Today's distance: 41.29 km Total: 909.18 km
Today was a day of firsts. First time walking over 40 kilometres in a day, first day of ascending over 800 metres and first day of starting at sunrise and finishing at sunset. Its up there with one of my most favourite and memorable days.
It was also my first day to see a Koala on this trip. Well, I didn't actually see it at first, but I heard it in the middle of the night then found him the next morning.
The walk into Cudlee Creek was a nice easy section, despite having a lack of water and enduring some mild dehydration. When I reached Cudlee Creek cafe it was time to splurge! 1 litre of orange juice, a berry smoothie, fruit and walnut bread and a melting moment, then I was ready to go again. I know that a big day of walking means guiltless calories.
Because of the bush fires, Cudlee Creek Conservation Park is a 'no go zone'. The next section was through Montecute. I was preparing for the steep climb up Montecute hill, but instead I missed the turn off. I had to decide if I turned my already long day into a 45 km day or meet the trail via a road. I chose the latter, which I know now wasn't a good decision.
I trekked up to the trail via Corkscrew Road. A road not designed for any other form of transport other than a vehicle. On one edge of the road was a sheer cliff face and the other side was a guard rail. To add to this, the reason for the road's name is because it is an extremely windy road. While walking up it I realised I put myself in a dangerous position. I felt vulnerable and like a bit of an idiot. I realised that the Ugandan kids walking long distances to school would be feeling what I am right now; unsafe. This experience stuck with me, so I promised myself I will further donate $100 to my fundraiser because I know how terrible it feels.
It felt like I'd aged 50 years when I reached the trail again. I was so happy to see the Heysen Trail sign so I kissed it. But looking back now I'm pretty sure that sign was covered in bird poop. The trail took me on the top of the range with view of Port Adelaide to my right. It lead to Morialta Conservation Park. The views were of the Adelaide CBD now and it hit home as to how far I'd come.
The last 10 kilometres was the waterfall hike through Morialta, a hike I'd done a few times before.
I reached Norton Summit just after sunset. I was able to pitch my tent in the garden of the owners of Summit Hotel. Then, it was time to catch up with some good friends at the hotel, while paying back the owners' generosity by buying a meal or two.
FUNDRAISER UPDATE Less than $3,000 to go until we can buy the van. Thanks to those who have already donated ❤️