Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Bloody Hot Walk

Bloody hot walk. But we bridged the gap between Mt Crawford Forest and Kapunda, via the Barossa Valley

2 hikes: Pewsey Vale to near Greenock and onwards to Kapunda
Southern Guidebook, Maps 4.2-4.7

Today we did a catch-up walk, or a walk we are yet to miss. Thing is, both Hilary and myself plan to finish the Heysen Trail on August 16 this year at the trailhead at Parachilna Gorge. To do this, we have a few of the End-to-End 3 walks that we need to walk before they do, to ensure we finish the trail at Parachilna Gorge and not late next year at Webb Gap (near Burra). So we have 9 walks to bridge, between where End-to-End 3 finished last year, and where they will finish next year. 3 we will do with End-to-End 3 as scheduled, in May, June and July. The next 3 we did over 2 walks, as detailed here, to Kapunda. I then have to walk from Kapunda to Peters Hill, and then we will join Bev to walk 2 days from Peters Hill to Webb Gap in early May.

So we did these two walks. Although the Heysen Trail is closed, the first walk, and most of the second walk, are open year round because they are in forests, conservation parks or on public roads. We had double checked this with the Department for Environment and Heritage before setting out, but between Boundary Road, just beyond Greenock, and Hankel Creek Road near Kapunda, the trail is definitely over farmland. They might be road reserves, but very much not roads. But we had checked with the DEH and positioned our cars before this became clear.

It was a bloody bloody hot weekend, Saturday was high 30's, and much of the walk was in open sun. The road walking beyond Tanunda was especially harsh with no shade whatsoever. As a result, we set out very early for our Sunday hike, finishing before lunch.

We hiked from the forests of Mt Crawford, over into the spendourly green Baroosa Valley, through the valley into the historic mining town of Kapunda.

View photos as full screen slideshow

  • Distance: 24.9km
  • Start time: 9.17am
  • End time: 2.55pm
  • Moving duration: 4h 26m
  • Stationary duration: 1h 11m
  • Moving average: 5.6km/h
  • Overall average: 4.4km/h

  • Distance: 21.5km
  • Start time: 6.56am
  • End time: 11.38am
  • Duration: 4h 41m
  • Overall average: 4.6km/h

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Head in the Clouds

I'm not sure I noticed much of where we walked today, I was busy talking, except to say that we followed windy ridges, and winding tracks through forests.

Montacute Heights to Cudlee Creek
Southern Guidebook, Maps 3.5-3.7

One of the nice country-gardens in the valley near Cudlee Creek

The change to daylight saving is always a good thing - bring on summer! However, when it coincides with a Sunday hike, maybe not such good timing? Getting up very early after being out last night... mmm... that extra hour of sleep would have been nice...

Yesterday it was 30+ degrees, but with a late change today was cool, overcast and very very windy. Ideal for walking along ridges? Mmm, no. But then we soon descended into a valley, and the rest of the day was fairly sheltered, although the wind occasionally blew strong to remind us of it's presence.

It was the last walk of the hiking season, the Fire Danger Season having been brought forward this year.

View photos as full screen slideshow

  • Distance: 16.5km
  • Start time: 9.57am
  • End time: 2.30pm
  • Moving duration: 3h 22m
  • Stationary duration: 1h 08m
  • Moving average: 4.9km/h
  • Overall average: 3.6km/h

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Quorn to Dutchman's Stern

Meh... I was pretty sore from training for the Trailblazer the previous day.

I'll catch up this weekend walk next year.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hey! You! You weren't at the start!

I took a major shortcut today, avoiding some 13km. Aah, whatever, I just hiked for 5 days, I deserve a shortcut. Plenty of people caught me out, looking rather fresh while they were hot and tired.

