Thru Hiking the Lavender Federation Trail – Sept 2018 – Page 13

23 September – Keyneton to Springton 23 Km

Tents were meticulously positioned the previous night to catch the rising suns rays but it was all for nought as cloud blew in overnight and blocked it out. With no frost, the temperature was a bit warmer than previous mornings.

The spur trail took us past the Lutheran Church which has an ivy encrusted bell tower, still in use to call the faithful to prayer. The bell was cast in Silesia in the 1860s and is still going strong.

Back on the LFT, we start by walking through paddocks, then pick up an old road corridor with a broken down stone wall on one side and a wire fence on the other. We are soon inspecting a ruined stone house right next to the trail. On the Heysen Trail, some of these ruins have been repaired for use by hikers. Perhaps this will happen on the LFT later.

Outcrops of rocks started to appear around us. A track took us up to Innesfree Station which has dressage facilities and stables but no horses to be seen. Next to an extensive lake there is also a large area under vines. The trail led us past the station house and through a scenic valley with massive bouldery outcrops to our left. A boggy creek had to be crossed with no obvious way through – we fanned out and found a way across downstream, avoiding the need to take our boots off and wade. Soon after, the trail seemed to come out into a farmers backyard but there was no-one about so we kept going.

Miles Smith Road fell away into the valley of the Marne River. Near the bridge over the Marne, was Lartunga Station with many outbuildings. The Marne was the largest river we had seen so far with pools of water and running at its normal depth. The road climbed gradually afterwards, then we went through fields with scatterings of enormous old gum trees. Another old drystone wall was followed amid fields of cattle. A lady on a farm quad was checking her cattle but paid us no attention as we walked across her land – her dog, sitting on the back, at least barked at us! I like to thank land owners for allowing us onto their land where possible.

Coming into Springton we passed more vineyards, some Highland cattle, some alpacas, used to protect herds of sheep and St Johns Lutheran Church. We made straight for the general store and an ice cream.The proprietor was full of bad news for us – the B & B has closed down, there is no other accommodation and there is no general store or pub in Tungkillo. That meant that we had to resupply from here to last us for the final 5 days of the hike. Could be worse because luckily our man had a supply of pasta sides, 2 minute noodles, biscuits, salami and tuna. We bought up big and returned several times in the afternoon.

For us, it was back to the oval. We were by now connoisseurs of country South Australian ovals and could write a book on the subject! This one was equipped with a covered 3 sided shelter, clean toilets and plenty of seats. We went for a look around town and saw Herbigs tree, where the pioneer family lived for 5 years. Those pioneers were tough. Today, the cold wind whistles through the tree and I couldn’t imagine spending 5 minutes in the tree! At the top end of town is a small estate of new houses being built. On Springton Road, up from the General Store is a rambling old house of Germanic origin, painted cream and green, which I want to take home with me!

The publican rises to the occasion with pub pizzas for us that evening. The SANFL Grand Final has just been won, controversially and the pub banter is lively. A police siren screamed through the main street eliciting a comment from the publican that 3 LFT hikers were holding up the post office. I said something about a slow getaway!