Written on: Saturday June 23rd, 2007
A journal entry from: The long flight away from home.
Winter Break (Mount Donna Buang)
Since my last blog I have dramatically changed my plans for the winter break. At first I had decided that I would go to Western Australia for a couple of weeks after my exams to travel around and explore. After doing some research, I decided that there was just not enough out there that I really wanted to do to compensate the cost of going. So, I therefore chose to stay here in Melbourne and continue to windsurf, while exploring Victoria (the state which Melbourne is in), as well as look for a job.
The job hunting hasn?t been going overly well, but that being said I haven?t been trying too hard either. Hopefully I will find some casual part time work sometime soon.
Life at the convent has been pretty dead since the end of exams. One by one, all my roommates have left. Janice, Laura, Rachel, Kathrin, Corinna and Susn have all gone up the east coast to travel for different periods of time, and will all be returning sometime in the next two months for a few days to grab their stuff and fly home. Hannah is gone to Thailand for a couple of weeks and will then be returning for the 2nd semester.
Being in such a large building by yourself is kind of unsettling but fortunately it is only for a few days since next week, Kim and Sven from the Sydney road trip will be moving in for a few weeks before they leave the country as well as two girls from North America will also be moving in to attend ACU for 2nd semester.
After a fairly unproductive and relaxing last week I decided I better stop wasting my time and should start going out of the city and exploring. I decided I would go explore the Yarra Valley during the weekend.
Saturday morning I woke up and caught a train as far East as I could go, about a 1h train ride. Once at the last station I decided to catch a bus that would take me for another hour ride into the Dandenong Ranges (small mountainous range with lots of vineyards). I didn?t have any idea where I was heading or what I wanted to do, but figured I would just go with the ?flow?. I jumped off the bus outside of a nice small town called Warburton, located between some hills and alongside the Yarra River (which actually runs all the way to Melbourne, and passes less then 1 km from the house).
The town had some sort of festival going on which was quite nice. I made my way to the information center where I looked for some sort of clue to further lead me into my journey. I found a map with a few different hikes that I could do and ended up picking one that would lead me up to the summit of ?Mount Donna Buang?. I read over the description which stated (12km. 7 hours. Strenuous. For fit and experienced bushwalkers only!). However, being as smart as I am, I tend to find that these types of descriptions are always highly overrated. ALWAYS, is not the case this time. Little did I know at the time, I almost got myself into a little more then my current physical conditioning could handle.
I filled up my water bottle and got on my way, I first had to walk out of the town along the hwy for a little ways, then crossed the river on a suspended bridge and continued along some local roads up to the trails entrance. As I started into the trail, I realized that the level of difficulty was a lot higher then I had assumed, and I found myself having a hard time staying on my feet due to a previous rain fall that had the ground all muddy. I met a guy who was on his way down who told me to go back to the start and jump the fence at the golf course and follow it up till then end. Once at the end of the gulf course I bush walked for a bit until I made it onto some sort of old road, which I then followed until I met up with the hiking trail once again.
The trail leading up was extremely straight forward, none of this bull crap winding around, it was more less straight up. This started to quickly take its toll on me since I haven?t done any hiking in a long time. I never managed to get any pictures of the trail in the dense rainforest areas since my head was pounding too much to take out the camera. After about an hour and a half, I made it to a road crossing, and figured I must be almost to the top, only to see a sign showing that I was yet half way there. I continued to trek on, and started walking into the clouds, it was really cool to walk through the forest in the clouds, its not something I?ve ever done before. At one point the clouds were so thick it seemed as if the sun was going down. Once I started to get above the clouds I started seeing a little snow on the ground and as I continued little by little there became more and more snow.
Finally after more then 3 hours after starting, the clouds started to clear and I could start to hear people at the top. Once a top, there was about 1 to 2 inch?s of snow cover and some families who had driven up to see the views. I climbed up to the top of the observation platform where you had an amazing view looking over the hills and the clouds. The top is 1250m above sea level and about 1000m in elevation from the town below.
It was now nearing 3 p.m. and I really didn?t feel up to the hike back down, nor did I think I could manage to get back down in daylight (it gets dark here before 5). Just to my luck I met a German guy named Jans who offered to give me a ride back down. Turns out he was heading back to Melbourne so I ended up getting a ride all the way back to the outer edge of the city, where I then caught a train back to my place.
All in all it was a nice little adventure, a great workout, a new experience and really nice to get out of the city for the day and head back to my true roots ?the wilderness?.
Hope everyone is well, take care!