Monday, October 18, 2004

Interlude: (Cre--e-ack!)

(aka: hiking, trekking, rambling, tramping...)

Call it what you will, it's a wonderful outdoor activity. Unfortunately, little Missy is not yet old enough to be taken on a decent hike and looking after her takes precedence at the moment (ie: she requires a bit more TLC at age 2 than she will at age 5 (?!)). Consequently, I haven't been on a bushwalk for over a year.

...until yesterday when, having received leave of absence from P, I joined a group of 14 Boroondara Bushwalkers, and went for an 18 km walk in the Bunyip State Park east of Gembrook.

Melbourne is blessed in that very remote spots are only a couple of hours drive away from a sprawling metropolis of ~3 million people. In fact, they're not places you'd be advised to go on your own: people tend to vanish without trace if they do...(nothing sinister in that, just plain lost!) If you're a member of a walking club, however, then it's a different matter: you have the backing to go to interesting and out of the way places!

This walk was no exception; featuring a wide range of habitats (and spring flowers!). After starting from the tall mountain ash stands around Dyers picnic ground (redwoods have competition!), we moved into more open, stunted, woodland where white heath and blue dampiera were to be seen in profusion. Further up the hill, the trees picked up again, and native pea formed a golden haze between the trunks. A few grass trees and banksia were also to be seen (as were black cockatoos). Reaching the ridge, we encountered tree ferns on the southward side (away from the sun). After lunch at the 'four brothers' rocks, where we had a magnificent view across the black snake valley, we took a steep descent back down. The main cause for drama was a creek crossing, which had a bit more water than during the preview. Half the group had gotten their feet wet before someone located a more promising log crossing. It was here that someone encountered our one and only leech for the day (ichy things, but mostly harmless!)

Today, I am feeling a trifle stiff and footsore. (you don't do this sort of thing after a year of relative inactivity without some side effect!)
But the gain was definitely worth the pain.

Yes, it's been too long...


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