Thru Hiking the Lavender Federation Trail – Sept 2018 – Page 3

12 September – Watervale to Mintaro 15 km

The general store opened at 8am so we had a leisurely pack up. It was worth waiting for as the friendly couple cooked us up a great breakfast involving lashings of bacon and eggs! Don’t miss it! We tottered off up the hill past a large winery and fields of broad beans. We were grateful to be climbing onto the flanks of Mt Horrocks because a wind was blowing direct from the Antarctic. As we climbed higher there were some great views of Watervale and the surrounding countryside. Away to the south it was raining so the wet weather gear was kept handy.

The trail climbs to a shoulder of Mt Horrocks. Its a shame that it doesn’t go to the top of this mountain but today, the shoulder was enough. The icy wind up there frequently blew us off course and it was clearly no place to linger. Walkers here are asked to “Follow Fence” as the trail descends to and through fields of wheat, canola and broad beans. We rounded up a flock of sheep as we moved forward – two of their number had strayed into an adjoining wheat paddock and bleated pathetically to rejoin their friends.

We met a group of 5 day walkers from Adelaide who were dressed for the Antarctic. Its always nice to meet other track users because almost without exception, bushwalkers are good people.

Along Kadlunga Road we started to see some drystone walls, no doubt built when labour was cheap and rocks were plentiful but an absolute ornament to the landscape compared to the modern barbed wire fence. Beekeepers were working the hives near Kadlunga Station and it occurred to me that this really is a land of milk and honey. A bit further on the old slate mine is still in operation. Suddenly slate is everywhere and I long to take several pieces back to my garden for stepping stones but my pack is heavy enough as it is. This is slate of renown, having been used in many early, prominent Adelaide buildings.

We arrive in Mintaro and face the same challenge in finding a B & B. Two night minimum, booked out, no answer, pub has no rooms! At the oval we set up tents again in shelters which face the basketball courts. We walked around this town which has so many old stone buildings, many restored, others in disrepair, some dating back to the 1850s. There must be restrictions on what can be built here because everything looks old!

We ate at the Magpie and Stump Hotel and were mighty unwilling to move from their cosy fire but eventually walked back to our tents in the cold.