Feeling Great – the Story of End-to-End 2

Friends of the Heysen Trail

Originally published in the Trailwalker magazine: Spring 2008, Sep 2008

The ‘Heysen Trail’ has become our obsession and biggest personal challenge to complete in August 2008. When we first started walking on some End-to-End 1 days and catch ups we thought, okay just for the fun of it, we will do the odd day. We were told that we should just do the easy bits but this made us determined to tackle the whole 1200km!

Helen Cradock, Rhonda Dempster, Bev McLeod and Ralene Shaw and on top of Mt Bryan

Helen Cradock, Rhonda Dempster, Bev McLeod and Ralene Shaw and on top of Mt Bryan

So when Kevin Boyce decided to start at Cape Jervis to do his catch ups for End-to-End 1 we joined in and thus the End-to-End 2 was born.

It has been a journey of great personal challenge taking us out of our comfort zones. We have spent hours at the gym and training walks to enable us to undertake the trek. We have made many close friendships laughing and crying together but always supported and encouraged. We have seen places in South Australia we had no idea existed and stayed in quaint country pubs where doors fell off the hinges, taps didn’t run and we laughed until we cried. The hospitality shown to us has been exceptional and the meals memorable.

Just one more hill to go… just another gully…

The track was not always spectacular and sometimes Jerry’s link days were tedious along bitumen and country roads. However, with everyone’s company it was never boring. Someone always had a story or walking adventures to tell. Signs come and go… “follow the fence”, “follow the creek”, ”follow the ridge”, “follow the track”, “follow the road” and the arrows always showing the way. Up and over numerous stiles, gates, fences and even through paddocks with resident bulls eyeing us off.

Old Heysen Trail marker

Old Heysen Trail marker

Memories of dolphins hunting for fish at Blow Hole Beach, rainbows over Kings Head, stampeded by cows, the autumn tones of the grape vines, frosty mornings and bald hills in Burra, the ghost at Hallett, the bagpipes and rock ‘n roll in Gladstone Goal, Simon singing on the trail, wedding party on Pichi Richi train, sunrise over Dutchman’s Stern, sunset at Partacoona, overnight camp on the trail at Mt Arden, gale force winds along exposed ridges, dry stone walls, hot tailing past beehives, wedge tail eagle gliding just above our head through a creek bed, colors of the Flinders Ranges and all the undulations and gullies we traversed. Just one more hill to go… just another gully…

The tradition of the silver tray has kept us sustained during the walk. It makes an appearance at morning tea with such delights as Haighs chocolate frogs, Crows and Port colored lollies, cakes, slices… the list goes on and on. On the two weeks away in 2008 the tray appeared at the end of the day under the direction of the Nutty Fruit Cake Committee who made sure no weight was lost on the walk that day. Trevor also kept us energized each walk with a never ending supply of Tim Tams.

Thanks to everybody for their ongoing support and encouragement without which we would not have completed the trail. Thank you also to the many friendships we have made throughout our journey. Special thanks to Jerry and Michelle Foster who have kept us going with tail end stories and encouragement well beyond the call of duty.

Tackling the Heysen Trail has given us the confidence to tackle walking adventures interstate and overseas. We hope the end of the trail in August will be the start of many more adventures to follow.

We did it!!!