Cleland to Montacute Heights
Southern Guidebook, Maps 3.4-3.5

I came back yesterday from hiking the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria, 5 days and 93km. I have an almost-healed blister on my heel, and the bit I short-cutted today I have already done, and will do much more with the upcoming 50km Trailblazer Challenge. So I felt justified in meeting everyone at Norton Summmit, when they had started 13km earlier at Cleland, the finishing point of our last End-to-End 3 hike.

Over the course of the following 15km, people noticed my rather fresh presence, directing various levels of angst against me as we approached the end of the 28km hike. End-to-End 3 has only broken the 20km mark a couple of times in its 12-walks history, so there was plenty of people whinging and moaning. It didn't feel that hard to me, lol. Did anyone care that I thought I would be hiking about 8km? Nope, although my heel blister was well protected, and wasn't aggravated by the extra kms.

We had lunch at the Morialta Barns, something I had skipped when doing the Yurrebilla Trail a little while ago. Took some cool photos here, but didn't take any others for the day.

Finished late today, about 5pm. Warm day, was good. Just for the record, I'm sure I would have loved the full 28km distance anyway, long hiking is cool.

View photos as full screen slideshow

Some cool photos that Robert took can be viewed here.

  • Distance: 15km
  • Moving duration: 3h 06m
  • Stationary duration: 1h 17m
  • Moving average: 4.9km/h
  • Overall average: 3.4km/h
  • Max speed: 31.6km/h ??

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Robyn's Tail-End Charlie duty

Just a few hundred metres before the cars, we assigned Robyn the honourary position of Tail-End Charlie. It was tough, she had to deal with people threatening to jump off bridges and people tripping.

Mt Brown Creek to Woolshed Flat
Northern Guidebook, Maps 3.7-3.8

Robyn finished the Heysen Trail with this hike. She had joined the End-to-End 1 group in Quorn back in 2005, as they headed northwards to the end of the Heysen Trail. So as we neared the end of today's hike, we assigned her the position of Tail-End Charlie - the person who ensures no-on is left behind. As we walked under the road bridge near the cars, Tony and Dawn joined us to cheer Robyn on.

Thinking perhaps someone might challenge her achievement - you know who you are - in regards to an incident that took place beyond Burra, when after following a fence along treeless hills, up and down, we found ourselves in a valley where we had to hike up a hill, turn 90 degrees and return down the hill. A few of us, including myself, Robyn and George Adams, decided to shortcut along a creek, thereby avoiding this seemingly pointless hill. That night, George was given such a hard time about it, that in the following days he drove back out there, and climbed up this hill. So, back to today, Robyn was prepared for someone - we know who we are - to challenge her on this. So pulled out her scissors, and just nipped off one of the corners of her certificate.

I really enjoyed today's hike, it was one of the best I've had this year. The day started with a 3km hike from the cars, parked near a homestead (by the gracious permission of the owner), to where we left the Heysen Trail the previous day. It was quite warm, but we had a quick shower of rain. Hiking towards the ominous Mt Brown, we came across a farmer and his family at a shed adjacent the trail. He'd been tipped off that we would be passing by, we had a plaque to erect adjacent a water tank that had been paid for by the End-to-End 1 group. Apparently, during that hike in May of 2005, David Beaton had come across this farmer working hard at erecting a shed. After some interrogation (as the farmer put it), it was agreed that when the shed was complete a tank could be installed that would serve the needs of the farmer, the CFS and hikers. So today we presented the plaque. To Bill's disappointment, it was not to be mounted today, that would wait until the farmer had erected a new fence. Bill didn't need to carry that cordless drill today after all...

Hiking up Mt Brown was a challenge, not the least because we wandered a little off the trail. It was steep, but the views though were the best I have ever seen on the Heysen Trail - stunning!

Lunch at the summit was well deserved. Bill and I set off with my new GPS unit to find a geocache, which we didn't find with the GPS at all, but with Bill's instinct (url cache details and comments).

