A little while ago now I grabbed two of my friends and dragged them along to conquer St Mary Peak with me, the tallest mountain in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia, standing at 1,170 m.
…was to set up a base camp in Wilpena Pound Resort and take two days to do the hike camping on the trail at a bush camp called Cooinda Camp. It can be done as a day hike but I wanted to give my friends the experience of camping on trail.
St Mary Peak loop hike – 21.5kms/13.4miles.
We hit the trail fairly early after getting a tourist to take our photo for us. I was using my Osprey Viva 50L pack after cramming everything into it. I didn’t have trekking poles unfortunately as they refused to work properly after I dropped my pack on one accidentally and bent it. Rocking my trail runners though!
The terrain was rock and dirt with some actual rock climbing involved which was fun.
Had to stop for a quick selfie 😉 My pack weighed about 15.8kgs/34.8lbs at the start of the hike.
Up, Up, Up We Climbed
I had flavored coconut water in my Nalgene bottle which was brilliant! I’ll definitely do that again! Kept me hydrated and gave me lots of energy.
Reaching The Top
After we got to the top of the peak we sat and had a bite to eat while a gorgeous Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby hopped around us trying to check out what we had without getting too close. So cute!
That was the first time I’d seen one in the wild like that before and I was loving every second of it and took soooooooo many photos hehe.
At the very top of the peak! The photos just don’t do the view justice at all. We were extremely high up and could see for what seemed like a hundred kilometers in every direction!
We didn’t stay up there for very long before trying to find the way back down. We lost sight of the trail markers so I climbed back up until I found the last known one and then found the rest of trail and called out to the others. It was hard to follow in places because it wasn’t a “trail” so to speak, it was just slabs of rock until we got down the mountain a bit more and off the “peak”.
Descending down and away from that mountain we were heading for Cooinda Camp. Losing light quickly after the sun went down behind the mountains we found ourselves power-hiking along a pitch black trail with only the light from our head torches listening to the howls of the nearby dingos.
Luckily the closer we got to the camp the less we heard the dingos and by the time we got there we forgot all about them. I was starving so first thing’s first – start dinner!
We all had our dinner and then we had some Back Country apple pie for dessert. Yum yum!
I had my Big Sky Rev 1P tent in my pack and I lent the Lansan 2P to my friend to use but after showing her how to put that one up I couldn’t be bothered setting up mine as well so we both crashed in hers.
I woke up, rolled onto my belly and looked out the door…
… and thought, I climbed that mountain over there and probably all the ones around it trying to get to it! Wow 😀
It was then time for breaky.
Good old sachet oats. Quick and easy.
We then all packed up our gear and reorganized our packs for the hike back to base camp.
It was an easy hike back on what was mostly flat ground with some little rocky sections. We even got to pass some of the locals…
We dropped our packs down at the little homestead ruin before doing another little hike up to a lookout with some pretty good views of the pound. Came back down, collected our packs and strolled back to base camp.
The big winner for me on this hike in terms of experimenting with gear was the coconut water. What an amazing substance it is! A few different flavours to choose from with natural electrolytes. Natures energy drink.
I’m really getting sick of the size of my pack and trying to squeeze everything in it. It’s a 50L so in theory it should be fine for overnighters but even then I’m having to squish everything in. I don’t carry a lot of gear and I have tried to source some of the smallest and lightest stuff and I pack my pack in what I think is the normal way so I may be investing in a larger pack soon. I do love my Osprey Viva 50L and maybe during the summer it’d be fine for overnighters when I don’t have to carry as much clothing and stuff but then again, I’d still like more room for more water so I don’t know. We’ll see 🙂
Another item I love to carry, even in day packs, is a sheet of tyvek. I use my sheet to lay the opposite way to my tents groundsheet (which is made out of the same stuff) but when it’s not used as extra groundsheet I use it to sit on during my trail breaks. I have it folded up in the side pocket of my pack so I can grab it out even with my pack on, open it up as far as I need, whether it be just for my bum or as a picnic blanket to share, it’s awesome stuff!
If you have any questions, tips or comments please feel free to leave them for me 😀