Retired Darke Peak farmer John Schumann, who took three years to complete each stage of the Heysen Trail, spoke of his experience as a guest speaker of the Probus Club, District of Cleve, on August 1.
After being introduced by Marlene Gaston, John told of how he became interested in the 1200-kilometre walk.
The first 50 kilometres of the trail was established in 1958 but the full project was not completed until 1992.
The trail is clearly marked by large sign posts with red arrows and is closed during the summer months due to the risk of bushfires.
Mr Schumann’s presentation showed striking images of the South Australian countryside along the trail, extending from beaches on the Fleurieu Peninsula to waterfalls and vineyards of the Mount Lofty Ranges and cliffs and farmland along the trail to Blinman in the far northern Flinders Ranges.
He walked the trail in stages over the three years, capturing photographs of every kind of wildlife, including koalas, rock wallabies, emus (with babies) and kangaroos.
Mr Schumann called on his wife, brother and numerous family and friends to drop him off and pick him up from various locations during his hiking and he occasionally used the bus.
He joined ‘Friends of the Heysen Trail’ and got to know some of the walkers well, walking with large groups, small groups and sometimes on his own.
Groups always have two leaders, one at the front and one at the back, and they stop for ‘smoko’, lunch and dinner.
Along the way, sometimes Friends of the Heysen Trail turned up with coffee and cake, which was always a special treat.
There is a podium, set up for photoshoots for completing the walk, near Parachilna Gorge, where the trail ends.
On some parts of the trail, Mr Schumann was knee-deep in cereal crops but not all farmers allow hikers to traverse through their property, which can mean long detours.
Ruth Weiss gave the vote of thanks on behalf of Probus members.