I awoke after a restless night’s effort to form pockets of warm air in the sleeping bag. The air was still cold and though awake, I continued to lie watching others get busy. When finally up, I saw that some frost had settled on the tarp but Tresh had worked his fire magic once again and the flames drew me closer. The shared feeling was that we were keen to make our way down to Melrose and so, much quicker than the previous mornings we organised our gear and donned our packs for the last time.
The descent seemed swift as we chatted our way down, a confidant sun hinting we had too many layers on which was confirmed when passing a large group of t-shirt wearers bound for the top. Though Shane wasn’t with us, we always knew that his spirit was but roll me roughly down a scree, if said man wasn’t walking straight at us up the track! There before our eyes was Shane! At least his double was, or possibly a long lost twin. Either way we agreed that Shane moves in mysterious ways and was not to be underestimated. Or was it just Mount Remarkable at work?
After celebratory photos at the memorial we stepped of the mount and onto bitumen, crossed the bike snaring swing-bridge over the creek and lobbed into to the bike friendly Over The Edge cycle shop, where fresh coffee and brownies were to be had.
On both this, and last year’s four-day hike, I had felt some apprehension at arriving back in the urban world. Being out in nature in the way we had, crossing the contours of the land, living side by side with natural forms, textures and smells and feasting on vistas is a soul-feeding, spirit lifting experience. Moreover, any inconvenience, sores or tiredness were diminished in the balm of the natural world. To this Melrose was a gentle and polite returning point, unlike the garish material clutter I felt at entering Victor harbour last year.
And then there we were rolling easily along the bitumen the old Land cruiser engine purring south bound for Adelaide, for traffic and noise but knowing, beyond that, in the beautiful surrounds of the Fleurieu Peninsula, lay home, loved ones and lives we were happy to embrace.
The above map, though lacking in high-res-sophistication, gives a good overview of the lay of the land in the national park and our passage through it. In total I estimate we walked about 60-65 km. The three dots indicate our camps.