I collected my bike to finish the remaining 3kms back to Old Burra Rd, or simply leave it for some other time (what a bastard!) or just ignore it all together. My mood quickly lifted as I walked, I was much more comfortable doing this then riding. The experience with riding made me question whether I really want to ride the Mawson Trail or not, but also, if I did, I would need a new bike. My balls were hurting from the bumpy road riding. There was just no-where on the road to ride that was comfortable. But it's worth noting that I was riding alone, on an unexpectantly hot day, on a ride for some mental reason I thought would be quick, when it took me almost two hours, and on roads. Road riding is never as good as on a trail. And also I wasn't riding on the Mawson trail, so it seemed goal-less, and without a map. All in all, psychologically it wasn't ever going to be an easy ride.

Got lost a few times, seeing markers in the distance but forgetting to check the arrow direction on them when close up. Yep, I sure was very used to being led in a group, just following others! Had to back track a little, also being by myself it was disconcerting trying to find the next markers, sometimes I was a little nervous of where I was. At one stage, walking along a creek bed, I conceeded I had no idea where I was on the map, and at least I was walking downstream and which would lead out of the hills into the valley where my car was! Walking along the creek bed was my favourite part of the walk, but the rest of the walk was pretty ordinary. It was a quick walk, I never even stopped for lunch, it took 2 hours. When the others walked it, they were right, it was pretty boring walk.

Once I got back to the car, and checked my water supply by sight, rather than just feeling with my hand, I realised I still had 1.5L of my 3L remaining. Doh! I could have drinking so much more! So I drove back to my bike, parked, and walked back towards Old Burra Road. Walked to the top of the hill, and could see down to Old Burra Road. Having to walk to the end and turn around and return to the car, I just couldn't be bothered walking the last remaining 750 to 1000 metres. I took a photo. In the distance I could see that damn hill I walked down that had casused me so much knee pain!

The photos are so boring, is it because I was bored?

As an erratum to this blog entry (written months later), whilst making the Log Book, I noticed that the trail in this region where I got "lost" has been re-routed from that shown on the map. No wonder I could make so little sense of the map, and the trail seemed to go in a different direction! Later, when I climbed past the water pipe back to Old Burra Road, it was obvious then that the map and the trail differed, which might have served as a little discouragement to walk that 750m, again a re-route.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Marble Hill Road to Bundaleer Reservoir

The channel was interesting, an engineering marvel. We looked at it's various features as we walked. It was impressive, imagining all the hard work that must have gone into building it a hundred years previously. The trail followed the channel, the channel falling at just 1 metre every mile. It followed the channel for some 20kms, and as we walked on our interest waned, we became keen to walk anywhere away from this damn channel! Today was in such contrast to yesterday, today it was breezey, not windy, and consistently warm and sunny. It was the hottest walking day I recall.

The network of channels was built between 1898 and 1902 to feed into the Bundaleer Reservoir, constructed to catch water to serve local towns. The channels harnessed the local rain run-off, directing it in huge concrete gutters. The earthworks and concrete work was amazing, little of it had cracked or been damaged. There were many smaller earth channels and concrete walls that fed into the larger channels, and there were several large overflow areas, a steel bridge that carried the channel over a river, a series of tunnels and even some creeks were directed not into, but underneath the channel. There were timber access bridges that crossed the channel at regular, and seemingly too often intervals, although many had been replaced by concrete bridges, the old timber sometimes piled up and rotting nearby. The gates associated with these bridges featured amazing detail, with large cast iron gate posts. The channels have been abandoned, not sure when, perhaps after the pipeline from Morgan was built in 1944, thanks to Google, but that's all I could really find out about the channels, except they were controversial when built. I wonder how effective they proved to be?

At the start of the day, before reaching the channels, I walked for 300 metres or so along the top of one of the water pipes from the Murray. I felt like a child balancing along it! Later, I wanted to walk along part of the channel floor, and perhaps also through one of the tunnels, but I was wary of my knees to I didn't undertake any such adventures down the sides of the steep channel! At Freshwater Creek weir, we had to walk around a flowing outflow, as the trail bridge had been washed away in the January floods. I wanted to climb over the sluice mechanism as there was a ladder on my side, so I shouted out to Raelene on the other side if there was a similar ladder on her side. Nope. I really wanted a ladder to be there, so I kept asking others, upsetting Raelene by not taking her at her word!

