Undoubtedly the best sunset view I've ever experienced.
My physical appearance had undergone some fairly noticeable transformations since setting off on Day 1, but it took me until the night of Day 12 to realise my body had also experienced significant internal changes. When I hit the hay, after being wined and dined by the delightful caretaker at Pichi Richi Park, I suffered a severe case of the sweats. It later dawned on me, over the past 2 weeks I had sweated out all of the toxins from my body; I simply wasn’t used to having alcohol in my system. I’d have to keep a close eye on further boozy nights throughout the rest of the trail.
Daily Diary – Day 13
Due to my stunted sleep, my legs felt extra wobbly when I eventually rolled out of bed the next morning. I slowly packed up my bag, chewed through my microwaved porridge (I know, what a luxury) and leisurely wandered around the retreat grounds. I didn’t want to leave this scenic spot, but the imposing Mount Brown was calling. However, I first had to ascend another high range, dip down into a gully and navigate the rocky Waukarie Creek.
The lookout at Mt Brown commemorates Robert Brown, who was the naturalist aboard Matthew Flinders’ Investigator.
By the time I made it into Mount Brown Conservation Park I had sweated out what was left of the previous nights’ Chardonnay. The windless conditions and the overgrown scrub made for muggy conditions in this dense, but beautiful, woodland. While the view from the Mount Brown summit might receive all the plaudits, the winding road to the top was just as impressive, particularly when the setting sun is doing its thing in the background.
I glimpsed the regions’ famous jagged ranges between the dense clusters of sugar gums on the ascent to the 964-metre high summit. But once I made it to the top, the entire rippling landscape came into view. At this towering height, I could distinguish the familiar coastline of the Yorke Peninsula far into the distance. The flickering lights of nearby Port Augusta had begun to sparkle, which created a striking contrast to the softening glow of the vanishing sun. It was like staring at a super fancy Google Maps.
I must have sat and gawked at this inspirational backdrop for 15 minutes before I realised my arms were starting to freeze. The threadbare shirt, I had soaked through on the ascent, had quickly turned to ice as the pulsating heat from the day had all but dissipated.
By the time I’d sent the drone up, snapped a number of panoramic shots and threw on my warm clothing, the horizon had swallowed up the sun. It had become staggeringly cold and I had to get back on the trail. After an hour navigating a steep downward slope in the dark, I reached Catninga Shed; my starting point for a draining Day 14.
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.
While some of the trail followed smooth flat tracks, other sections lead to steep mountain climbs. A mixed day, but boy were my feet happy when I kicked off my boots that night.