Planning started one year ago. The boys wanted to attend the week long Veteran Motorcycle National rally in Ararat Vic. Did I want to go? Where is it? Right next to the Grampians, Yay I have never been there before and what a place to go for a bushwalk with all that stunning, rocky scenery. Paula agreed an overnight hike would be a good idea.
The old bikes and camping gear and our packs were packed and there was spare space on the bike trailer. Why don’t we take our modern bikes down and us girls can follow, slowly, behind the old bikes. Great idea. Then, why don’t we just ride them down instead of sitting in the car for 12 hours. Fantastic idea.
This is what I love, a break within a holiday within an adventure. We took the scenic route south and spent the night at Tocumwal on the Murray River.
The road gets pretty straight and boring after that, but it was spring time and there was plenty of blossoms and canola flowering to make it look pretty.
We set up camp at Ararat Motorcycle track under some shade thankfully as it was fairly warm. The first days riding was very uneventful and all three bikes finished under their own steam. Day two was windy, really windy and you don’t want too much of a head wind on 3 ½ hp 1914 Douglas.
All those hours and days and weekends in the shed paid off when Kevin got back to camp and opened a beer watching everyone else working on their bikes, pulling them apart or putting them back together.
We had to do a car drop as our walk was one way up towards Mount William, over Major Mitchel plateau and down the other side.
The wind was howling and hot, there were bushfires a plenty, but none nearby thankfully. The weather was predicted to cool that night for the next day or two which was good for walking. One particular cloud was just covering the high points we were headed to tomorrow.
It did cool the next day, but the wind didn’t die down. We were protected walking through the bush up to Kalymna Falls then up to Boundary Gap.
We didn’t have far to go, only 5 kms, to our campsite at First Wannon Crossing but it was about 740m straight up.
When we started up the rocky edge of the plateau we were really in the wind.
Now the adventure started. It didn’t feel safe trying to climb these rocks with our packs on so we will just lift them up we thought. They are so much heavier to lift with your arms than carry on your back!! We struggled and grunted and tried not to look around as we climbed up. The view was spectacular! But remember to hang on. We were pretty chuffed when we made it to the top and then just a short walk on to the campsite.
It seemed we were going to have a nice quiet night, when some people arrived, then some more, a whole school group of boys camping at the same spot. Oh well, at least they looked tired as they had walked further up and down than us. It was so cold and predicted to be 4°C overnight, quite a change from 30° max the day before. We walked up to the helipad at sunset to watch the sun go down with wine mug in hand and see if there was mobile reception to let the boys know we were OK. It was so cold taking my glove off to take photos.
I had carried 4 litres of water as all the information said that there was no water available at the campsite but the little water there was in the creek filled the kettle for boiling and I had some purifying tablets which I wanted to try (at least to see if I could drink the water after using them) It wasn’t too bad really. It is nice to be able to have quite a few cuppas and not worry too much about running out of water.
The sky was clear except for one dark cloud and I hoped to be able to see lots of stars later that night when I know I would have to get up. The wind was still blowing over the top of our camp and it sounded a bit like rain but not quite. When I climbed out I saw that it wasn’t exactly rain, what I could hear was the cloud that was rushing overhead dripping on us.
The morning was still pretty cold, cold enough to have a layer of ice on our tents. We had breakfast and packed up to be gone before all the boys left as we knew that they would overtake us along the track. The wind had died and it was a lovely morning. We followed the edge of the plateau and the views and wildflowers were both spectacular.
The track was easy enough to follow along the top but when we started down, we were clambering over rocks which got very tiring. It got steeper and steeper. The day started to warm up and I started to think that I might still run out of water. The track got a bit flatter and as we still had some kilometres to go, I decided get back to the car and find an icecream, so off I went. It is amazing how much energy you can find when you want to get home.
We were pretty happy with finishing the walk. The blurb had stated that it was only suitable for experienced bushwalkers in a remote area. The track was pretty easy to find and you couldn’t get too lost but it was a bit of a challenge for us.
Back to our other campsite and the boys were happy to see us. They had been having fun of course and didn’t miss us at all. Another days run and then it was time to head home. We took turns riding the bike back home as it is just so boring along the Hume highway.