Heysen Day 2: 5.6km camp to Middlesite Water Hut (28.8km today, 34.4km in)

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Day number is always tough. I slept warm and well under my tarp. The occasion cool gust of wind blew through during the night, finding the open gaps under my quilt. That was all good. Quick adjustment had me sealed in and toasty.

But I did find a potential issue. Yet to be confirmed. I’ll find out tonight. My mattress may have a slow leak. At some stage in the early morning I could feel the cushioning was less than what it was when I hit the sack and rolled over to inflate the mat with more air. Perhaps I did not quite close the valve. Perhaps a sharp stone or twig has pin pricked it. I’ll find out tonight and confirm if its a leak or not.

My standard breakfast of pop tarts, breakfast bars and cold instant coffee saw me start the day. A quick pack up and I was on the trail, the sun just trying to break over the horizon.

I had sufficient water to get me through to and past the next water source at Pigeon Bore, 15km or so in for the morning, as I don’t drink a lot in the cool morning air. Perfect walking conditions. On reaching the bore I decided to top up with water anyway and encountered issue number two for the day – my water filter just would not work. Damn it. I should have checked it before leaving home. Oh well there is nothing I can do about just now. No cell service for a couple of days to order a new one to be mailed ahead to me someway down the road.

I can’t complain. The old Sawyer squeeze has seen me through close to 10,000km over the last 6 years. They are guaranteed for 100,000 gallons of water but that guarantee doesn’t extend to its one flaw – freezing. Once they freeze they are buggered. I suspect this is the problem. It has been lent to many people over the years and perhaps it has frozen on a lend.

What can you do? Discoloured bore water is going to have to do until the next water source.

The trail persisted with dry creek beds for most of the way during the morning.

Spectacular views of the Arkarrunha Yurru came into view on approach to the Aroona Ruins.

Then it was up for the best part of a couple of hours. I took it real easy, careful not to push too hard early on and boy was I rewarded. Stopping frequently to look back over my shoulder the view just got better. The higher I climbed the more the trees weee suppressed opening up vista after vista. Incredible.

But what goes up must come down and it was here I encountered issue number three – my shoes are too small! Freakin hell. What a way to start a 1,200 km hike. One everyone down step my big toes kept smashing into the toe box. If this keeps up I’m bound to loose toenails. I can’t understand for the life of my why this is the case. Yep the shoes are new but they are the exact same size and type I wore on the PCT and they did not give me any grief on the few training walks I did, albeit they were on flat ground. Maybe they were labelled wrong from the factory. My feet couldn’t have grown any, surely. But its the same situation as my water filter and possibles my sleeping mat – there is nothing I can do about it for a couple of days. And it will be close to 10 days for post to reach me in a town. Hawker is too close, maybe Quorn, maybe Melrose.

Enough bitching an back to the trail.

The Heysen is amazing! Well sign posted and good surface. It was easy to find the way today and only a few small checks of the map to gauge progress. I was doing pretty good. Having started yesterday 5.6km was cut off from todays hike and I had 28.8km to travel.

The afternoon was a small struggle in the fun sun and now painful shoes but I reached my destination at Middlesite Water Hut around 3pm. Plenty of time to relax, unwind and reat the feet. Tomorrow I’m torn between getting to Wilpena Pound (30km away) or taking it easy for a 24km day. I dont want to push too hard too early but am keen to sort my gear out asap and much of tomorrow is on roads so should be quick.

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