Can I get an Amen for flat surfaces?
After an unrelenting undulating Day 4, the comparatively even 17km stretch from Red Range Campsite to Mayo Hut was just the ‘rest’ my exhausted legs had been screaming for. I spent the day zipping between dry creek beds, fields, forests and not so well worn paths. Thankfully, my ankles had finally adapted to the multitude of unstable rocks out here.
Daily Diary – Day 5
By Day 5, I was used to the pain. Well, actually, not quite. I was, at least, familiar with the aches of a long-distance hiker and they no longer slowed me down. I could feel my body ‘responding quicker’ as I busily hobbled around the shortening shadows of the Red Range campsite. It wasn’t long before I was back following the trail adjacent to the towering Elder Range.
I couldn’t believe the extraordinary width of the dry creek beds along this section. In this barren part of the world, it is unimaginable to think that a body of water ever existed to fill these often 50 metre wide waterways. When I finally found Mayo Hut sitting at the top of one of these mighty channels, later that evening, I made the startling realisation that I’d spent the day in complete solitude.
It was 1899 when the Mayo family moved to the small humble cottage on the banks of the Wonaka Creek. When they arrived at the homestead their main possession was courage, but they left the property with less.
Trailwalker Article (1988)
I hadn’t seen anybody for the entire day; no hikers, no farmers, no tourists, no cars, no planes, no signs of civilisation. Plus, there was still no mobile reception. Today was my first ever ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’ day. Anything could have happened in the outside world; I would be none the wiser (thankfully, Australia hadn’t been invaded when my mobile finally found some bars).
I won’t lie, after 5 days of wandering through the wilderness, I was ready for a pub, another parmy and a town. Next stop, the tourism centre of the Flinders Ranges, Hawker.
All the details
Trail distance covered
Free + park entry fee.
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.
While the day may have been relatively flat, the trail did weave its way through several rocky-heavy creek beds – make sure your ankles and knees are mentally prepared for uneven surfaces.