Tuesday, October 04, 2016 – 18 km
This morning I hitchhiked from Crystal Brook to Melrose to continue from where I had left off before the storm. Traffic was sparse, so I was lucky to catch two rides within a reasonable time frame. The Heysen started out on a road, then directed me to walk on the roadside within the bushes and fallen branches (storm damage). I politely declined to do that and continued walking on the road.
Presently there’s a stile and you begin following a fence, even though the map says ‘walking trail’. It literally says that, in words. It knows that you’ve figured out by now that the dashed lines that are supposed to signify trail aren’t actually trail 90% of the time, so it’s trying to come up with new ways to fool you. I was fooled. *shakes fist* The ground was wet from the downpour, not everywhere, but sometimes in places I wouldn’t expect. For example, I don’t usually expect the side of a hill to go squish when I step on it. Everything looked lush and green and the grass was high, making the use of hiking poles difficult.
The HT switched to Brooklyn Road after the fence-following, then crossed a fence into private property and continued between two fields of grain. I had just entered that area when a plane flew low overhead. I grew up in a city, so my first association with a small plane is someone learning how to fly or a private plane owner flying or so on. Therefore I ignored the plane until I saw it dump a load of pesticide on some crops up ahead. Whoa??? I thought ‘maybe it’s far enough away from the Heysen for me to keep going…’, but decided it really wasn’t, so I quickly retraced my steps to the road and took out my map to find another route. While I was wandering along, absorbed in the map, I nearly stepped on an incredibly fat snake that looked more suited for the vicinity of a pastry shop. I jumped away and talked nervously to it for awhile, which seemed to annoy it and it left. I had now been traumatized once by sudden pesticide and once by sudden snake, and the plane was stressing me out since I didn’t know where it was going to spray – it reminded me of that study where scientists tried flying drones over black bears and found that their heart rates increased by up to 400%. So yeah, if you get anything from this journal, it should be that flying your drones over poor innocent bears = bad. Also it’s a shocking visual to see a load of chemicals being dumped into the environment.
Heading down Dust Bowl Road, I took a left on Rosslyn Road to enter Murray Town. The Friends’ website lists Murray Town as 2 km from the trail, but I think that must be from the southern entrance via the highway, since the town can’t be more than a km along Rosslyn Road. Camping on the oval is $7 for one night with showers, a kitchen with microwave, kettle and sink (and dish soap!), and an impressively stocked book exchange.