I had my photo taken at Freshwater Creek Weir, the point on the map that changed from the first map book to the second map book. This was the half way point of the trail. The weir, in which the channels and creek flowed into, was controlled by a sluice gate that led into another channel that followed parallel to the creek.

We found refuge from the sun in a shady spot further down the channel, and a couple of cyclists came our way along the shared Mawson Trail, having ridden from Bundaleer Forest that morning. They would continue riding until sunset before camping. They had ridden from Laura a few days previously, and planned to ride as far as they could until Wednesday. They were an inspiration, I want to ride the trail in blocks now and just camp at the end of each day, having ridden as far as I could that day. We shared some of our chocolate from our silver tray with them, I think they appreciated that. This was some of the last shade we saw. I drank my full two litres of water, the day before I had drank only one of my three litres, and had been too lazy to refill it the night before. I have learnt this lesson before - always take the full three litres of water each day! In the hot sun and unrelenting flatness of the walk we became weary of the channel. We enjoyed the spectacle of seeing the whole group holding up their trekking poles to ward off a swooping magpie.

Earlier in the day we had the funny event of Julie becoming stuck on a barb wire fence. The stiles here were modest, usually of only one tall step, and no poles to steady yourself with. Stepping over the fence seemed easier, but poor Julie got stuck!

We stopped at The Citadel in Clare for coffee and cake on the way home. It was my last End to End 2 walk for the season, I would be in Thailand for the last walk. It was a little sad to finish, I particularly enjoyed these weekends away.

Dead Cow Quarry to Marble Hill Road

One word sums up today. Wind. Today was one of those days when I wondered why I was walking the Heysen Trail. I just wanted the day to be over. The stone wall we walked along was fascinating, but walking along it all day, in a virtually straight line in that incredible wind? It just never seemed to end! We had to be wary of the fallen stones and the naturally stony ground (the source for the stone wall) to avoid any nasty falls.

The stone wall stretched from some 10km or so north of where the walk started, southwards 40km to near Clare. Running along the ridge of the hills, the dry wall was in various states of disrepair, some sections being relatively intact and quite tall, other sections being half that height, and other sections it appeared that local farmers had bulldozed the wall entirely. Although an impressive wall, it would have been hard to maintain and it had been replaced by a parallel convention fence.

For morning tea we sought refuge from the wind by sitting along the wall. Eating our snacks it was easy to forget just how windy it was above us! Walking on, just when the wind seemed it's worst, it would get even stronger. It wasn't particularly cold, being all rugged up with a scarf and gloves. In the windier sections we couldn't talk to each other much, more or less just shout at each other, and sometimes talk to the person immediately next to you.

The areas around the wall were littered with small quarries dug by hand to source the stones for the wall. For lunch, we were lucky enough to find one such sizeable quarry to get some shelter from the wind. The sun was warm out of the wind, without the wind it would have been a very pleasant day. Apparently this section of the trail was always windy, made worse by the fact that it follows the ridge of the hills, the area not surprisingly been marked for a wind farm.

The walk ended with some road walking, which was pleasant because there was little wind and we could talk to each other.

Tea that night was at a pub in Clare, Brinkleys, I think. A pleasant change from the Burra pub, not only were the staff friendly, but there were plenty of people around in this modern pub, and a more diverse menu. I particularly enjoyed a meal of chicken breast on sweet potato with a pesto and tomato salsa base. Yummo!

I had planned to set up tent in the Clare caravan park, but as Lyn, Nicky and Yvonne had a 5 bed cabin, Jeff and myself joined them. It was nice to stay inside with a bathroom and heater!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Article in Magazine

A copy of the article that I wrote that appeared in the Friends of the Heysen Trail Spring 2006 magazine (full magazine).

