Day7: Hawker to Rawnsley Park Station - The Welshman and the Mawson - CycleBlaze

December 13, 2021

Day7: Hawker to Rawnsley Park Station

Did someone say Corrugations?

Off at 8:00am seems to be my default, and so it was today. Didn't need a sleeping bag last night. I decided to go the scenic route and not take the shorter and more direct road option, despite the heat 😁 

I thought today was my hardest day. I have a whole body ache going on. Started off pleasant and then turned in to a stony technical trail with multiple sandy creek beds...which was very absorbing and enjoyable to be fair...just slow going. 

The trail leading out of Hawker. I don't know why I took a photo of this. Probably to babble on about the purplose of life and the choices we make. When one direction was called "Dump Road" the choice was obvious - I didn't need a dump so I chose the other path 😂 And guess what? Sure enough, there was a rubbish dump at the end of Dump Road 😏
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Looking back South towards Melrose way. On the way out of Hawker, Metropolis of the North
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Err...not sure where this was but I took a photo. Would have been a few k out of Hawker, but before Mt Little Station. In the middle of nowhere, probably 😏
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Some stunning vistas today. Again, between Hawker and Mt Little
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A ways out from Hawker, you hit Mt Little Station. Lots of Mawson Trailer's stay here. I managed to score a bit of air-con by soaking my neck gaiter in a bit of rain water from one of the tanks, being careful not to take the mickey like... water is precious out here.  Mt Little has lots of camp sites with quirky names dotted around, primarily a 4wd destination I guess. You'll have to take my word for  that as I did not take any photos due to having to concentrate so much on riding and not catapulting myself off the bike due to avoiding large rocks and sandy ruts and stuff. Go figure. 

This was a particularly knarly sectiion just before entering Mt Littledom. How I managed to ride down here without stacking I don't know, but it wouldn't have been pretty. Or smart. Walk next time...
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Same section of track...just a wider perspective...
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On leaving Mt Little I encountered some people. People on the track. TWO cars. Holy Moly! I panicked big style. What should I do? Just casually ride past...nothing to see is just a normal day in the outback with some dude covered head to toe in varying  shades of black polyester...just going for a ride on a 36°C  day.  Same old. Or do I stop and chat? Well, I kind of casually said "G'day" and went to pass by. As usual, life interjected, and as I made a deft turn to navigate yet another sandy breek bed, my front wheel dug in and I toppled sideways off the steed. 

This was the first time steed and I had become suddenly disconnected. Of course I blame the SPD's as always.  "How embarrassing" was the first thing that came out of my mouth and then we proceeded to have a chat. They were a bunch of very nice Sydney folk staying at the station for a while. After 5 minutes of talking and exchanging pleasantries, one of them asked me if they could see my face. At that point I took off my shades and face wrap and stuff 😁

After that entertaing encounter. No, the ONLY encounter of the trip actually on the trail, I soldiered on and alighted upon a delightful road section.  And guess what? I rode with no hands on the bars. I road slalom style through the white lines in the middle of the road...I made big windmill patterns with my arms as I rode no handed slalom style through the white lines down the middle of the road. Mountain Biking is so boring. precious. I get excited when I see stuff like this. Particularly when there is heat haze involved. Which there was. Lots. And dead stuff on the side of the road.
Heart 0 Comment 0 was my birthday. I thought I had rewarded myself with the ultimate birthday present in terms of a suffer fest score. Which is true, it has to be said, but it could have been so much worse. Perhaps I was receiving a gift from above, because for most of the day the sun was shrouded in a just about adequate veil of cloud...for which I proffered thanks and gratitude for... throughout the day 🙏

The sky put on a real show for me today. There was a spectacular line of cloud that ambled along with me, but wasn't threatening in any way, as well as its more foreboding brethren further down South. 

Cloud formations...
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I wish my camera skills could have done this more justice 🙄
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A while later I reluctantly turned right off this wonderfully arse friendly and entertaining road and steeled myself mentally for the 28k of Morlana Corrugated Scenic Torture Drive.

It was hard. It was momentum sapping at times. Actually, always. Criss crossing over constantly to try and find the line of least resistance where the 4wd and weathering had not wreaked it's carnage. The grass is always greener on the other side. That was deep.

And this is a tree.
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Taking a Beef Jerky break next to one of the many go-too-fast kamikaze creek bed crossings
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Just a bit of random scenery like. Not as pretty as Wales, eh?!
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Same shot...but in landscape mode
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And this was the view I had to the left of me when I took the previous shot. I know they call it panoramic mode on the camera. I have some of them. But they're all mine see.
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Me trying to look unflustered by the realisation that I have zero power left in the old legs and knowing there is still some way to go 😂
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Anyway. The self flagellation eventually ended and I reached the end of the Morlana Scenic Torture Drive...and MORE ROAD. Yay! 

Happy Birhday to me, Happy Birthday to Me, Happy birthday dear Rrrrob(o) [if in Australia], Happy Birthday to Me 😂
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However, this last stretch seemed to take an age, but when I finally hit the left turn for Rawnsley the weather gods gave me one last present and presented me with a tailwind...

And here was me thinking I could smash it out to Wilpena. I didn't have it in me. Perhaps if the shop had been open and refreshment was available I may have come around. But in the end I resigned myself to staying and proceeded to hang around the camp kitchen like a dusty vagabond.  Afterbwhatvseemed like an age, and an excruciatingly long check in process...I rewarded myself with the appropriate purchases....

"The food of Champions" as my Welsh athlete friend said 😏
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There were slim pickings in the shop...perhaps due to them being on summer ooening hours. Being a sheep station they obviously had a freezer or two full of lamb...but it's nowhere near as sweet and tender as the lovely lush Welsh grass fed stuff of Cymru 😋 So I went for beans, rice and tuna for tea, with pre-dinner treat of salted potatoes otherwise known as 'chips' over here and not the queen's english name of crisps. Which was handy, because I was able to have cold beans and salty crips for breakfast the next day.

Feeling satiated, I was able to put my tent up and chill on the bench outside the kitchen for the rest of the evening before heading off to bed to contemplate the miniscule 25k leg to Wilpena Pound in the morning.

That evening, whilst spectacular, I suspected I would not need to set my alarm due to the cacophony these Cockatoos were making at dusk...and would do at dawn.
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My accomodation was OK to be fair but the aircon could have been better

Rawnsley Bluff in the distance
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Until the next time 😀

Today's ride: 94 km (58 miles)
Total: 686 km (426 miles)

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