The Heysen 67: No Backpackers on the School Bus

Monday, November 14, 2016 – 29.95

I took the bus back to Piccadilly this morning, planning my route with Google Maps. It required a transfer and when I disembarked from the first bus, I noticed that the number for the second bus wasn’t on the bus stop sign. Well, the sign could be wrong, right? When the bus arrived, it said ‘school bus’ on the front. Oh. I boarded the bus and asked the driver whether I could take it. He said ‘This is just a normal school bus.’ I said ‘So I can’t take it?’ Letting a random backpacker onto a school bus seems like a good idea to me! He was not enthused though and recommended another bus scheduled to arrive only ten minutes later. The quick timing was lucky since the hike to Rocky Creek Campsite from Piccadilly is about 30 km.

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The HT was a road walk past Woodhouse Activity Centre – permission is required to leave the trail there – Bridgewater, and Mylor. Mylor has a cafe, general store and washrooms at the oval. The people were so friendly that I regretted not needing to buy anything there, since while I did neglect to buy sunscreen in Adelaide, I don’t need more yet. Speaking of neglect, I also forgot my GPS in Adelaide. The signage has been great recently though so I’m going to continue with only maps and hope that I don’t get lost and die. Always a good thing to hope for.

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While I was having a snack beside the road, I heard mooing and turned to see that a large group of cows had gathered behind the fence and were staring at me. Maybe they’re fed at that location…? I explained to them that I had no food for cows, but it’s almost like cows don’t understand English, because they just kept waiting there. As I’ve made known, I’m not a fan of cows, but I feel like we bonded then, with me eating peacefully and them simmering with increasing resentment and irritation at my continued failure to give them food. (Scary barking dogs are now enemy #1.)

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You know it’s the southern and not the northern Heysen when there’s an actual staircase.
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After some boggy portions of trail with boardwalk and an old mine, the route passed into Kuitpo Forest. I made a signage error in which I went the wrong direction at a fallen sign, but there was further signage supporting that direction, so maybe it was a strangely marked alternate route? I was irritated when I found myself back near where I had started. Two people on horseback arrived when I was looking at my map and asked whether I was lost. I said ‘no, just annoyed’. The woman asked me to repeat myself. I’m not sure whether the problem was the accent or whether she was just confused about why a stranger was telling her their feelings. (By the way, if you ever want to confuse an Aussie with your foreign accent, say ‘thank you, I’ll pay with card please’. Every time I’ve said that they’ve asked me to repeat myself.) I was tired by then and happy when I reached Rocky Creek Campground, which is only for the use of school groups/scouts/Heysen hikers. Hikers are supposed to book in advance, but I wasn’t sure what day I would arrive, so I didn’t. I haven’t paid the fee ($5) either, but will when I pass the Forest Headquarters.

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I’m sharing the campground with a school group. I promised myself that I would think more kindly about school groups after getting that ride out of Melrose, but they’re playing a game with blindfolds and screaming and I can’t be held responsible for my thoughts in this instance.

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