This is a combination of excerpts from my journal entries and observations after the fact for a walk that I did as training for the "African Adventure" trip also here on Yahoo. With Kilimanjaro a week after this walk I figured it would be a good idea to test out some gear that I had bought for Kili and to make sure that I was in shape for some hiking as I hadn't done any for a year and a half, and no matter how much training you do in the gym you still need to walk to get walking fit.
I wrote about 30 pages of notes and took over a hundred photos while walking but I figure you're not interested in all that much information so I've distilled it a bit. Day one's actually a few days but after that they get shorter. Enjoy.
The trip pretty much began on the Friday before the Monday that I'm supposed to be writing about here, with a flight from Perth to Melbourne late at night, arriving early on Saturday.
I think I'm starting to get well over all the flying that I have to do. Not a good look considering all the flying we've got booked over the next month.
The arrival was so early in fact that when I arrived at my sister Libby's place there was no one awake and phone calls didnt get me anyone so I had to buzz myself in - but wasnt exactly sure which apartment was the right one. Of course Libby wasnt woken but the door was answered by some female voice I didnt recognise (and I didnt give my name because I was a bit doughy after a late flight, you understand). "Are you after upstairs?"
"But there isn't any downstairs, (Which there isn't if you figure you live on the ground floor instead of downstairs) you must have the wrong place."
"I'm pretty sure my sister lives here...?".
"Oh... Luke?". Took some sorting out but myself and Libby's flatmate Colleen managed to work it out in the end. I think it may have been the houri wrapped in nothing but a towel that confused me. It left a memory that lingers at least.
Saturday morning involved catching up on some sleep then myself and Libby headed into town. Nice to know someone who lives walking distance from all the major sporting arenas and shops in Melbourne. It's a nice town, you've got to give it that.
Stopped off for Yum Cha in Chinatown at a little place called the 'Post Deng Cafe', sister shop to the 'Post Mao Cafe' up the road I'm guessing. Very nice - and proper Northern Chinese food.
Kept going up Little Bourke Street to the outdoor shop district. Spent a fair bit of time in the first couple of shops but when you're spending $700 on upgrades to your gear you want to get it right. Ended up getting a Trangia, new Raichle boots, 4 season Thermarest, orthotics and some other bits and pieces. Didnt get out of Mountain Designs until all the other shops were closed so would have to go back the next day.
Took a couple of shots of the Chinatown district in the dusk light that turned out really well. I'm quite impressed by the vibration reduction function on my new 2003 model Nikon, this shot was taken at 1/15th and the original at 8MP shows no camera-shake.
Walked back to Libby's through the Fitzroy Gardens - Again, Melbourne is a nice town with old gardens and old buildings everywhere. Rested for a bit then went out to the Kingston Hotel for dinner. A few beers with dinner turned into a few too many at the Mountain View Hotel on Bridge rd. Got to bed at 01:00.
Woke up Sunday at at 11:00 feeling pretty average. Libby wasn't up and wasn't about to get up in a hurry so I walked back into town and bought some overtrousers from Columbia. Libby was just about up when I got back around 15:00. Like I say, big night. Rested up a bit watching footy.
Drove to Richmond Gardens (sic?) for camping food. I wrote in my journal - "Went shopping for camping food. Bought more than I'll need but should eat well this week". Off to bed early big day coming up.
On the Monday I wrote.
"Well a reasonable day. Bit sore in the shoulders and tested a bit by the last hill to the campsite but finished in 2:50hrs so a reasonable pace and wasnt having to push except at the end."
Started the day at 0630 after a not particularly good sleep and had to potter around the house for a while until Libby was up (to be fair 7:30 is not late to get up). Left at the same time as her and walked to the tram station on Bridge and Punt rds. Noted that the pack was very heavy (I'd weighed it the night before at 27kg). Caught the tram to the corner of Flinders and Spencer streets then watched the tram change streets and head up to the Spencer street station (which has been rebuilt into a caterpillar and renamed to "Southern Cross Station" for some stupid reason that the Victorian authorities seem to excell at, eg. Flinders Park = Rod Laver Arena, Olympic park & Melbourne park, Colonial Stadium = Docklands = Telstra Dome, etc... )
Walked after the tram for 500-odd metres, bought a ticket to Apollo Bay for $19 (It's a town with better parks, better buildings, better stadiums, better shopping and the Vics have got everyone beat when it comes to public transport, but it's still not Perth).
Caught a train to Geelong then bus in the rain to Apollo Bay. Nice town. Checked in at the Visitor Centre and got a map of the walk and some tide information for the beach walks. Bought a piece of fish for lunch then started walking.
It had been raining lightly since Geelong and kept it up for the first hour but then came good. Nice walk, fairly well signposted although I suspect I took a 500m detour right at the start. Good steps in erosion points, similar to the Warrumbungles or Bibbulmun track. The path was well worn up to the Shelley Beach carpark but got more overgrown or leaf -covered for the last section to Elliot Ridge, which was not signposted as well either, being a kilometre or so longer than signposted.
The register only had 4 people through the campsite in the past week and I had it all to myself so didnt bother putting up the tent. Just laid the Thermarest out on the table in the cooking shelter. You pay for a particular tent site but in the end I didnt bother putting up the tent once and only slept in the cooking shelters, one of the benefits of travelling at the worst time of year I suppose.
The rainwater tanks had signs saying not to drink the water but I've never had problems with rainwater, especially in winter so figured it was a typical government rear-covering exercise, which it was as I drank the rainwater all along the track and had no problems. Could be a bit more of an issue toward the end of summer but not in winter.
Used a Trangia for the first time. Did salami burgers, fried mushrooms and a "serves 4" carbonara pasta and sauce. Came out reasonably but surprised myself that I only ate about 2/3rds (I used to eat heaps more when I was doing the Bibbulmun but only after I'd gotten used to needing more food). Left the rest for brekkie.
Ready for bed at 18:28, expecting to be very sore in the shoulders in the morning.