Sunday, May 11, 2008

OCD of the Heysen Trail variety

I remember being told when I first starting hiking the trail, "you'll become obsessed with it you know, you'll plan your life around these weekends". Naturally, I didn't believe them, but now, it's what I tell others. They don't mention the highlighters though, the obsessive need to colour in where you have hiked, and to hike every last section of the trail so it can be coloured-in in the map books.

Peters Hill to South Tothill Ranges (Saturday)
South Tothill Ranges to Webb Gap (Sunday)

Southern Guidebook, Maps 5.4-5.7

This was one of those hikes, a catch-up hike, but not one we have missed yet. Put simply, End-to-End 3 will finish at Webb Gap in October, but I want to have hiked the entire trail when I finish at Parachilna Gorge on 16 August this year. So there are a few of the End-to-End 3 hikes I need to have completed prior to August, this being one of them.

It was two years ago, to the weekend, that I started with the End-to-End 2 group on the journey north, from Webb Gap. And it was here, on Sunday, that the gap between the End-to-End 3 group and End-to-End 2 group have been closed. I've got three walks to complete with End-to-End 3, in late May, late June and late July. And I have one walk from Kapunda to Peters Hill, and one final walk down south near Inman Valley - five walks in total I need to complete before August.

The Saturday hike was fairly ordinary, lots of road walking, although we had fun times. Hilary is in the same situation as myself, and the others had missed this walk earlier.

Saturday night we stayed in the caravan park in Riverton, a four-cabin caravan park. We booked all four cabins so the owners must have got the bubbly out on Saturday night. Meanwhile we ate tea at the Riverton Central pub, pretty average food, but a nice warm fire and cold beer.

Sunday morning we were treated to some surreal sights. As we drove across one valley into the next, dense fog filled the further valley and poured over in the one we were in. So cool to see, I have no idea why fog would form so densely in one valley but not the adjacent valley. This was nothing though to what we saw later, in the valley with the fog the sun rose and as it started to break up the fog it revealed a wave of fog dense fog that still lingered over the South Tothill Ranges. As the valley cleared completely of fog, the ranges looked like a wave of fog crashing on the valley floor - the ranges couldn't be seen at all.

During the car shuffle, we left six of the group standing the in fog, in the cold, with the sun still behind the dense fog, as we drove in our heated cars to the end of the walk and back (to leave three cars at the end, and one at the start).

Sunday's hike was quite unlike the previous day's hike, there were no road this time, just fire tracks. It was eerie to hike over and through the South Tothill Ranges in the dense fog, as those in front of us disappeared into the fog. By mid morning from the top of a hill we got the occasional glimpse through the passing fog to the valley below.

View photos as full screen slideshow


  • Distance: 17.6km
  • Start time: 9.10am
  • End time: 2.05pm
  • Moving duration: 3h 23m
  • Stationary duration: 1h 09m
  • Moving average: 5.2km/h
  • Overall average: 3.9km/h
  • Max speed: 9.4km/h
  • Distance: 17.1km
  • Start time: 8.30am
  • End time: 2.00pm
  • Moving duration: 3h 39m
  • Stationary duration: 1h 51m
  • Moving average: 4.7km/h
  • Overall average: 3.3km/h
  • Max speed: 10.6km/h

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