Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – 21.92 km
Today began with another road walk. I kept seeing white trucks and only white trucks. After awhile I started thinking that they were all the same white truck going back and forth, and that even when it came from the same direction twice in a row, it had just circled around by some other route to troll me. Either that or this area has a wildly popular white truck dealership.
After a brief follow-fence through annoying long grass, the Heysen returned to the roads. That was when, to my surprise, I encountered another hiker! The only other hiker I’ve met during this trip is Gregory, and that was weeks ago! Neil was walking from Burra to Crystal Brook. He was cheerful and friendly, and gave me info about the upcoming campsites, and was just generally a ray of sunshine in the middle of a hike that has recently been too many roads and too much farmland. Talking to a fellow hiker is different from talking to anyone else – it makes you feel less alone when you’ve been struggling mentally with the trail. Generally I prefer an empty trail to a crowded one, but I was at a point when I needed to talk to someone.
Much refreshed, I completed the walk to Hallett Railway Station, which is perhaps a kilometre from the town centre (something else I didn’t know when I decided to send my package here). Staying in an old railway station is cool for sure. The front door can’t be locked from inside and yawns open if nothing is propped against it, so I decided to lock it again from the outside and enter and exit through a back door that locks automatically if you properly pull it closed.
Temperatures are supposed to drop below freezing tonight, and my sleeping bag is only rated to zero degrees Celsius, so immediately I lit the stove. Unfortunately, it’s too small for most of the firewood. There’s a saw, but when I tried sawing a piece of wood, I realized after two seconds that the patience required for that task was far beyond my capacity. How about an axe, eh? [For the reference of future hikers, there’s plenty of wood for collecting along the roadside not far away, continuing eastwards along the Heysen.]