The Heysen 24: $6 Poncho

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 25.15 km

It rained steadily in the last few hours before dawn, but the downpour had dwindled into drizzle and a sky filled with patchy clouds by the time I started walking. I put on the $6 grocery store poncho I had bought to supplement my old rain jacket, which has decided that absorbing water is 64% more fun than repelling it. Probably the Heysen will at some point brutally tear this poncho to bits, but it had no success today. Something that I think to myself every morning: ‘I hope the Heysen won’t tear me into bits today’.

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Hills, hills, hills. My foot hurt yesterday, residual pain from the injury I sustained before coming to Australia, and has been hurting today as well.

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The sky cleared up by the time I reached the highway, which the HT followed for awhile in the direction of Wilmington.

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The Heysen markers direct one along the bank beside the highway, where an initially clear trail disintegrated into a cloud of thorny bushes where everyone no doubt thinks ‘to hell with this’ and just walks on the road. Before reaching the town, the route turned right onto Hancocks Lookout Road, then left onto Morphett Road.

Now this was bizarre. I checked my map several times to make sure I was in the right place, then my GPS, then I tried to inconspicuously peer onto the property to spot a marker (the turn itself isn’t marked, so you need to know the name of the road). Basically you walk directly into someone’s yard between some buildings and pens and such, then climb a stile over a fence. There were people there! There was a barking dog! The Heysen crosses plenty of private property, but not usually through the front door, if you will. I wanted to get out of there quickly, which I promptly failed to achieve by erroneously getting on the path to Mt. Maria. I figured out my mistake within ten minutes though and got on the correct path.

For the rest of the way to Stony Creek Campsite, the walking was easy except for multiple crossings of a flooded stream. When I arrived, I met Gregory, the owner of the footprints I had seen before. He’s on a tight schedule and I only caught up with him because he had gotten disastrously lost the day before. He’s making a documentary about the Heysen – could be a good resource for future hikers.

Rain began pouring down just before dark. Goodnight!

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