Link to read article.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Waitpinga to Tugwell Rd

Complacency. Or apathy. How very Australian of us. Rain. I hadn't even checked the weather forecast. Someone, who I shouldn't name, hadn't even brought wet weather gear. At least I had brought it, but only because I just always did. I never expected to use it. Even when it started to rain, it was just a light drizzle. Oh, it will just cool me down a bit. If I stop to put on my rain jacket it will mean I'm accepting that it's raining. I would rather continue to deny that it was raining. But I finally succumbed, everyone else was wearing theirs, and I was getting rather wet.

The day started off sunny enough. Rudy warned me of rain in the car. Ah whatever. It never rains for us. From about 11am onwards it rained on and off, just a drizzle, sometimes more. We ate lunch in the rain. It wasn't cold, just a little wet. And it wasn't wet, well, not really, just it was wet compared to all our other walks!

Walking along the clifftops, yep, the clifftops I never even knew existed, was spectacular. They just seemed endless, and around every bend they just seemed to get more spectacular. I took few photos at the start, indulging in some conversation with Sue and Michele and Rudy. I hadn't walked with any of them since the first End to End walk. There was much catching up to do! Later, I got distracted, fell behind and walked by myself for a while. There was no one in front of me, and no one behind. I took many photos, but I had missed taking any good photos of the fauna - I hate that word - and the flora. Today was a day filled with strange smells and wild flowers. I took the odd photo of them. I saw others taking better photos. Well, perhaps.

At the point at which the trail departed from the coast and headed inland, I took a few photos, of which one I used for my featured photo below. We spent much of the day walking towards The Bluff and West Island. Anyway, just past this crucial point of no return for the trail, I realised I had probably misread the map. The trail returned to the coast. Oh well, my photo was symbolic, not factual. We ate lunch on the beach. I didn't even know there was a beach there. With some sharper observation skills I could have established that though. It was called King Beach. It was a beautiful beach though, lots of rocks. And rain. Lunch was a much needed break for my very sore left knee, yep, the left one. Not the right one that I had been concerned about all week. That was fine. But my left one was bad. So a little rest, whilst gulping down my lunch in the rain, was very welcome.

Our group was quite well spread out. I hurriedly finished my lunch as the group prepared to walk on. Then the end of our group, those people so far behind me it felt like there was no-one behind me at all, caught up with us. Oops. So the group split, perhaps a little unwisely. The group leaders, and indeed the group, was in a bit of disarray. It was the rain. Blame the rain. As we turned that crucial corner that led the trail at right angles from the coast inland, for the second time, an ambulance waited by the side of the road. "For you?", enquired Sue. Mmm. Should have taken a photo. That was funny. My knee certainly wasn't. Stupid scooter accident has set my progress back more than six weeks.

We wondered why so many people had been standing in the rain in a paddock by a house. Was anyone as stupid as us? Horse riders and the people that follow that... horsies? Yep, they were as keen as us not to let the rain deter them! Later, we saw them jump a hurdle. Well, we could have, if we'd bothered to wait another ten minutes. They took forever to get themselves organised. So we gave up and walked on, they passed us some time later, and we got to see them jump another hurdle instead.

Michele, let it be known, distracted me on our walk along Jagger Road. We passed the trail turn-off, by about 300m. Oops. We backtracked. They all seemed to blame me. What, was I meant to be leading them? Just cos I had a map? That's why I blame Michele. Well, that's not really fair, but I did get some good advice about flying with cheap airlines: turn up on time, or better still, early. Cos they are cheap, they prob overbook. And yes, they really do.

The drive home, and indeed going down there too, was good. Enjoyed the company of Rudy, Margaret, who I met last time on the beach and featured in my beach photo of us wearing no shoes, and her friend Sunny. Sunny, from Taiwan originally, had walked with another bushwalking club, that one I have heard a few negative things about, but found them quick paced, competitive perhaps. I think she really enjoyed walking with us today, at our relaxed walk-at-your-own-pace.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hallett to Dead Cow Quarry

"There are no boring walks on the Heysen Trail," Jerry declared at the start of today's walk. "Just linking walks – they link the more intersting sections". He was right. There weren't many photos to be taken as we turned south after Hallett, and followed some dirt roads shared with the Mawson Trail. It was also one of those walks with very few toilet locations - I mean trees...

