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.