The Heysen 8: Back to Civilization

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 – 9.84 km


My original plan for today was to hike from Mt. Elm Campsite to Jarvis Hill Trailhead, then begin the next section of the HT along Yourambulla Ridge before entering Hawker for resupply/rest via the next exit point. That plan was based on the fact that I wanted to walk the ridge, and if I walked it during the next leg I would have a 30 kilometre day.

However. The Heysen hasn’t been harder than expected, but it’s been harder on my body than expected, and my muscles were threatening revolt if I started along some dodgy ridge. Therefore I sadly took the hit and headed directly into Hawker from Jarvis Hill TH, an easy road walk nonetheless bothersome because of my poor abused muscles. I was consoled by the fact that as I was leaving the trailhead, five cars pulled up and a noisy crowd piled out and started up the trail.

Road to Hawker

Five days alone isn’t really that long, but it’s long enough to get accustomed to not thinking about whether there’s something on your face, or how to structure your thoughts into sentences comprehensible to other people, and so on. I remember being backpacking-culture-shocked and relieved to get to Patagonia after those first days on the AZT, and kind of ‘okay whatever, will no longer talk to Piney’ about seeing people after five days alone in the Mazatzals, but this time I actively felt that I didn’t want to see anyone. I’m blaming it on months of living in hostels – the trail gave me a space of my own and a sense of ownership over my surroundings. I should probably start renting an apartment for my mental health. Or just, you know, become a trail bum. Let’s go with that.

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