From creek beds and plains to sky-high views, the diversity continued along the Heysen Trail.
By now it shouldn’t have surprised me, but the quick-fire landscape changes keep on coming. Day 9 was no different. In fact, it was the poster boy of variety. Stony paths, fence-lined paddocks, grassy brooks, arid slopes, rocky creek beds, hilly climbs and mountainous ascents were all a part of the epic journey to Mount Arden.
Daily Diary – Day 9
After arriving well after nightfall on an exhausting Day 8, my body was in desperate need of a sleep in. I eventually rolled out of my sleeping bag in the mid-morning, threw some porridge down my throat and clambered up the nearest hill. It had been a couple of days since I received any meaningful phone reception and I knew I’d have several messages wondering if I was still alive. Remarkably, I managed to find a few bars and answer all of the life-concerning queries that had stockpiled in my Facebook and Instagram inboxes.
However, there was much more than just adequate phone reception at this height. As I arrived at camp in the dark, I had little idea about the surrounding landscape. From on top of the hill, I took in the majestic semi-arid views, including the sight of various kangaroo colonies hopping about their morning routines. It was like a roo highway sprawled out in front of me. Each family would follow the same tracks through the countryside, endeavouring to find the best patch of shade to rest for the day; an indulgence I, unfortunately, couldn’t afford.
The first section of the day’s hike took some time to navigate. The track was scattered with ankle-twisting rocks, waiting to explode your joints with one misstep. Thankfully, my sturdy footwear acted as a moon boot, making it difficult to do any great damage.
From here, the landscape changed every few kilometres. The soles of my boots experienced every terrain imaginable; harsh rocks turned into dirt, dirt turned into grass, grass turned into smoothed creek stone and stone turned into rich soil.
It wasn’t long before the trail went upward. Slowly at first along Buckaringa Gorge, the incline then increased through Yadlamalka Pastoral Station. By the time I reached Mt Arden, I felt like I was half hiker, half cloud.
Mt Arden was named in 1802 by Matthew Flinders, after his great-grandmother.
Heysen Trail Map Sheet 7
The lofty hills that I had scrambled up earlier in the day looked like mosquito bites popping out of the earth’s skin. I could see way back to the landscapes I was navigating on Day 4.
I reached the summit of Mt Arden just as the sun was dipping over the horizon. I only had a few minutes to appreciate the view before the temperature at this high altitude began to drop. Chalk up another stunning golden sunset for the trail. It might be my last one for a little while, however, as the radar was looking a little ominous for Day 10 and beyond.
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.
Be prepared to tackle every type of terrain, Day 9 has everything.