For the last 4 years on New Years day, I like to start the year off right, get up nice and early and take a drive out to Healesville to hike up Mt Riddell. Not sure how, why or when I decided that this was going to be a tradition, but I’d completed it a few times in the past and its kinda stuck now. New Years Day 2020 wasn’t going to stop that.
Our local council been quite busy over the years preparing a new 40km trail that is designed to connect with other trails in our area. The concept for this trail went back prior to Black Saturday fires in 2009 where parts of the old bridges were destroyed by fires and the project seemed to stall as a result. Recently stage 1A was opened which is a 7.5km trail from Lilydale to Yering.
The Glasgow firetrail as its affectionately known as (it doesn’t have an official name) is a brutal unmarked track that follows a rocky riverbed up the side of Mt. Dandenong on the outskirts of Melbourne Victoria. It has an initial rise of about 400m over a distance of 1400m, or a 28% grade. It is as technically challenging navigating through the loose rock as it is physically demanding. It is also a much harder alternative than the popular 1000 steps track located on the other side of Mt.
OK - so way too much time has passed since ive updated this blog. Way too much time. I guess its easy to become so bogged down with home life, study and work and ive had a bit on my plate of recent. In all this time that has passed sadly I feel like I don’t have much to show for it. On the work front, I’m nearly 6 months into a job i’m really loving, working with great people, awesome tech and a heaps to learn.
Despite the rather long week there were just a few more walks to tick off the list. The first being a short 3km return trip to the Rainbow Lake just outside of Perisher. It was a nice stroll through the snow gums. The water had a shade of pink to it which cause by some type of water lily. After that short stroll we drove into the Bimbiri wilderness to have a look at the Blue Waterpools and the Coolamine Homestead.
Sleep – its totally overrated, especially when you are the one not getting any sleep to begin with. The overnight weather was perfect. About 10 degrees, not cold at all, but I had made a critical mistake yesterday, one that I didn’t realise in time and that was not applying sun-cream. I was burnt. My legs, arm and face all copped a lot of exposure on the range. Trying to get comfortable wasn’t happening, I’d roll on my side and my burnt legs stuck, on my back and my arms were sticking on the tent floor.
This was the start of the main event. We had well intentioned plans at the start to take on the 11 peaks walk at Mt Kosciuszko National Park. Michael and I had many discussions about just about every aspect of this walk up to this point. From the extra weight in our packs, camping at Mullers Pass, daytime weather, night weather, short term forecasts, amount of time available, the amount of snow out on the range, the amount of walking we had already covered up to this point, the way we were feeling at this point etc.
So with my foot about as good as it was going to be with the recovery time I had, today was another test before we drove a further 320kms north. This was a critical point. If my body wasn’t going to hold up then I was going to make the call to come home early. The drive up to Mt Buffalo isn’t the nicest of drives. Its slow, uphill and full of curves.
Well today was the big one one. With a bung foot I made the call to not do this long hike in the hope that I still had a chance to complete some of the other walks we had planned later in the week. I dropped my friend Michael off at the trail head nice and early so that he could try to get ahead of the heat and I spent the day soaking my feet in hot baths of Epsom salts, icing my foot and munching on anti-inflammatories.
Leaving Mansfield in the morning I had pain, a lot of pain…. Show stopping pain in my right foot. I knew it was bad as I hobbled around and it threatened the rest of the week. We were due to take a day out at Mt Buffalo but given the development, we decided to take an easy day and drove out to the Kelly Tree located less than a km off the Tatong-Tolmie Rd.
So it begins, a week of epic hiking planned and it started a day earlier than expected. Lucky for me, I had an easy morning planned in preparation. We left my house around 1:30pm on Sunday with a drive out to our first hike starting at the Mt Buller Alpine Village. The drive is fairly straight forward until you start heading up the Mt Buller Road where there are a series of hairpin turns as you ascend the mountain.
So in an effort to keep on training for the big week I decided to tackle the Wols track located in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. I really do like this NP as it about 4km away from my place, its located in bushland, has a lot of variety and distances as far as I would ever want to do in a day. More on that another time. First walk 50m of vertical up this hill……