Heysen Day 5: Red Range to Mayo Hut (17.2km today, 110.2km on trail)

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Told you would be a short one today… if course it almost wasn’t.

Today saw just about the entire route following along the dry Arkabra Creek bed. A relentless slog through very loose gravel and sand. It’s a wide creek bed and I imagine spectacular to see with any flow to it.

A couple of deeper holes with rocky bottoms held some water. Turning a corner I startled a group of around 10 emus and a few kangaroos drinking their fill for the day.

Along the way I came across the 100km marker. Yay me.

A few sheep grazed here and there on the banks of this hungry country. Forage was scarce.

Huge orb spiders weave these incredibly wide and strong webs. Luckily I haven’t walked into any just yet.

The only reprieve from the dry creek bed walking was a couple of kilometres of along a trail reroute, offering a different view for a while.

Shortly before reaching Mayo Hut the Mernmerne Creek I was flowing merged with the Wonoka Creek, just as wide a creek. A few of the more rocky sections held water, looking very inviting from affair but danky up close. Lots of roos grouped around this spot.

I reached Mayo Hut, my intended destination for the day, shortly before mid day. Mayo is a delightful little hut, reconstructed in 1988, through an organised project to assist a group of homeless and unemployed people. Previously it was a ruin if f bygone pastoral days. Bunk to sleep at least 8 people, large table, toilet and water tank.

Being so early in the day I then had a dilemma. Do I say or make use of the daylight and hike some more to lessen this 28km distance for tomorrow. I umed and ahed forever, taking the tome for an early lunch while I thought about some more.

I could keep pushing on but I really didn’t know if there would be suitable camping up ahead. It’s another 12km of dry river bed walking with nothing but dry open pasture on either side. I could easily have found a flat spot in the creek bed. I’d have to carry additional water from Mayo to allow for a dry camp and enough water into Hawker tomorrow. And there was a cold blustery breeze funnelled along the river all morning that hadn’t let up. Or I could just stay at Mayo, Hut have a lazy afternoon and get an early start tomorrow.

In the end I decided to just chill and stay put, taking an easy day. Short hiking days are hard for me… so much sunshine left in the day and who knows whats around the next corner. Tomorrow will tell.

Decision made I tool the opportunity to wash my stinky shirt in a bucket I found and air out some other gear. I tried finding the pin prick hole un my thermarest using the bucket but to no avail. Taking full advantage of a hut with the luxury of full cell service I also got some forward planning done, booking accomodation at Hawker and Quorn. Plus ordering a new filter to be delivered with my new shoes at Quorn. Of course with cell service there are socials to catch up on as well.

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