This was one of my club walks. I’d chosen it about three months prior (when writing my submissions for the program) because it was short, nearby (relatively!) and not one that I thought a bit of adverse weather would affect too much (the views were reported to be minimal on a clear day at best). I’d also put it down because it was one I wanted to do (yes, worth a ‘peak bagging’ point) but really would have preferred company for it. I didn’t expect great numbers, but even one other would make the walk far more enjoyable.
I was in luck. The walk description I’d written in the program painted a pretty bleak picture: a short but scrubby walk, no views promised… ‘book at your own peril’!! And so I got a lovely group of 6 of my crazy friends, which made the destination and the terrain now irrelevant: it was going to be a good walk regardless.
Just as well. More changes and added pressure at work, not to mention a few extra hours covering one girl who was at tafe, and I’d caught yet another cold by Wednesday. Friday was even more interesting, with unwanted and rather scary news making it difficult to get the sleep I was supposed to have before work and the walk.
Oh well. Just as well I’d already pushed the start time back to a VERY luxurious 8.30 (no one had seemed to mind at all!). What would have been another normal (but especially tired) day at work flew by when Jess came to visit at 4am, and stayed and watched me work for a few hours, chatting intermittently (very cool, and very much appreciated, THANKS JESS!). She was coming on the walk, but figured she’d fit a 10km run in first (as you do!).
Two hours later, I was off, picking Jess up on the way through to Granton. Smiles all round as we pulled up, and the laughter and teasing began at once. We got a little serious when it came to deciding on a stop in New Norfolk for coffees (very important), but otherwise set out in a light and happy mood, with which the weather seemed to agree entirely.
I drove a little tiredly, so it was just as well I had Bec and Jess in the car to keep me awake with a commando roll over the back seat to dig out my gps, and a wave to the car behind us out the sunroof. We did lament the fact that Jess didn’t have her bag of sheoak nuts to peg at them ;)!
We arrived without difficulty, and parked our cars by the lake. By the looks of things there were a few guys going fishing for the day or weekend there too. More mucking around while gearing up, and we set off. There was a short road walk at first, and we started off quite quietly.
But before too long chatter broke out between pairs or threes, and after a stop to adjust clothing we were soon all fooling around, throwing pink berries at each other, splashing people by throwing rocks into muddy pools of water as they passed and generally just having a good time being together. Mike found out very early on just how deadly Ben’s aim could be, as he took a nut on the head when he walked in front of Jess. He didn’t retaliate, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t get his revenge before the day was over!
We were having so much fun, that someone pulled up at one point to check where we were going and when I checked my gps realised we’d walked straight past the point I had been going to turn off. I had a route from another friend (thanks Jocelyn) and had intended to follow it, but given we’d walked a fair way past the turn off we figured we’d revert to Plan B and follow the ridge up. The going was quite ok, and Ben and Glen seemed to have fun finding the best possible route through the relatively light (but nonetheless a little tedious) scrub.
I was happy to follow, and so we weaved our way up through the scrub, where possible slipping and sliding our way across wet tree trunks or scrambling up rock. All the while collecting pink berry ammunition for use later on ;). An early sighting of a wedgie through the trees had us excited, more than all the ‘honeyeaters’ we could hear, and Ben led us to a rocky knoll where it looked like we might have a view. Not quite, but the next one over showed promise!!
This was very cool, as I hadn’t expected any view at all, and as a result, neither did anyone else. But sure enough, we sat on rock or climbed trees and looked out over Bradys Lake. The weather up here was not quite as ideal as the weather we’d left back in Hobart, so we didn’t get the extensive views out west that we could have had, but we could make out the Walls further north, and I think we were just grateful to be seeing anything other than trees!
As we sat and enjoyed, watching the cloud and mist come and go, the wedgie and its mate reappeared, and we stared, mesmerised. Catherine, sitting on a rock, wind blowing in hair, stretched her arms out and, for a moment, flew with them :). It always amazes me the way wedgies cast a particular feeling over the group, almost like a spell or drug, and it was clear that it didn’t really matter what else we did or didn’t see, the walk was already more than worth it.
The cold wind did have us up and moving, refuelled by Jess’s Starburst babies (a special blue one for me!). Up and down we bobbed, staying on the ridge, heading in the rough direction of the summit. It was a longish way in comparison to the planned route, but we were all in good spirits, despite the occasional unexpected lie down as feet went flying, or uncomfortable pokes by sharp bits of tree.
And then we were there. Trig, really old soft drink cans and all!! The weather chose to clag in for a bit, and Mike lamented the lack of view, but as we sat to eat the blue sky came back. So too did the wedgies and we stood on the trig cross bars and watched for some time as they dove and soared with barely a flap of wings, repeating the process a number of times. Pretty awesome!
I have no idea how long we stayed. We spent time climbing on the trig, hanging from it, planking across it, taking a group photo on it… teasing Bec who was too short to see something that Ben and Jess were trying to point out, trying to sneak rocks into people’s packs (and this is where Mike got his revenge on Ben really well!). While Ben and Jess were trying to distract me so they could put one in my bag he slipped one into Ben’s, and I took the opportunity to pick up Jess’s sunnies, which she’d left by the trig and had forgotten all about.
But as always, we did have to leave, opting this time to take the gps route down. It was definitely more direct, but the scrub was a little worse (not so much an issue going downhill though) and the road we expected to hit turned out to be rather overgrown that it wasn’t much different from pushing through scrub! We were all very glad we’d gone up the way we did, and had the views we otherwise wouldn’t have had!!
Back on the real road, Jess, Ben and I spent the last of our energy trying to push one another into the mud, which is hard to do seriously when you’re laughing so much! This was all interspersed with slightly more serious conversation about life and possibilities and realities – a perfect mix.
The ‘walk’ wasn’t over though. Back at the cars we were distracted by the late afternoon sun as silver shards filtered through the cloud and lit up the land on the other side of the lake. It was really quite peaceful and gave each of us a bit of time to enjoy it in our own ways: sitting, standing, photographing, skimming rocks…. then for a little bit more life and excitement, two puppies appeared nearby and stole our attention. We very nearly lost Jess to them 😉 (they were pretty cute!).
When we finally decided to get out of boots and gaiters, I popped Jess’s sunnies on the front seat of the car, hoping to surprise her. She’d realised she’d left the up there part way down, but it wasn’t exactly the kind of terrain conducive to a retrace. Probably I should have let her out of her misery when she’d realised, but that wouldn’t have been as much fun :p! Think she was pretty happy to see them… and I think I got a bigger hug than I deserved!
All up: 9km, 5.18 hrs, 404m ascent, and a really nice day out with some pretty special friends. Certainly appreciated and enjoyed.