Saturday, November 26, 2016 – 13.24 km
A few route options were available this morning. I chose the official Heysen route, which heads inland past Deep Creek Waterfall, but the Deep Creek Cove alternate may have been more scenic. The trail was beautiful single track with steps(!) on the steep bits, and I encountered several dozen other hikers, including families with kids. The untempting waterfall was filled with stringy algae.
The signage confused me when the trail emerged onto a road, where a sign appeared to point south but was actually pointing down a path that immediately turned west and faded near a sign. That’s one of the faults in the Heysen signage: sometimes an arrow means that you should start following a trail and keep to that trail, but sometimes it means that you should walk in one direction and keep going in that direction even if the trail goes elsewhere (the area around Caroona Creek is notable for the latter). I wandered around for awhile, grumpy since I’m still not feeling well. Eventually I just headed west and located the trail a short distance down the road. The map makes it look like Trig Campground is away from the trail, but it’s actually right on the Heysen.
I picked up an army of flies as the trail began following a fence at the edge of the conservation park. The fence was the most hardcore fence I’ve ever seen, as tall as my head with 3-4 pieces of electrified wire – the other electric fences I’ve seen have only had one. I suspect the property owner is raising velociraptors.
I saw no one on the trail, which crossed a burn area and was steep on the east end in particular (I fell once) but lovely by the creeks.
A sign at the western end warned about steep climbs. How civilized…
The sun came out in the afternoon. I had booked Eagle Waterhole Campsite, the only hike-in campsite in the conservation park, and was hoping that I would have the night alone. I’ve had more than enough solitude on the trail, but maybe because of that, I thought that camping with other people on the final night would feel odd unless they were Heysen hikers with whom I could discuss the trail. Sadly (sorry) another hiker was already there, a man who had hiked in for the night from Cape Jervis, and a father and young daughter arrived later. So no solitude, but the campsite was beautiful with a clean shelter and flat clean ground by the shelter and waterhole. I enjoyed reading the final logbook comments of Bill and Pauline, Shane, Paula, Gregory and the other thru-hikers who have completed the trail and were diligent about writing entries in each of the huts. There aren’t many, so you remember the ones who do. If any of you ever read this: thanks for improving my solitary stays in the huts/shelters, and for the advice left as well.