Hiking back down from Mt Brown we followed in the dust trail Graham left, glimpsing his shadow in the far distance when we rounded corners. The hike down was easy, the gradient and track was very different to the hike up from the south side - it was gentle gradients, zig-zagging down (or up?), and the track was clearly marked with signs every 200 metres.

The last 6kms or so was following Waukarie Creek back to Woolshed Flat. Very pleasant.

I tried a new technique with my GPS unit, fixing it to the top of my pack, so it was lying flat. Apparently it has superior reception like this (the same way you would hold it to read it), and indeed the map tracking was flawless today.

And on a personal note, these blog enties will probably take a little longer to appear in future, I resigned from my job today, taking up a new job with the marketing company Adcorp - promising to be much busier!

View photos as full page slideshow

More detailed stats now with my GPS unit.

  • Distance: 19.9km
  • Moving average: 4.4km/h
  • Moving duration: 4h 35m
  • Stationary duration: 2h 44m

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bed at 5 minutes to 8

It must have been a tough day. Everyone had left the pub by 5 minutes to 8, most heading straight off to bed.

Horrocks Pass to Mt Brown Creek
Northern Guidebook, Maps 3.5-3.7

We had a couple of newbies, Hayden and Michelle from Roxby. I think they really enjoyed it, but it was a lot tougher than I think most of us thought it would be. Up and down hills, some really good views, mostly following a fire track and fence. Blisters and knee problems finished Hayden and Michelle off though, perhaps they'll come back for next month? It's relatively close to home (nothing much is close to Roxby Downs...).

We came across a visitor's book near the top of Cudmore Hill, and found the entry that End-to-End 1 had left whilst passing by in 2005.

I tried out my new GPS unit today, but when I downloaded the maps later back at the Backpackers in Quorn, there were two significant areas of about 3km each where the GPS had difficulty tracking, resulting in a crazy almost random seeming map.

We finished back at the cars late in the day, so were treated to some very warm sunset lighting. The end of today's hike was inaccessible by car, but the owners of the Broadview property had graciously allowed us to park on their property, but we still had to hike 3km off of the trail to our cars.

We were based in Quorn this weekend, many of us electing to stay at Andu Backpacker's Lodge, an old converted hospital. About 60 beds, and 3 showers... mmm... Basic but comfortable. We were all awoken (as was the rest of the town) at 5.10am by a 5 minute blast of the fire siren - very loud - with the associated sound of people, trucks and water pumps.

Tea at the Austral pub (one of Quorn's 5 pubs?) was ok, meals were smallish, especially after our big hike. We had to preorder our meals in the morning, and obviously that extended to dessert too, because we didn't pre-order that and they ran out of ice cream. Ice cream is so hard to keep... we enjoyed some wine care of Tony and Robyn, celebrating Robyn's impending completion of the Heysen Trail tomorrow.

View photos in full screen slideshow

More detailed stats now with my GPS unit.

  • Distance: 19.8km
  • Moving average: 4.4km/h
  • Moving duration: 4h 30m
  • Stationary duration: 2h 20m

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Please Miss, when can I finish?

When can I finish this stupid trail so I can travel the world? Morroco beckons... a moment of frustration when viewing friends OS photos - and they are still over there! I think I have more friends OS than I do here... China, Scotland, UK, Canada... the list goes on.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Teacher Graham's Rules & Regulations

Today's fast group was led by teacher Graham. He set a fast pace, awarding negative and positive points as we went, but by what rules were these points being awarded?

Mylor to Cleland
Southern Guidebook, Maps 3.2-3.4

Graham led his first walk at an amazing pace. After an hour's hiking we brought to his attention the silence that had descended upon the group. We were all getting tired hiking so fast! Even though Hilary was punished with having to write out lines, she was later awarded positive points! Did I get any? No! We awarded him 2.5 strikes for leading us astray two and a half times... seriously though, he's a natural. He promises to specify the rules & regs in future...

It was a surprisingly good hike, looking at the map it was through residential areas, much of it along roads. But there was little road walking, along most roads there were trails following parallel to the roads, although seemingly far from the road. So we were treated to many special little places.

