Day 2 Friday April 6th
Up early and packed
up except the radio. Antenna still up for a try at 8am. But the battery
hardly had enough energy to run the receiver so I packed that up as
well. 17 degrees at 6am this morning and although I am a
“hottie” and I remember that 17 degrees was when I
considered it was getting a bit chilly, it felt ok. I recorded in my
diary that I still had 6 litres of water and that would see me for the
next 3 days. I expected to top up my supplies of water from a dam,
waterhole or from a sheep station I knew was not far from the road. I
set off with the 2 X 750ml water bottles (old Iced Coffee containers,
no sunlight getting through to the water) with one of them containing
powder to keep up my “fluid balance” (and
I like the taste for a change). Remember the temperature of the water
in the bottle would be called “tepid” and that is
So, after a good
and feeling pretty pleased with myself I was back on the road again
(photo 108) and I am now into a long, flat, treeless walk. There were
some trees off in the distance, but they were “thin on the
ground“ and more like shrubs. I heard a train on the track
which was no longer beside the road at this time but a fair way over
towards the Flinders Rangers. See photo 109. A week or so later near
Hawker, there was a serious derailment. The local Hawker Hotelier, John
Starling, invited me to join him and some friends one morning to go
look but they all slept in after sitting up all night having a beer or
two. This line carried the coal from Leigh Creek
which is 250km to the
north. The coal is used to feed the power stations outside Port Augusta
which generate the power for the SA electricity grid. This train was
returning to Leigh Creek after emptying its load in Port Augusta.
were strong winds today, I reckon gusting to 25kph. The solar panel was
blowing all over the place and I had been worrying about the lack of
power in the batteries, so I changed it from the back of the pack to
hanging it around my neck and let it sit on my chest where I could hold
it if the wind caught it. It was then that I realised that, as I was
walking North, the solar panel would have been mainly in shadow while
it was on my backpack. With it around my neck and on my chest the north
sun was falling on the panel. I would be walking towards the north for
the whole trip so that is where it should have been from the start.
Maybe this is why the battery pack is not charging (more
for a rest under a low
(2 meter) tree (shrub) at about 10am and I had walked only 7km. I was
definitely not on schedule to get to Hawker with my current food supply
so I will have a think at lunch time. The flies are extremely annoying
and I have no repellent with me. It is 26 degrees and walking when out
of condition in this temperature will certainly drop a kilo or 2. I was
87 kilos when I left Bill’s place about 2 weeks back and I
may have even added 1 or 2 since then while visiting rellies. I reckon
a reasonable weight for my frame would be 80-82 kilos so losing a bit
wouldn’t hurt. The wind has dropped but only a bit and is
coming in from the east. I tried the phone and have 2 bars on the
antenna indicator so I sent an SMS to Bill.
crossed a couple of creek beds with no water or even damp spots but
really admired the giant river red gums, see photos 110 and 111. They
have magnificent shapes and colouring (and produce dense shade). I
finally called it a day 17kms from last nights camp as the crow flies.
With a few bends in the road, I probably travelled 20kms in total. I
camped at the turnoff to Narcoona station which was several kilometers
off the road that I was following. The creek was Thompson Creek and
showed considerably on my map but there was no sign of water and I
don’t see how the early explorers would know where to dig as
the creek bed was strewn with rocks. There was yet another river red
gum and I took a couple of shots of this. They are photos 112 and 113.
This camp was at 32:13.669 137:52.156 and tonight I’ll have a
serious look at the maps as I think I saw a track crossing the Flinders
and I would be able to backtrack down about 10km to the township of
Quorn. If this is possible, I will abandon trying for Hawker as I am
travelling much too slowly to get to Hawker with my supplies. I could
certainly make it but this is not supposed to be an endurance test or
emulate the hardships that the early explorers tolerated. But it is a
steep learning curve as this is only day 2!
the AA batteries in
the pack are now measuring low so I will now put 4 from the camera, 4
camera spares and 2 of the best ones of the original pack. I am now
charging the mobile phone using the car charger connected to the 12V
pack with alligator clip leads. There is still some signal in the phone
so I will be able to talk to Bill tonight. I will only try a short
attempt using the radio as that would be a drain on the inadequate
battery pack and I doubt that I would get through.
have developed a blister on the outside of the big toe on my left foot.
It is a bit bigger than a 5 cent piece so I will need to keep an eye on
it. Otherwise I am feeling pretty good, well I guess I mean that I have
no soreness although the pack feels heavy after the first half hour or
so. However, even a break of 15 minutes relieves the shoulders.
feeling hungry so I just had a cup of cold soup tonight. My records
show that there were 10 cars today but I don’t remember there
being that many on this stretch of road. I will check with Bill and see
what I reported as traffic levels for that day. I set up the radio but
did not try very hard to avoid flattening the batteries.
I had settled in for the night, I checked the map and there is
definitely a track through the ranges. It is named Thompson Gap and I
will go a kilometer or so north and follow a road to the base of the
Flinders. I have decided to cross over tomorrow and head into Quorn.
I thought all this was pretty exciting. But day 3 was hotter, harder,
remoter, more exhausting and on the night of day 3, I got stoned!!
I cross the mighty Flinders (and find real trouble)