We found a spot for lunch, that being the first trees we had seen in a while. There was dispute later as to whether it was a good spot at all, but it was decided that it was a good spot, offering both shady and sunny spots, soft grass to sit on, a fence to lean on, and a panicked sheep stuck away from it's flock. And a smelly water trough.

The rest of the walk was largely uneventful. A landowner had re-used a microwave as their letterbox, Pam deciding that Hotmail had made it's impact out here in the country!

Our walk ended in a disused quarry, with rather amatuerish signs declaring the site was contaminated. We had planned to walk a further 2km to the start of the stone wall, but a festering dead cow was all that was needed for Jerry to decide to end a little short.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Old Mt Bryan East School to Hallett

Well, for one, I think I had pysched myself out. Stepping out of the bus at the old Mt Byran East school, it didn't look so high after all. Climbing to the peak of My Bryan was going to be that hard. Once we had started the ascent, every time I looked up at the radio tower that sat atop the "mount" – can it really be called that – it just suprisingly closer than I had expected.

The walk started with a road walk from the school, past a couple of old ruined houses, one surrounded by beautiful almond blossom. We even chanced upon an old orange tree near a rickecty old windmill. There were a few people brave enough to try a taste, and were rewarded with possibly the worst tasting orange ever.

The views on the climb up were spectacular. The views from the top not quite so spectacular. The weather was good, but it was a little hazy. I think everyone had talked the views up a little. And I couldn't help but recall the truly spectacular views from the top of St Mary's Peak in Wilpena Pound. This just didn't compare! We could see where we had walked over the past few walks from the south, and could also see where Goyder's Line generally lay. The paddocks contrasted with the saltbush and scrub. The drive in the bus had been curious, on one side of the road were crops, on the other saltbush and just nothing. Odd. There was a cairn on the peak, with various plaques commemorating the discovery of the mount and the first European climbers.

The walk down the other side of the "mount" was began with some confusion. We could see for many kilometres around us, but couldn't see where the trail led off the peak. Further down, we passed through a valley with sheep grazing, and they run away from us, each following each other in several lines, as they ran their along their sheep paths. Certainly looked a little bizzare. We "chased" them for several kilometres down onto the plain.

The weather was, once again, just beautiful. No rain, clear, warm sunny days. Apparently farmers have a term for this, they call it "drought". Mmm. Perhaps best not to brag too loudly in the front bar of the Burra Hotel about the fantastic weather conditions for walking.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Balquidder to Waitpinga Beach

Sand. Crashing waves. Sea mist. Salt. Yes, it was the beach. But it didn't feel like it. Something was wrong. Was it the hiking boots and backpack, amongst other hiking gear I was wearing? The cool wind? It felt odd. Nope, the shoes definately had to come off. It was the last stretch to the cars, I could clean my feet off under a tap when I got there. I had only walked about 20 metres onto the beach. Further down, Karen and Marguereta caught up with me, and with little encouragement they had their socks and shoes off too! Definately nice to get the shoes off and feel the sand beneath your toes!

Today's walk was a good one, albeit short. Oh, maybe not short, but quick. 16km, walking down from Balquidder following a dirt track, turning off into grazing land and heading down to the beach along a scenic creek. Following the cliffs, we had lunch on our first beach, with the sun on our backs! The weather was good, no, very good. Rain was forecast, and I awoke very early to the sound of the rain. But it wasn't going to put me off, I decided, as I drifted back to sleep. When we arrived in Waitpinga, the wind was cold, and the sky densely overcast. But those clouds retreated to reveal a beautifully warm sun! Only on the drive home did it rain again. After lunch we walked over another headland to Parsons Beach, and walked along the beach for a couple of kms before rising up to the lookout and carpark, then down again back onto Waitpinga Beach for the walk back to the cars. The cold wind was gone.

