After what felt like an eternity, I was back walking along the Heysen Trail.

24 hours marooned at the Go-Cart Track Shelter on Day 20 was enough inactivity for my ‘hiking legs’ to suffer unbearable ‘itchiness’. My body had grown used to constant movement and the trail would act as my ‘scratching post’ on Day 21.

Heysen Trail Diary – Day 21

The scenery along the trail was not how I remembered it. I had arrived at the top of the range, following an apocalyptic Day 19, unable to distinguish the rain from the trees. My mind was focused on surviving; not absorbing my surroundings. The rich, dense landscape, brimming with bright golden wattles, lined the snaking track out of the undulating Telowie Gorge Conservation Park. This colourful view invigorated my energy levels on a largely overcast, yet ultimately cheery walk.

Trekking West TV Tower Telowie Gorge Conservation Park

A wattle-lined Day 21.

The sky threatened to repeat the violent dose I received two days earlier. Though, somehow, I evaded the rain—even as I passed through a dirty great black cloud as I rounded the TV tower at the top of the bluff. However, it wasn’t long before I witnessed nature’s full might from a safe (and dry) distance.

As I pulled up for lunch on top of a ridge that overlooked Port Pirie, the district was slipping into the shadows of an imposing storm. The rolling clouds gathered speed and density as they approached the harbour town. Suddenly, they ruptured and drenched everything in its hostile path. I couldn’t help but admire the destructive power that unravelled before me.

This lofty setting was the perfect place to reflect. It wasn’t long ago that I had walked through a devastating force exactly like the one pulverizing South Australia’s second-largest port. Some days you battle the storm, other days you watch it drift by. Even the most difficult of life’s experiences will pass; do your best to keep your strength.

 

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The diameter of the downpour started spreading in my direction and, as impressed as I was by the display, I didn’t want a repeat of Day 19’s drenching. I finished my lunch, packed up my gear and continued along the trail away from the sinister clouds.

The rest of the days’ journey sloped down to Beetaloo Creek Campsite. This gentle descent would be my final venture in the prodigious Flinders Ranges. My eyes would miss the mighty mountains and sweeping gullies; my legs would not. Day 22 would mark my arrival in the heart of South Australia’s much greener and much flatter pastoral district.

All the details.

Trail distance covered

19.8km

Accommodation

Beetaloo Creek Campsite

Price

Free

Climate

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.

Terrain

The largely uncomplicated flat track has several ups and downs along the range, but nothing your calves aren’t used to after 3 weeks of hiking.