The Heysen 77: Only Death

Thursday, November 24, 2016 – 11.63 km

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My day began with a short walk over the sand dunes to Waitpinga Beach, where a fisherman told me about sea fishing. Millipedes were wandering far out on the sand, and it reminded me of hikers who lose the trail but don’t turn around. Go back! There’s nothing for you here but DEATH!

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On Parsons Beach I saw a fish stranded and flopping on the sand. I thought that its skin would be slimy, so I tried to transfer it into the water with my hiking poles (cruel in retrospect…) but it immediately washed ashore again, so I decided to pick it up and tried throwing it into the ocean (also cruel in retrospect…). That didn’t work either, so I waded into the ocean with the fish and placed it in the water, but it wouldn’t swim and just got washed back to shore again. I finally concluded that it was a lost cause, hopefully not because of the poles and the throwing. Sorry, fish. If it’s any reassurance, I would have treated a human child the same way.

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After that heartbreaking little episode, the trail took a turn for the worse as it left the conservation park and returned to grazing land. The Heysen has passed through conservation parks and infinite grazing land before, but the contrast struck me hard here – a landscape before and after.

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Before and after

A watercourse emptying onto Shannon’s Gully Beach looked disgustingly polluted.

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The trail left the coastline and headed inland towards Balquhidder Campsite. The signage is confusing in one part, with two fences creating three segments and Heysen signage in both the middle and northern sections. I moved out of the southern section, which was good since I saw a bull there later, but moved into the northern section, which shortly became impassable due to dense vegetation. Middle section it is.

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Balquhidder Campsite has a pretty location by a stream, but it’s also close to the road and a house. A few pieces of garbage were scattered around. I also noticed some toilet paper near Mt. Cone Campsite (ninth deadly sin). They’re the first non-hut Heysen campsites I’ve visited that have shown any signs of use other than fire rings, which I suppose reflects the higher number of people using the trail/campsites here in the south. No flat ground.

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