Some intriging history stuff today, or so I found out after google'ing it later. The photo below shows a tunnel under a main railway. So what, you say? Notice the steel pipe at the top of the photo just beyond the tunnel, and stonework beyond that (top left of photo). That steel pipe - it's cast iron from the 1880's, and with the stone abutment, formed part of a large bridge that crossed Cox Creek, I think it was "filled-in" in the 1920's. Compare to the photo from 1885, see? I presume the method of building up an earth embankment beneath a 4-span bridge that needed strengthening would result in very little disruption and cost compared to building a new bridge and associated earthworks beside an existing bridge. Once the earth embankment was built up to within a metre or so of the bottom of the bridge span, the span could be removed and the rest of the earth built up and the tracks relaid, presumably very quickly.

The photo below shows the millrace that fed water from the dam on Cox Creek to the Bridgewater Mill. The millrace is immediately to the right of the path, in the form a concrete culvert (but not clear in photo, I just thought it was a gutter). Of course the millrace had to be on a slight incline, and obviously involved lots of earthworks in it's construction. Apparently (thanks Google), there was a village further upstream, but the mill was built downstream. The Mt Barker road was re-routed in the 1850's through what is now Bridgewater so a town grew there instead. The Mill built a new dam in 1870, but within a year the dam wall collapsed and washed away the village. More info.

The hike to the summit was tough, ascending some 200 metres in a short distance, but it felt good to reach such a milestone - from Cape Jervis in April last year to the landmark of Mt Lofty now.

I was eager to get a cover shot for the next Trailwalker mag, so I subjected people to various photos which will tee up End-to-End 3 reaching Mt Lofty Summit with the recent Sea to Summit hike.

Michele brought along an old school friend, Ros, and her daughter Jo, who are visiting from Scotland. Ros was particularly concerned about today's hike - it's toughness and length. I'm don't think Michele had been entirely honest with her about the length of the hike, gradually easing her into the idea over the week. As it turned out, the hike was only 16.5km, not the 19km it purported to be. And both really enjoyed the hike, despite the warm weather.

  • Distance: 16.5km
  • Hike duration: 5 hours
  • Weather: 25 degrees, clear

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Spectacular Views

Alligator Gorge Road to Horrocks Pass
Northern Guidebook, Maps 3.3-3.5

Spectacular views from the top of the unofficially named Lavender Peak. Named in honour of Terry Lavender, architect of the Heysen Trail. The Friends of the Heysen Trail applied to the Geographic Board to have it named so, but apparently current practice is not to name features after people. There was a cairn there, so people added some rocks.

Some bush-bashing out, we headed down the steep hill to Stony Creek Camp. From here, the spectacular finished, we exited Mt Remarkable National Park. My knee was quite sore, so I was glad of the flat terrain.

We hiked along a fire track beside a pleasant creek, then followed a bitumen road and some other road reserves. Near our lunch stop we could see Horrock's Pass in the distance.

The last 4km was following the bitumen road through Horrocks Pass. Not very interesting, walking on bitumen roads, but apparently the last bitumen road walking. Cant overstate how good that would be!

  • Distance: 14km
  • Hike time: 10am (??) to 2pm
  • Clear, but cool, 15 degrees maybe

View map in full screen mode

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The End

Melrose to Alligator Gorge Road
Northern Guidebook, Maps 3.1-3.3

No, not my end. Lyn and Helen finished the Heysen Trail today. Previously it has also been the end of people hiking the Heysen Trail - meaning it was so tough they gave up. Also, my end of the Heysen Trail is now in sight, with a detailed itinerary released today for next year's two weeks away, so I will finish the trail in August (2008).

It was a tough hike, harder than the Sea-to-Summit hike of a few weeks ago, climbing up to the summit of Mt Remarkable, then on to the road that leads into Alligator Gorge. The hike to the summit wasn't hard, 7km long but gently winding it's way up, but the 16km after that was tough!

