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