Boy, did my body need a break.
I received my fair share of advice before commencing the Heysen Trail. Some tips were extremely helpful, others seemed a little nutty. Some suggestions single-handedly pulled me through each day, others I completely ignored. There was one particularly unfavourable piece of guidance, however, that I decided to put into practice; hike every day, even rest days. Despite my back, legs and the fluffy quilt at the Mount Remarkable Hotel Motel urging me to stay in bed, I understood my aching body would respond quicker if I stretched out my weary limbs on an early morning stroll. Fortunately, there may be no better place in the world for a ‘reluctant hike’ than the route I had already covered on Day 16.
Daily Diary – Day 17
The short trek to the lookout, part way up Mount Remarkable, was simultaneously effortless and gruelling. While my legs quickly warmed in the early morning air, my mind, knowing I could still be nestled between soft sheets, didn’t appreciate the ‘unnecessary’ exercise. Why would anybody put their aching body through this needless activity?
My mood improved rapidly, however, when the glow from the morning sun hit my face and illuminated the surrounding district. The steady breeze rustled through the mallee trees and the various songbirds found their voice once they located a stable branch. At that exact moment, I realised I didn’t see enough sunrises. Why wouldn’t anybody not put their aching body through this needless activity?’
The town of Melrose and the neighbouring Willochra Plain continued to glitter gold until a stiff wind and a cluster of menacing clouds rolled into view. The weather was turning. This change, plus an audibly rumbling belly, motivated me enough to make the journey back down the mountain in search of delicious bakery goods. After eating porridge for breakfast almost exclusively over the past two and a half weeks, I didn’t need much encouragement.
Breakfast, second breakfast, morning tea, and brunch all came and went before I met up again with my mates Alex and Celia. After losing my rain jacket on Day 15, I had, miraculously, stumbled on a replacement on Day 16. These two legends generously donated their spare jacket to the cause; I promised them hugs, several beers when I made it back to Adelaide and my eternal gratitude. The miracle was complete.
Melrose has established itself a hub for the biking community with tourists travelling from the far corners of the world to see what this beautiful town has to offer.
The rest of the day was spent eating anything I could get my hands on, catching up with another old mate, and now local, Chelsea, plus completing an interview on ABC regional radio. Before heading to bed that night, I checked the weather for Day 18. It looked wet, windy and wild. The extra carbs in my belly would, hopefully, be enough to anchor my withered frame to the trail.
All the details.
Trail distance covered
0km (Rest Day)
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.