Lyn marks the final section off on her map

Also, the end of the trail is now in sight for me. I was to have completed 50.25% (let's call it 50%!) of the Heysen Trail after tomorrow's hike. But I was told the Heysen Trail was 1,197km long when last officially measured (re-routes would have varied that a little, give and take) around 2000 or so. I thought it was last officially measured at 1,144km... so this weekend I was to hike from 47% to 50% complete... but now with that new info, after Sunday's hike it would be just 48% complete. That may not sound too close to the end, but it is now just 1 year until I will complete the trail. Jerry handed around a detailed itinerary for our two weeks away next year (2008), one week's hiking in June, and another in August. So with the rest of the scheduled hikes for this year, a few extras, and the End-to-End 3 hikes between April and August, I will finish the Heysen Trail at Parachilna Gorge in August. Yay! That's not really so far away, heh?

As today was a long, tough hike, we started at 7am from Melrose, opting to get the bus to return us to Melrose at the end of the day. As it was, the 23km took us until 4.30pm to complete. I enjoyed starting early, we got to enjoy those few wonderful hours in the morning as the sun rose, with superb photos of Mt Remarkable and views over Melrose on the hike up to the summit. I needed to get a cover photo for the upcoming Trailwalker, so I took lots of portrait shaped photos on the hike up to the summit. Maybe I have something. I should really think more about these things in the three months leading up to each Trailwalker.

We walked across a few areas of screed, a nice word for rock fall really. Huge areas had succumbed to rock falls, but were relatively stable - if you can believe it - when a path had been flattened out across it. On one particularly large area, the sound underfoot was unsettlingly hollow. I stepped just off the edge of the flattened path to take a potential Trailwalker cover photo, and oh my goodness, it was very unstable just off the path. It's a wonder that the path is safe. It was in this section we also saw the remains of a light aircraft that had crashed on the mountain in heavy fog whilst descending to Port Pirie from Broken Hill. Everyone was so callous, they didn't even check the wreckage for survivors! What if this crash had happened just last night? Of course it hadn't, the wreckage has been there since the 1970's. I gather that the plane wreckage has been slowly moving it's way down this rock slide, breaking up more and more over time.

There were some very steep sections after the summit, one down a sharp valley and back up the other side. Magnificent views along Spring Creek through Webbs Cutting.

People had left their marks on the water tank at the Summit Camp, but at Grays Hut we found much older marks. There on one of the few remains of the original hut, on the stone chimney, people had scratched their names. Grays Hut is very new and clean, with a nice outside area.

Nearing the end of the hike, we faced this incredible hill, but were relieved to hear we didn't need to climb all the way to the top! Several kilometres on, at the road to Alligator Gorge, Lyn and Helen finished the trail. We had to hike a further one kilometre up the road to meet the bus, but were elated at the sight of the bus coming down the road. Apparently the driver thought it was too steep for the bus, but came out anyway! The next morning we got to see how steep it was when were driven back to our end spot for that day's hike, as the bus slowly laboured up the hills.

Read another's account (a Tale of Adventure, Exhaustion and Sheep) of hiking to the summit and beyond.

  • Distance: 23km
  • Hike time: 7.20am to 4.20pm
  • Clear, 25 degrees (maybe)

View map in full screen mode

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Up the Creek

Dashwood Gully Road to Mylor
Southern Guidebook, Maps 2.10-3.2

I missed out on the fast group this time, I was about 3 people onto the second bus - bummer! Hilary knew that myself and a couple of others would be suffering for missing out on the first bus, and hence hiking in the fast group. But as the first hiking group of the second bus (there were two buses, 2 hiking groups on each bus) though we overtook the second group of the first bus (are you following this, we went from 3rd position to 4th position) by morning tea. A few of us plotted how to reach and overtake the 1st group - the fast group. We didn't think it likely, but inadvertently we did it! It took us quite by surprise! The fast group had ducked off on a short seven hundred metre spur trail to Rocky Hut for their morning snack. Meanwhile, we snuck past them! We didn't keep the lead, but I did defect from my group to the fast one.

