Can I get an Amen for flat surfaces?

After an unrelentingly undulating Day 4, the comparatively even 17-kilometre stretch from Red Range Campsite to Mayo Hut was just the ‘rest’ my exhausted legs were 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 Flinders Ranges’ multitude of unstable surfaces.

Daily Diary – Day 5

By Day 5, I was acutely familiar with the aches associated with long-distance hiking, but, they no longer slowed me down. I could feel my body ‘responding quicker’ as I hobbled around the shortening shadows at Red Range Campsite. It wasn’t long before I was back following the trail at the foothills of the imposing Elder Range.

Day 5 Rocky Track

I began the day following a channel between Elder and Red Ranges.

Day 5 Creek Bed

A postcard-ready Day 5 did not disappoint.

I couldn’t believe the extraordinary width of the creek beds along this section. In this barren part of the world, it is unimaginable to think a body of water ever existed to fill these often 50-metre wide waterways. When I finally found Mayo Hut (my lodgings for the night) sitting atop one of these mighty channels late in the afternoon, I made the startling realisation that I’d spent the entire day in 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 interacted with the 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 ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’ day. Anything could have happened in the outside world and I would be none the wiser. This is not a situation I can ever remember finding myself in.

Day 5 - Mayo Hut

Mayo Hut may just be the most charming hut on the trail.

Mayo Hut was just what the doctor ordered. Bunks, mattresses, pots, pans and the most perfectly provincial fireplace made for a snug nights accommodation. But, I won’t lie, after 5 days of wandering through the wilderness, I was ready for a pub and another parmy. Next stop, one of the most recognised tourism centres in the Flinders Ranges, Hawker.

All the details

Trail distance covered

16.99km

Accommodation
Price

Free + park entry fee.

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

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.