Nigel, Tresh and I left Adelaide the day before driving out from underneath a heavy rainstorm towards the scattered ranges of the lower Flinders. We carbed-up at the Melrose Hotel whilst studying the maps and then took our anticipation to bed upon wet grass alongside a farm track.
A clear morning greeted us (the first of many) as we busied with last minute backpack stuffing; last chance to leave behind any superfluous gear. At 9 am we commenced our walk at the foot of Mt. Remarkable. The trail wound around the NE side at a respectful climb, leading us across occasional rock scree as we found a rhythm to our pace and adjusted our bodies to heavy packs (did I really need everything in it?). It took 2.5 hrs to reach the summit which stands just short of 1000m above sea level and represented for us about a 600m ascent. After chatting to other hikers we descended on the western side along a fire track to a saddle with long views to the north over a gradually sloping gully to ever-distant ranges. Continuing west, we undulated with the land along the Heysen Trail until we reached the Mungola Hut track on our left. We lunched on an out-crop before setting off on a SW bearing along a track that sits just below the ridge of the long muscly arm of Black Range. A canopy of interlocking foliage protected us from the sun as we sweated our way gradually upwards.
We were heading for Mt. Cavern where we intend to camp, though to get there we must leave the track and cross-country. A small roo pad to our right invited us away from the human track and we pushed past matchstick trees to an exposed rock ridgeline that caught our breath with expansive views across the National park, the Spenser Gulf and further to the Eyre Peninsula. Our attention then drew in close as we rock-hopped cautiously along the ridge with challenging winds testing our balance. We looked for a less precarious route closer to the scrub but it was frequently too thick to pass and so our passage becomes a threaded path stitching together the clearer and broader spaces amongst the ridges tapestry.
Fast fading light was diminishing our chances of reaching Mt. Cavern and so we began to seek out a suitable place to spend the night. Fortunately, a table of flatter land which had become the home to a spindly wood made a ideal, if not compact place where we could set up for the night. With overlapping guy-lines, we pitched a tightly packed camp, and around a warming damp-wood fire got on with the business of cooking well-earned meals. This particular place was nameless on the map so we named it Mt. Shane, in affection for our fellow Wollemi who was unable to do this trek with us, but we felt was there in spirit. Also absent were Franca and Iain. Overall we were a much diminished group, but just the right size for our diminutive camp.