current water availability

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shirl
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 12 8:45am 
Post subject: current water availability
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We are almost ready to start!
Next Thursday (Sept 27) sees Bonny, Sue, Lou and I starting the Quorn to Parachilna section of the Trail. The Friends of the Hans Heysen web site has been a wonderful help in our planning and we have especially appreciated the personal input from so many people in this Forum. But one last request! Does anyone have any knowledge of the water supplies in the tanks and on standing water right now? We most definitely plan to carry sufficient supplies but it would also be encouraging if we knew there was also water waiting for us at each of our camps. Thanks yet again to anyone who can give us this up-to-date info.
Shirl
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Julian
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 12 12:09pm 
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Hi Shirl,
Slight correction for you, we are Friends of the Heysen Trail, named after Hans Heysen, however we don't claim to run his website, though members of the Heysen family are members of the Friends.
Quorn to Parachilna water should be OK.
Mayo Hut should have penty, two tanks one attached to the dunny and one to the hut. Red Range should be OK too, however will ask some walkers who came through there recently and confirm that. Wilpena, no problem. Yanyanna Hut should be OK however will check that and Elatina Water.
Water at Aroona all the time from the spring and that leaves Pigeon Bore pump that should provide some water with added lead so your engine doesn't ping!!
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Last edited by Julian on Sat Sep 22, 12 4:34pm; edited 1 time in total
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shirl
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 12 12:46pm 
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Thanks so much yet again. I'll certainly report back when the trek is over.

Shirl
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shirl
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 12 5:35pm 
Post subject: Water at Mr Arden?
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We're at Eyre Depot.
Tank is bone dry.
Have enough water to reach Mt Arden.
Any water here?
If not, how suggest we walk out?
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Julian
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 12 7:13pm 
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If Mt Arden tank is empty, hopefully unlikely then walk out east through Arden Vale and Warren Gorge. It's about a 4 km hike using 4WD tracks, that will get you onto Arden Vale Road.The Eyre Depot tank and the tank at the base of Mount Arden are the hardest for us to check.
I wonder if Eyre Depot has a leak.
You could ring Graham Stokes (08) 8648-6462 who owns that property and see if he knows the state of the tank.
Good luck
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jez
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 12 7:54pm 
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Eyre Depot tank is in a bit of a rain shadow, being west of the rain-inducing ranges.
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old Jack
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 5, 12 6:07pm 
Post subject: Eyre Depot Water tank
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We walked Mt Arden to Thompson Gap on Tuesday 25/9/12 and found the trail in sections was poorly marked, new 4wd tracks that are not on the map and both waterfall diverts difficult to find when travelling North to South.

The water tank at Eyre Depot Camp was 3/4 full but the tap is not working, we managed to unscrew the tap by out of the tank by hand and tried to clear the blockage which is in the tap body, unfortunately we were unsuccessful so to access water the tap must be unscrewed which requires a large effort when using your hands and no tools.

cheers, old Jack.
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jez
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 5, 12 6:16pm 
Post subject: Re: Eyre Depot Water tank
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old Jack wrote:
We walked Mt Arden to Thompson Gap on Tuesday 25/9/12 and found the trail in sections was poorly marked, new 4wd tracks that are not on the map and both waterfall diverts difficult to find when travelling North to South.


Thanks, we always welcome feedback. I'll let the relevant person know of the difficulties you experienced.

In regards to 4WD tracks not being on the map, this is a tricky one as the basemap is the State Government's topographic map series. Will let them know but that is about all we can do.

old Jack wrote:
The water tank at Eyre Depot Camp was 3/4 full but the tap is not working


Thanks, will let the maintenance person for that section know so it can be fixed.
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shirl
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 12 12:54pm 
Post subject: An amazing walk!
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We are all back home now from our Quorn to Parachilna walk. It was an amazing trek, especially from Wilpena to Parachilna. The beauty of this section defies description! I feel so privileged to have been there.

But our trek was not without its problems.

When Eyre Depot's tank was completely dry on Friday 28 September, thankfully we were able to phone my husband who then contacted this forum for help. Your advice to ring the Station owner should the next campsite be without water was very gratefully received (thankfully, though, the next tank at Mt Arden South had plenty of water).

Then, at Trezona Campground on Tuesday 9 October, both tanks were dry but thankfully we had carried water from Middlesight Water Hut plus a kind 4WD couple gave us as much water as we wanted.

I fully realise the guidebook stresses that you must carry water for the whole section, Quorn to Hawker, but given the distance I wonder how many groups could realistically carry that amount. In dry times and without access for water tankers to the campsites (as in some National Parks), the reliability of water must be a huge problem for everyone.

I must add here, that even though I academically knew that Aroona had a spring, nowhere did anyone say that there were taps all over the campground area and that they would be all flowing with beautiful fresh water! Given our worry about water at previous campsites, we had even lumped huge amounts into this campsite 'just in case'. Never before would I have said a running water tap would look like liquid gold!

