Thru Hiking the Lavender Federation Trail – Sept 2018 – Page 5

14 September – Manoora to Webb Gap 21 km

Walking out of Manoora we returned to the main trail and were soon attacked by a magpie, for the first and only time on the trail. it was a half hearted attempt, unlike one on the Heysen Trail, years before, which attacked me repeatedly for over 1km. Along Palmers Road we crested a small range then went down to a valley floor, past a huge electrical sub station and into the town of Waterloo. This is the birthplace of Tom Cruse, a well known pioneer mailman who delivered the mail in far flung localities for years in his trusty and well loved truck. A park in town commemorates his life and serves as a trackhead for the LFT. Here I met some day walkers from Adelaide, who we ran into later in the day at the base of the Tothill Range. The old pub has a collection of pioneer tools and rural memorabilia, but sadly no beer any more!

We crossed the Light River, really just a string of puddles and climbed up to Quin Gap, which cuts through the range with the windfarm on it. The final part of the climb was steep but short and we soon had great views up close of these massive turbines in motion. The turbines are strung out along the ridgeline running North-South. The trail took us over a stile, onto private property and sidled cross country under the base of the windfarm for a few kilometers, before reaching Moller Gap and descending to the next valley floor.

We met the Adelaide day walkers at the intersection of the LFT and the Heysen Trail. We started the climb to Webb Gap, at the top of the Tothill Range. Again it is a steep climb towards the top and we were happy to see the stile at the top where a short trail leads to Webb Gap campsite on the Heysen Trail. Tents were set up, water was in the tank and dehydrated dinner was soaked in the billy to prepare it for heating later on.

I went for a short walk behind the campsite to the top of the range where there is a large area of grass trees in amongst the forest. The view takes in the windfarm on the ridge opposite as well as Lake Apoinga, which appeared to be dry.

We ate dinner, poked sticks into a fire and settled into our tents on an unusually mild and still night. 15 minutes later the wind began to blow, gradually rising to something like gale force. Rain belted down on the tents which were dancing around above us like whirling dervishes and threatening to be blown down. The temperature dropped dramatically indicating that perhaps some of that rain was hail. We spent a largely sleepless night propping up our tents with our arms and hoping for an improvement.