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.

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