Night one was cold. No, it was freezing. Nay, it was glacial.
I woke up early on Day 2, eager to knock off some quick kilometres, but was ‘greeted’ with an icy film covering my tent; not ideal for a quick getaway, especially as my hands were frozen stiff. There was one incredibly warming source of inspiration, however; the Heysen Range was glowing bright red in the morning light.
Daily Diary – Day 2
Today, everything was ‘Heysen’. From the name of that vibrant sierra, to the lookout I stumbled upon at which Sir Hans sat and painted the Three Sisters of Aroona back in 1927, to a fortuitous run-in with 40+ other Friends of the Heysen Trial hikers at Trezona Campground.
The Aroona Hut (now a ruin) was built in the 1920’s, and was used by Hans Heysen as a base for his many painting trips to this region.
Heysen Trail Map Sheet 8
I felt in sync with the trail, although my body still needed a little more convincing. Due to continuing issues with my water bladder from Day 1, I had to cradle the leaky mess in my arms and couldn’t utilise my hiking poles. Consequently, my back, legs and butt were in a world of pain when I finally made it to Yanyanna Hut, on the outskirts of the Bunyeroo Valley, later that evening.
Besides the breathtaking, high altitude views throughout the first half of the day, my highlight was picking the brains of some fellow hikers who were nearing the end of their journey on the trail. A majority of the group were only two days away from completing the entire trek; the relief of their faces was palpable as they marched into camp with their poles held high.
I had the opportunity to have a chat to these hearty hikers over lunch and pick their brains on the trail and exactly how I was going to get through the next two months. ‘Just enjoy the experience’ was the main advice, ‘you’ll never get a chance to do it again’.
To commit to something for 6 years, albeit it on and off, is an enormous undertaking. I can only imagine the tight-knit bonds this group must have created over this time; an experience completely contrasting to the one I was about to go through. That is the life of a solo-hiker. Next stop, Wilpena Pound.
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.
This is the first section along those famous ranges. The undulating hills kicked in straight away and my legs and hips didn’t know what hit them when I finally made it to camp that night. Thankfully, there is a ‘relatively’ flat stretch between Trezona Campground and Yanyanna Hut that softened that impending blow.