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 invariably acted as my daily scratching post.
Daily 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, barely able to distinguish the rain from the trees. My mind was focussed 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, Day 21.
For sections of the day, the weather threatened to repeat the violent dose I received two days earlier. Yet, somehow, I evaded the rain – even when walking 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 the full force of nature’s wintery 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 seaport city. Suddenly, they ruptured and drenched everything in its hostile path. I couldn’t help but sit and stare at 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 destructive force exactly like the one pulverizing South Australia’s second largest port. Some days you battle the storm, some days you watch it drift by. Even the most adverse of life’s experiences will pass; do your best to keep your strength and see them through.
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The diameter of the downpour began 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 – thankfully, in a direction away from the sinister clouds.
The rest of the days’ journey sloped down toward the 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
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 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.