Some interesting discussions about teachers returning to their first day of school term tomorrow - the students teachers were looking forward to seeing again and those they feared - and discussions about the Kokoda Track. I didn't want to join the hike cos it seems like such a tough trek, but Simon had an excellent point, we have that idea primarily because of firstly the soldiers, almost legendary, and secondly because it gets so much publicity from people who hike it but who aren't hikers. They just aren't used to hiking. Sure, it's tropical, that can be difficult for us southern Australians, it's no walk in the park, but the days are relatively short, and being tropical the pack loads relatively light. So now if I could just convince myself to spend to $4,000 I'm there. But then... my car broke down this morning and I already know it needs at least $1,000 spent on it... puts a dent in my savings so maybe no Kokoda Track for me. I'm not trying to convince you - I'm trying to convince myself (do I want to go? Do I not? Spend $4,000 on this adventure of another?)

So today's hike? Mmm. We bid farewell to Kuitpo Forest, and Mt Lofty summit looms closer - near the end of the next month's hike. Jupiter Creek was cool, the Heysen Trail passes through an old mining tunnel, that's pretty cool. You need a torch, a mobile phone doesn't suffice. Trust me, I tried. But I have been through it before, in April this year, and the Jupiter Creek Diggings in general, you can read about it here.

You might wonder why I named this blog entry "Up the Creek"... well, basically when I walked around here back in March, I marked it in my Southern Guidebook on the relevant map. When someone saw it today, my messy hand writing being what it is, they read "Jupiter Creek" as "Up the Creek". Fair enough I s'pose.

  • Distance: 21km
  • Hike Time: I have no idea (time's not my thing)

Note added on August 7: if you'd like to read a fellow hiker & blogger's account of a remarkably similar hike... visit Hiking Sticks

View map in full screen mode

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No-one could eat that steak?!?

Here is some photos Hilary sent me. It should be noted that she did not eat all her steak, indeed she barely touched it... wasting resources just harms the environment... tsk tsk. Although Hilary would allege it was me who wouldn't share (I didn't order it!)

Yes, the plate is a full 30cm plate, which makes the steak about 'this big' (holding out hands at arms length...)

Melrose welcomes the cyclists and hikers

I look retarded, but apparently the incident at the time got the thumbs up

Fame and fortune, author photographed with the celebrities (who are still awaiting their fortune)

Check out the cover of this little book

New Blog for 'Off the Trail' Hikes

I've decided to put all my Off the Trail experiences onto a separate blog, to ensure this blog remains dedicated just to The Heysen Trail. I expect to be doing some extra hiking now off the Trail, here and interstate. I guess it shows a transition that has taken place for me, from just hiking the Heysen Trail to now exploring hiking trails elsewhere too.

New blog link:

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Robyn's Three Hour Walk

Murray Town to Melrose
Northern Guidebook, Maps 2.9-2.11

Robyn had other plans today, so she came up early on Friday and did this hike. It took her just three hours. At the end of the hike it started raining and she only had to run a very short distance to make it to the cover of a shopfront in the main street of Melrose. Groups take longer than one person to hike a distance, but even still, we thought this would be a short walk. But as it turned out, on the Saturday when we parked the cars at the end of Saturday's hike, to hike back to them, she discovered she had started at the wrong spot - about 4-5km north, at a point that was earlier planned to be the start of the hike. So although our hike would be short today, it wasn't going to be super short.

We've been seeing Mt Remarkable looming in the distance now for the past six hikes, today we hiked to it's base. It rises very dramatically against the plains that surround the eastern and southern sides of it.

At the end of the day we missed a trail marker when hiking into Melrose, following the map instead, missing out on passing this wonderful old building in a back street.