Thank heavens we had a GPS! Without it there would have been several times when we would have become terribly lost as the markers in various places seemed to be spaced too far apart. Perhaps would it be wise to actually instruct through walkers in this section to not even attempt it without a GPS?

On the topic of navigation, to this minute I have no idea where I went wrong on our very first day! According to my reading of the map in the Guidebook, we had to get off the bus from Adelaide 2 kms before Quorn where a gravel road that becomes Pinkerton Rd crosses the highway. We dutifully did just that, but then became what must be the first lost tourists in the little township of Quorn while we searched for this Pinkerton Rd, ultimately finding it on the other side somewhere! I am amazed the others in my group still wanted to start the journey with me...

We ended at Parachilna Trailhead by getting a lift from Sally Henry who runs a little shuttle service at the end of the Trail. She came out from Blinman for $75 and took us to the Prairie Hotel. And what an incredible way to finish the trek! I couldn't recommend this place enough. We stayed in one of the Fettlers' Cottages and dined in the hotel's amazing gourmet dining room. It was an experience that we will never ever forget and a perfectly fitting way to finish this amazing trek.

In retrospect, perhaps it might have been easier to trek backwards, Parachilna to Quorn. This would have made it very easy to carry water to Bridle Gap after crossing only 10kms of the flat Pound, and also would have ensured the utmost early enjoyment of the trail in that northern section before the hard grind of those gibber rocks between Hawker and Quorn. But then, it would have meant a 490kms bus ride out from Adelaide to start with and of course we would have had to swop that unbelievable Prairie Hotel for one in Quorn as our place of celebration!!

Thanks to everyone on this forum who helped our planning in so many ways, and especially for the back-up support when we found there was no water in Eyre Depot. It was really comforting to know that such warm friendship and instant help was readily available.

I am already looking forward to our next year's trek on the Heysen!

Kind regards,
Shirl
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jez
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 12 1:29pm 
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That's fantastic that you describe it as being privileged. It's a great section of trail.

Thanks for your feedback.

shirl wrote:
at Trezona Campground on Tuesday 9 October, both tanks were dry but thankfully


This is unfortunate, and always a risk where facilities are shared by car campers. They can at times use all the water - not sparingly - without thought for hikers. When we build new campsites, like Worlds End near Burra, it is away from the car campsite.

shirl wrote:
guidebook stresses that you must carry water for the whole section, Quorn to Hawker


The publisher of the guidebooks is the Dept for Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Yes that particular task is almost impossible.

shirl wrote:
I academically knew that Aroona had a spring, nowhere did anyone say that there were taps all over the campground area and that they would be all flowing with beautiful fresh water


The webpage for that campground mentions the spring, and the other page for the hut mentions "spring-fed water nearby". The quality of the water varies wildly from year to year depending on seasonal conditions. In 2008 it was yellowed, strongly discoloured water. In 2009 and 2010 it was dry, no taps worked. There are tanks on the shelters and the hut. The wording can be amended but I'm not sure how else it could be written (except perhaps to include some of what I said above).

shirl wrote:
Perhaps would it be wise to actually instruct through walkers in this section to not even attempt it without a GPS?


I agree, walking with a GPS saves the little "getting lost" moments on a trail. You don't need to explore whether the trail goes this way or that when you have lost markers (or they are not there).

Unfortunately some people interept such instructions (such as "walk with a GPS") as "you don't need to use a guidebook", or "I don't bother tracking where I am, I have a GPS", and they get lost because of this laziness. So it's a fine line for us to offer advice like that. Some people just don't know how to best use one anyway and get lost because of that.

shirl wrote:
According to my reading of the map in the Guidebook, we had to get off the bus from Adelaide 2 kms before Quorn where a gravel road that becomes Pinkerton Rd crosses the highway. We dutifully did just that, but then became what must be the first lost tourists in the little township of Quorn


Oops, sounds like you didn't get off at the correct place. Pinkerton Road is 1.95km from the level crossing in Quorn, back towards Port Augusta. If you found it "on the other side of the town" you were on the wrong side of the town to start with. It would be tricky getting dropped off by bus in unfamiliar place. If I were unfamiliar with a town and the bus driver didn't know, I would get dropped off in town at a spot where I could be certain where I was on the map (say, near the level crossing) and walk back. A longer walk but it's an absolute must to know where I was on the map.

shirl wrote:
Thanks to everyone on this forum who helped our planning in so many ways, and especially for the back-up support when we found there was no water in Eyre Depot.


This was also unfortunate. The tap is being fixed shortly. A note on the campsite page in May 2011 (so just 18 months ago) noted the tank was almost completely empty. Eyre Depot is in a rain shadow, the tank has been empty from time to time. This isn't helped by the tank being relatively new and it takes some time to completely fill it, so it is being used prior to filling to full. The text on the campsite page will be amended to note this warning.
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 12 5:09am 
Post subject: Current water availability
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I'm Shirley's tiwn Jeremy and I fully reiterate her comments - particularly those expressing her gratitude for the great work you do via this Forum. It was indeed very reassuring and comforting to know we had your backup when we lobbed in to the waterless Eyre Depot. Thank you so very much indeed.