Lyn reminded me that it was Jeff's birthday the day before, but I never saw him, I only saw my group, being the first group, and some of the second group - both being a coachload each. <blog edited>.As Herta climbed the steps of the new boardwalk up to the carpark, those of us waiting cheered as she finished her last section of the trail. Moments later, Michelle came up. "Herta's just finished the trail," I said, "well that's a pity, because it's over there," pointing to the older boardwalk some 20 metres walk further on. A magnificent moment enjoyed by all when we held up our trekking poles, well, except me of course, because I had forgotton mine, to form an arch for her to walk through.On Waitpinga Beach stopped to take a photo of the crashing waves by some rocks. Snuck past really. This <blog edited>at Parsons Beach!A fun time back at the carpark, <blog edited>Now I've just got to write that bit I always do, as suggested by my Physio, to note the performance and condition of my knees. Like last walk, they were fantastic. As I said, I had forgotton my trekking poles, realising this when I arrived at the Waitpinga carpark and saw other people with their poles, but I knew it was going to be a fairly easy walk. They are mildly bruised. That's it. Not quite good enough to cycle to work today (Monday), but even still, there has been much improvement! I'm so surprised after the Melbourne experience, just 3 weeks ago.

Mmm. I just realised, when uploading all the finished photos and artwork, that I spelt Balquhidder wrong everywhere... with the one exception of just then...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Caroona Creek to Mt Bryan East

<blog edited>

Today we started walking with me feeling a little disorganised. I had to tape my knees after getting off the bus, because the bus was over-full, so I couldn't stretch out my legs straight to tape my knees. So everyone had to wait while I did some hasty knee taping. <blog edited> Anyway, the walk soon turned good. I had also mistakenly grabbed yesterday's map for today's walk. So I had little idea where we were, just what I could recall from the map. As you can see from the photos, this weekend's scenery was in quite some contrast from the 3 days of last weekend - the bareless hills of the mining town of Burra. This weekend was lots of saltbush interspersed with low trees. Everything looked cool, backdropped by the unknown, the unmarked on our maps, ranges off in the east. <blog edited>Tourilie Gorge was a highlight today. After many of our days of hiking had been heading north and east, after morning tea, we sharp turned westwards to enter this gorge. A gorge soaked in history. History held in time. The settlers on the westward plains, before the railways, had bullocked their produce and supplies through this gorge to the steam paddlers on the river. Their road was still there, built up retaining walls, guard rails on the edges, blasted cuttings, and even old nails from the bullock trays? All the more amazing because this area was so little visited once the railways were established. Abandoned to nature, only to be taken up years later by a hiking trail. Amazing, and it really stood the test of 100 years + of disuse. Most of it was in remarkable condition, the dry wall retaining walls supporting the track in good condition, very few collapses. Even the fence posts and some loose wire forming the guard rails still in place. Carefully routered fence posts. Amazing. Olly found the nails, and even pieces of pottery, amazing stuff! Stumbled across some lovers, and yes, they seemed to be! Their car and double swag layed out, she seemed most awkward about being seen unexpectantly by so many people. Need to do a more interesting lunch in future I think, getting a bit bored of my standard Nutella sandwich and nuts. Fruit is still good, but maybe some celery and carrot sticks with dip? Robin's certainly looked good!

So glad to walk this weekend, really missed not walking at the last End to End 3. <blog edited>

Mt Bryan East School and ruined church were special, we used the combination for the lock from the guidebook. We should have stayed here last night! We, as in Lyn and myself, had discussed it last time. But no-one seemed too enthusiastic. After the walk, which finished by 3pm, we drove off to Hallett to check the accom options there, the pub, or Hallett Railway Station which had been converted to a Heysen Trail hut. John and Julie were also there, and after talking to some locals found an art gallery that would be willing to accommodate us. We are a bit sick of staying in Burra, and if we are prepared to go down for the evening meal, it was a very viable option. Not many others were interested, but Lyn is certainly keen. Hopefully there will be a small group of us there next time! Next weekend we walk up and over Mt Bryan itself, it will be good to walk straight to our place to stay, and not drive for 1/2 an hour.

We stopped off at the Gaslight Tearooms in Burra on the way home, a regular little Burra end-of-walk thing to do now! The scones, which had looked so good, were just too sweet. The drive home was cool, <blog edited> Took a few photos out the car window, oh the shame of it. Well, my cd has ended, and my typing isn't so accurate now, so I shall sign off. <blog edited>