  • Distance: 17km
  • Terrain: Mostly flat, mostly roads, some farmlands
  • Hiking time: 4 hours something approx

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ruined Houses and Old Road Reserves

Block Nine Road (Wirrabara Forest) to Murray Town
Northern Guidebook, Maps 2.7-2.9

Today we bid farewell to Wirrabara Forest, heading up and out of the valley and across the plains towards the dramatic backdrop of Mt Remarkable.

Lots of old road reserves and ruins today - roads set out close together with small blocks. Extracts from a monument at the long defunct Murphy Town explain it well:

The widespread surveying of Homestead Leases or Workingman's Blocks took place during the 1880's and 1890's to increase the population of rural areas and assist workers to provide for their families. Most blocks were about 20 acres and many were spread throughout the district. More than 100 blocks were surveyed...

The purpose of the Blocks was to provide enough land to enable working men to grow fruit and vegetables, some grain crops, keep a cow or two and some poultry...

However, by the 1930's a combination of factors had brought about the demise of these Workingmen's communities. The spread of the rail system enabled the distribution of fruit from earlier ripening irrigation areas into the district and increased mechanisation of farming caused the loss of a large part of the casual labour market. So the Blockers and their families moved elsewhere to find work.

What was interesting about the homes was that they were clearly all built a long time ago and abandoned at a similar time, left untouched since. There was a high incidence of ruins which indicated that the rear of the house, that being the lean-to flat-roofed section, was build first, the front wall of the house consisting of a central door and no windows. This would have been to allow the construction of the more formal front two rooms of the house later, with a gabled or hip roof and verandah. It expresses the hope and dreams the settlers placed in their land, and that the land failed to meet these expectations.

Robyn carried her umbrella today, after Leonie introduced her "hiking" umbrella last month. She didn't need it, it only rained a few brief moments. Jerry confiscated it at one point, after a light shower had started. Tut tut. The Walk Leader with an umbrella... this should be reported to the higher hiking authorities...

  • Distance: 17km
  • Terrain: Mostly roads, mostly flat/undulating
  • Hiking time: Approx 5 hours

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ocean Over the Sand Dunes?

Kyeema Conservation Park to Dashwood Gully Road
Southern Guidebook, Maps 2.8-2.10

Lots of forest today. Or perhaps more accurately, what was once forest. Now people live in that forest, sleep on it, and put their trail marker signs on it. What I mean is felled forests, the timber long gone and made into building materials and products, all that was left were some stumps, a few areas of fresh plantings, and lots of sandy tracks. Climbing a couple of undulations - yes undulations, not hills - it was so sandy it felt like we would reach the top and see the ocean and smell the salt air. Alas, no ocean to be seen.

We saw forest too, the living variety rather than the cleared. Today we mainly followed tracks through the forests. We did see a hot dog stand. Seriously. Out there in the boonies, amongst the forest trees, on a wide track. Yep. Oh, but to be more accurate, there were many campers around it, and horses, cars, horse floats and so forth. A weekend horse riding event of some sort.

I've graduated to the fast group. I think my friends in the second group are upset. I don't think they will accept me back now. I've never walked in the fastest group in End-to-End 3 before, I don't know why particularly, just that I didn't during 2006, so I didn't think to in 2007. But of course, now I well know, without any knee probs and with improved hiking and general fitness, fast is my style. Just to let you guys on the outer in, with 100ish people on this walk - indeed 120 today - this allows for that 120 to be divided into 4-5 smaller manageable groups. They all set off at different times, so they can stay separate. So obviously, a fast group is sent forth first. Today, we had about 15 in our group, and we set a good pace. But it was an easy walk, 19.5km, with almost no hills whatsoever. Seriously, a couple of mild undulations, but not hills. We were done by 1.45pm.

  • Distance: 19.5km
  • Time: 4.5 hours or thereabouts
  • Gradient: flat
  • Terrain: mostly tracks, some sandy