I'd like to make 2 points: (1) Re the advice for all through walkers to use a GPS in addition to the trail notes. I appreciate your comments re the general public's interpretation of such a statement and that it falls most definitely within the maxims of "pitching to the lowest common denominator" + "never assume" etc....however; given that the trail was very poorly marked in some places (particularly skirting Mt Elm), I feel that the Forum has a responsibility by its very nature to emphasise far more strongly the use (maybe compulsory ?) of a GPS in addition to trek notes. (2) The Trail closure as of November 1st: I realise that the determination of this date is not within your control; but, given the enormous input you as a Forum have, I would like to see the idea promulgated that perhaps this closure date should be a little more arbitrary and should be reviewed towards the latter part of each year. The determining factor should be the amount of rainfall experienced in each year up to the date of review. Personally, I'd like to see the date moved forward to October 1st as a default date anyway. So much safer.

I thank you again for your wonderful assistance. I'll be back!

Bonny

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Warwick harper
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 12 7:22am 
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I read with interest the comments re GPS on the northern sections of the trail. What has happened to old fashioned map reading, compass skills and being able to read the lay of the land?
What happens if you do not have these skills and the GPS fails?
Maybe the notes should emphasize more strongly the need to have basic navigational skills when walking in remote areas.
On the question of trail markers, please do not over mark the trail as it takes away the sence of remoteness if we walk from marker to marker. Too many markers would give inexperienced walkers a false sense of security.
I recently walked from Melrose to Parachilna without a GPS and was not once geographically embarrassed. I found the trail adequately marked.
On subject of taps on water tanks, I found the tap at Stoney Creek also blocked. From memory this tap and the one at Eyre Depot are gate valve types. Perhaps a length of flexible electrical wire could be attached to the tank to poke through the tap to clear the debris
that caused the blockage.
Warwick
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 12 8:06am 
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Warwick - I hear you and strongly agree with your comments.

We, as a very experienced long distance trekking group, certainly have all those navigational skills you mentioned (with a bonus of an in-depth knowledge of geomorphology) but still welcomed the reassurance of our GPS.

I think maybe that I did not make myself clear on 2 points: (1) Not all walk-through walkers have the requisite experience and (2) The Forum in particular, because of its justifiably high profile as a source of information, has a responsibilty to emphasise far more strongly the absolute necessity for would-be walkers to seriously evaluate their navigational skills prior to attempting the trek.

Cheers Warwick ... and once again accolades to the Forum members!

Bonny
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RodHassles
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 12 4:26pm 
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G/Day all and glad to hear that shirl and group finished the walk, in spite of a few hickups.
Re GPS use my son and I walked melrose to Parachilna in July and often used the GPS when the markers were lost behind a tree or obscured by other obsticals.
While not life threatening it saved a lot of back tracking etc when we continued on following what looked like a track only to find to the goats had preceeded us.
We use the GPS to get coodinates and then read the map to see where we should have been.
I also believe that a lot of grief could have been saved in the past with lostwalkers if they had GPS and used the backtracking feature when lost. I have played with this feature and it works well.
To Warwick and the old fasion skills of reading a compass, what do you do when you have lost the bloody thing.
I have walked the full 1200km trail now and not once has the GPS failed.
I tend to agree with you re over marking the trail, but as long as the potentiol walkers are made aware of the fact that they may need GPS or compass or both and the skills to use them.
Re the water tanks in July the tank at Grays Hut was empty but the toilet tank was ok, it appears from our forensic investigations that cattle had turned the tap on as there were hoof marks around on the muddied ground.
We also noted that the tanks at trail end was hard to operate and I suspect it was dripping so some one had hammered the top to prevent this.
I was wondering if insted of taps a simple pvc lift pump would prevent any leakages and accidental drainage.
When Trent and I walked we had all tanks well endowed with water but we always had an eye out for extra supplies such as water troughs for stock and and sign of water in the creeks.
We did not have to accdess any water other than the camp tanks.
P.S. God looked after us also with 100% perfect weather.
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 12 5:16pm 
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Hi again Rod! So many thanks for your comments. You appear to be very much of our ilk - ready to embrace technology yet, at the same time, well armed with the 'old' and basic building block skills. What worries us results from the old adage "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing". Too often we see these days the typical 'gung-ho' types (usually young, but not always, but always full of self confidence) who - although physically fit - translate a few over-night long distance hikes in their local National Park to the ability to walk a long, multi-night distance in unfamiliar terrain. It is to these types that the warnings especially need to be addressed.

Cheers Rod,
Bonny and sisters
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