After spending 44 consecutive days hiking through some of the most stunning landscapes South Australia has to offer, Murray Bridge woman Dani Dutschke already misses the challenging lifestyle.
The 25-year-old walked the length of the Heysen Trail in a bid to raise $16,000, which would buy a van to safely transport Ugandan children to school and water storage for a women's shelter in Jinja, Uganda.
Dani completed her 1152.57-kilometre trek from Parachilna to Cape Jervis on Monday, September 21, and said although her feet and ankles were still swollen, she misses the freedom of spending her days simply walking.
"When I finished it, I was really stoked - I couldn't stop smiling," she said.
"I'm proud of myself for being able to finish it, and I'm happy I got to experience so many different things and meet different people."
She battled through severe weather, including rain and strong wind, but the beauty of the landscape and walking some days with fellow Heysen Trail hikers made it worth it.
"On the first day, as soon as I started walking, I was crying; it was so awesome, such a beautiful walk," she said.
"I spent the first night nestled between the ranges, and as the sun came down, they were glowing orange.
"One day I was sitting eating, and there were emus. I thought the emus didn't notice me, then they came up to me and scared me a bit, but they were curious."
She saw endangered animals like yellow-footed rock wallabies, and has a new-found appreciation for birds.
Although this was her first long solo hike, planning for her next hike has already begun, as she hopes to tackle the Overland in Tasmania before another longer hike at the end of next year.
So far she has raised $11,240, but hopes that as more people hear she actually completed the hike, they will make a donation.
To donate to Dani's cause, visit www.mycause.com.au/page/230102/safe-women-and-children-project