The Heysen 43: We Had To

Monday, October 17, 2016 – 27.18 km

I’ve mentioned before that many of the Heysen campsites seem to be thrown up according to convenience rather than attractiveness of location. Whistling Trig Tank, the campsite between Spalding and Hallett, has this description on the Friends’ website: ‘This is a windy, exposed site, as evidenced by the nearby wind farms. This tank is midway between the towns of Hallett and Spalding – 22.5km from Hallett, and 26km from Spalding.’ A comment adds: ‘It is quite an exposed site and not suitable for camping unless you have a tent capable of withstanding potentially high winds. The trig is Crown Land, however the surrounding paddocks are private property’. So to sum it all up, ‘this is a bad camping spot that we chose because we had to’. A hiker (Paula) mentioned on the HT website that there’s space to camp slightly further on alongside Parker Road, and though the thought of camping beside a road doesn’t appeal, I decided to keep her advice in mind.

After Spalding, the trail continued along the aquaduct. Interestingly this section is marked on the map as not being defined trail, even though it follows an old road that’s clearly visible. Could a different person have made this map than the previous maps? Or maybe the same person, but their standards plummeted the further north they got? I understand that, the plummeting standards.

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Australian version of the AZT ‘please close gate’ signs

The HT followed an old stone wall and contemporary fence onto the hilltops. Today’s weather was variable, a mix of light rain and sun. Luckily the sky was clear when I passed through the exposed area, though the strong wind made walking difficult and unpleasant, and I can only imagine what it would have been like in the rain (the Mt. Arden debacle comes to mind…).

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The Whistling Trig campsite (should I even call it a campsite? Camping area? Place in which camping is not illegal?) has a great view, I’ll give it that, but I didn’t want to listen to my tent flapping furiously all night.

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Whistling Trig Tank
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After collecting a few litres of water from the tank, I continued along the trail, keeping my eye out for potential alternatives. There was nothing until Parker Road, but Paula was right about the spacious roadside and the road had zero traffic. I set up my tent on the southwest side.

Across the road is a large field of purple flowers with beehives, but I haven’t seen any bees. The moon is now rising huge and orange above the horizon and I’m listening to Moon River, the downloading of which was of course my most important piece of preparation for Heysen Part 2.

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