There are few things in this world that would make me backtrack along an already conquered section of trail at an ungodly hour of the morning; Mt Arden's sweeping views are one of them.
I couldn’t get enough of Mt Arden. Despite a tortuously early alarm, the unrelenting wind and my complete exhaustion, I simply had to witness the view from the prodigious mountain summit one last time before I continued toward Eyre Depot. The simple fact being, I may never have the opportunity to see these panoramic scenes again; not to mention at sunrise on a crystal clear winter’s morning.
Daily Diary – Day 10
I awoke bleary-eyed after three mammoth days along the trail, including Day 9’s elevated expedition to the 844 metre peak of Mt Arden. I threw on every item of excess clothing I hadn’t already worn to bed, cooked and stored my porridge in my day pack and trudged back up the track.
The wind had increased significantly overnight and it buffeted my diminishing frame as soon as I left the campsite’s sheltered gully. As a result, my already shaky footsteps through the dimly lit saltbush were even more cautious. The sun hadn’t yet crept over the horizon, but I could already distinguish the rangy hilltops sprawled out in front of me. When the light finally spilled over the distant mountains, the entire valley glittered gold.
I continued to get whacked by the cold, blustery conditions on my journey to the summit, but it didn’t stop me from unpacking all of my camera equipment and setting up time-lapse videos of the climbing sun. The rain jacket I had worn for added warmth flapped ferociously in the wind and, at some point throughout the morning, my camera lens cap catapulted from my pocket and down one of the steep slopes, never to be found again. An unfortunate casualty for the greater photography good.
Other than a few sticky slopes, Day 10’s short 12-kilometre hike was super straightforward. But, as always when hiking, there was a leveller. I’m not sure if this section of the trail was to blame, or the fact I hadn’t showered in several days, but a flock of fearless flies joined me for the day. They were relentless.
The wind that almost blew me off the top of Mt Arden during the morning’s backtrack returned when I arrived at the Eyre Depot Campsite and began setting up my tent. The whipping dust wreaked havoc with my tent and belongings, but I knew I only was only a day’s walk from a washing machine, a deep-fried dinner and the town of Quorn.
All the details.
Trail distance covered
The region has hot dry summers with cool to cold nights and cool, wet winters. Autumn and spring can be warm and mild with occasional periods of rain or showers.
Other than a couple of steepish slopes (and an unnecessary hike back toward Mt Arden) the terrain in this section is relatively straightforward, but beware, flies will follow you.