Sometimes a happy surprise is enough to get you through the day... just.
After leaving the flat Barossa Valley on Day 44, I knew I was in for some bumps. The undulating Adelaide Hills would begin on Day 46 and promptly introduce endless slopes and towering pine plantations. However, I didn’t anticipate the stunning scenery scattered throughout Warren Conservation Park. This unexplored patch of remarkably diverse scrubland fueled my trek right up until my tired bones crumpled in a heap at Scotts Shelter.
Daily Diary – Day 46
I left the Rocky Paddock Campground with a surprising amount of enthusiasm, especially considering the extra kilometres I’d endured on Day 45. I used this early momentum to make a headstart on the crowds and clamber up the Tower Hill Track toward Warren Tower and the north-eastern entrance of Warren Conservation Park.
Warren Conservation Park contains 75 different bird species, including the uncommon Brown Treecreeper, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Buff-rumped Thornbill, White-winged Chough and Yellow-rumped Thornbill.
I knew little about the 363-hectare park when I arrived at its gates. In fact, heading into the trail, I barely knew it existed. Nevertheless, this secluded section of outer-suburban bushland left a lasting impression. After spending the previous two days walking amongst regimentally-planted pines, it felt refreshing to get back into the disorganised wild, if only for a few hours.
Vibrant stretches of spring-induced banksias, wattles, orchids and other varieties of native blooms lined the winding track as the route took in soaring ridge-high views and delicate valley-floor detail. Diversity in abundance, from top to bottom.
I would have stopped and savoured the panoramic park all day, except, for the first time in weeks, I felt hopelessly debilitated. My mornings’ energy hit had all but evaporated and I couldn’t focus. Typically, periodic punches of hiking adrenaline, coupled with my carbohydrate-packed porridge, were enough to see me through each day. However, my head had begun to feel the lingering effects of my unrelenting Heysen Trail journey and my body needed a long slumberous break.
I could feel my drowsy eyes rolling backward in my skull just as I reached Scotts Shelter. I groggily unpacked my belongings, inflated my sleeping mat, sprawled out on the hut’s wooden bunk and thusly collapsed, stamina drained.
When I awoke, an hour or so later, the sun was still radiating through the campsite’s crop of colossal conifers. I sluggishly hauled myself out of the shelter to admire the imposing plantation and cook an early dinner.
For the first time on the trail, exhaustion had almost got the better of me. I’d have to start taking extra care of my body, especially before my date with the Adelaide Hills’ uninterrupted slopes on Day 47.
All the details.
Trail distance covered
Cool damp winters with light to heavy showers and some days of rain. The ranges are wet and cool during winter but are warmer during autumn and spring. Summers are warm to hot and relatively dry.
Very hilly, especially through the switchback-filled Warren Conservation Park.