I may have lost more than my marbles.
I ended Day 15 with a conundrum; my rain jacket had gone rogue. I combed Gray’s Hut and the surrounding paddocks for signs of a crumpled heap of water-repellant fabric, but my search was in vain. While there had been little rain on the trail so far, the 4-day forecast looked ominous. I had to find a replacement urgently, or risk developing hyperthermia in the upcoming unruly weather. I hoped Melrose, the oldest settlement in the Flinders Ranges, would come to my rescue on Day 16; first, I had to scale the appropriately-named Mount Remarkable.
Heysen Trail Diary – Day 16
Other than a sharp, sweaty ascent over the first hour of the morning, the remainder of the day tilted pleasantly downhill. A cloudless blue sky and a gentle soothing breeze further aided my circumnavigation of the lofty peak. So, as concerned as I was for my missing jacket, my mind remained fixated on the astonishing sky-high scenery.
Mount Remarkable lies within the area of the Nukunu Aboriginal Tribe. The Nukunu name for the mountain was Wangyarra – ’arra’ meaning running water.
The scenic stretch through Mount Remarkable National Park included the most diverse range of wildlife I’d seen on the Heysen Trail. Grey kangaroos, echidnas, emus, blue-tongued lizards, an enormous variety of birdlife and a smattering of grazing sheep were all out enjoying the sunny winter’s day.
My head had cleared and my troubles had eased. The only challenge I faced was the unpredictable rocky terrain that shifted beneath my boots. But boy, the cascading scree formations created a unique viewing platform.
I soon arrived in Melrose, checked into the iconic Mount Remarkable Hotel Motel and collapsed on my soft fluffy bed. I rechecked my messages. Over the past few days, as my phone reception clicked back into gear, I received several messages from an old mate, Alex. He, and his girlfriend Celia, were hiking in the region and wanted to know if I was interested in a schnitzel dinner. It goes without saying, of course! But first, I had an urgent engagement with a washing machine.
What followed was a night of in-depth conversation, some well-earnt beers, another glorious chicken parmy (yes, I have an addiction) and a ‘trail miracle’. During our chat, I mentioned that I had lost my rain jacket. As it would happen, they had packed a spare that they had owned for several years but never worn and very kindly offered it to me. Of all the random luck… rain jacket conundrum solved! Legends!
Since departing Quorn on Day 12, every inch of the undulating trail had drained my energy. From transversing lengthy ranges to navigating National Parks, to clambering over mountaintops; the path was beyond epic and my legs were feeling the brunt of the journey. By the time I finished Day 16, my body was, quite literally, aching for a break. Thankfully, I had organised a rest day, complete with napping and fattening, in Melrose on Day 17.
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.
The mornings’ sweaty climb is almost immediately worth the effort; there is a stunning view from the other side of the mountain. Foreworn your ankles about the unstable rocks.