Sunday morning Shane and I set off early to explore Mt. Hayfield. This walk was one of many in a book of 20 km loop walks in the Adelaide area complied by a group of avid bush walkers who sought out challenging full day walks.
Our walk started with a quick diversion to the Ingallala Falls, we then set off, map and directions in hand on a hilly circuit that would take us around then up to Mt. Hayfield before returning via the creek that becomes Ingallala.
Mt. Hayfield is mostly home to a pine plantation but in parts is bordered by or penetrated with patches of native wood. The majority of this walk had us walking the border where these two met. On the one side the straight, upward-stretching pines and on the other the twisting tangle of natives. Order and disorder side by side. The north western edge of the forest borders farm land and sweeping views of the rolling landscape around Yankalilla.
On the map the track stood out clear enough, but on the ground the reality was less discernible and on a couple of occasions we strayed from the intended path. Usually after a short time the conversation would be broken with the question, “Is this the right way”?
This would not be the first time that chatting has led to my ‘missing the turn’. However, my lapsed attention has always been bought to focus by the innate sense that ‘something is not right here’. Together, our shared wits, a combination of deduction and intuition, always returned us to the correct path.
Water was a regular feature of the walk, mostly in the form of creeks but also a still, lake-like dam. The waters bubble was never far from our ears as we walked beside or crossed over these vital water arteries along the way, frequently punctuated with waterfalls of varying sizes. At one we sat for lunch watching grey replace blue above us marking the imminent arrival of forecast rain.
The summit left little impression but below and around it the mixture of old and new greens in the pine trees were more endearing.
An aisle through them took us to a corridor of natives trees and the Ingallala bound creek and using roo tracks through the scrub we followed the waters gentle descent to the abrupt falls and the end of the walk.