I can promise you one thing. This is definitely the last post concerning this hill. Boronia Peak, Grampians is a short, but fairly vigorous climb with the reward being some nice views of Halls Gap and its surrounding landscape below. Then again, I’m still not sure how this ten foot high, rocky mound can generate so much writing. Even I, as a qualified Master of Talking Crap (MCrap) have been pushed to my limit, as I’ve described the same walk and taken photos from identical positions.
So what makes this final part of the Trilogy of Terror worth reading? I won’t give too much away, but it’s the people I met on the way, which really made the wander ‘interesting’.
Anyway, before getting into it, I must mention something concerning my last entry. It detailed my half-baked tilt on an unnamed hill a few kilometres from Boronia Peak, which culminated in the Mother of All Falls. An unintended cartwheel left my brain rattled and body sore. For about two months.
When I got to my car, I took the gaiters off and was perturbed to see a lot of blood from the back of my calf. Closer examination revealed a hole in the skin that was small, but quite deep. What’s weird is there was no mark on either my pants or gaiters, but clearly something had bypassed the protection layers and punctured my skin.
Other than a standard wash up, I more or less left it, but of course it refused to heal, so a week later I headed to the doctors. After some freestyle prodding and squeezing, ‘something’ was taken out of the hole. I’ve no idea what it was, but I think it was a piece of wood. It was black, so it was probably a bit of timber, but for all I know it could have been a meteorite. A tetanus injection followed and I guess this was the final chapter for that hellish walk. Oh, I was going to show you a photo of the wound, but I’m concerned you’re reading this over breakfast and you’ll power-spew Corn Flakes all over your iPad.
Anyway, that’s that. Now, why am I writing about the peak for the third time? I guess it’s because technically I still hadn’t grasped the metal marker on the official peak. Somehow I’d missed it on my previous attempts, so I thought it was best I get up there and make sure it was done, so I could confine the walk to the bin of ‘never to do again’.
This time around, I decided to head up late in the afternoon on a balmy Saturday. Just the time of the year would guarantee I wouldn’t be on my own, so I was psyched up to be sociable.
Arriving at Halls Gap, I decided some things shouldn’t be tinkered with, so I parked in exactly the same car park as the previous visits. This probably sounds odd, but if you’re mentally fragile at times, then it makes perfect sense.
Hopping out the car, I was equipped with something I hadn’t used for a while. A trekking pole. I’d really tweaked my right knee during the previous trips tumble and unfortunately the recovery has been slow. I figured the stick would come in handy for bracing my steps during the descent. Little did I know this would become a talking point.
Now, I haven’t used the next video for a while, but it seems apt regarding this post. Little did I know that when I set off walking, I was actually about to experience (c’mon, you know you want to click on the video) the…
There’s no need to scratch your head, as you wonder what the hell I’m talking about, as I’ll reveal all shortly.
It was warm in the sun and there was a similarity to my other visits. As the track climbed on the west side of the range, the air was stifling. Still conditions with no breeze at all, meant my sweat pumps were in full swing. I’ve no idea what a sweat pump is, but mine were working, as I cruised past some smallish grass trees…
…and was soon sighting a familiar rock wall ahead.
As before, I knew I’d turn a corner. Climb an open, rocky section of the track…
…before reaching the point where the path switches from the west side of the range to the east and as before, on cue, I welcomed a refreshing breeze.
It was at this spot I found my first people for the day. A couple sitting on a rock, staring out at the baking landscape. As I was right on top of them, I thought I should switch into ‘friendly outdoorsy bloke’ and let rip with a solid ‘G’day’. I concentrated on the delivery, so it wasn’t too bogan-like, too enthusiastic, too pissed off or passive aggressive. Just a standard run of the mill greeting at around 85 dB.
Unfortunately though, my greeting bounced off them and hit me in the face. It was if I ruined a couples moment. The woman turned her head, looked at me, but didn’t speak. She did smile though, so that’s something, whereas the bloke continued to stare into the distance with not an ounce of acknowledgement. Come to think of it, he didn’t appear to be too happy. He was packing one of those faces where you’re not sure if they’re suicidal or if it’s something more drastic. Such as they’ve reached the age where they’ve just realised they don’t wake up with a boner any more. Brutal.
Anyway, I wasn’t going to lose sleep over my first human contact, but I decided I’d tweak my greeting for the next people I’d meet. Volume would definitely be ramped to about 95 dB’s.
My next meeting would catch me off-guard though. There I was chipping away at the hill, slowly moving along with trekking pole in hand, when I saw a bloke headed my way. At about 30 metres distance, he stopped and stared at me. I wondered what he was doing, so I stopped as well. For some reason he seemed amazed, before bellowing out, “Oh wow! I saw you with a stick and for a second there I thought you were blind!”
Has this happened to anyone in the history of walking ever? You’re using a trekking pole, but it’s actually interpreted as being blind? He caught me on the hop, so I didn’t have a smart-arse reply. Oh, but it got worse.
A woman caught up behind him and also stopped. She then addressed me in the following fashion.
“Well…done… Not…far…to…go… You’re…doing…really…well.”
I kid you not, but she paused every word as if I was a certified half-wit with an IQ of 12. Then again, I’ve never sat an IQ test, so you never know, but that’s not important right now. She genuinely thought I was mentally challenged.
I was stumped for a reply, so all I could do was stare at them…
…in this fashion. Oh, if you know where that photo is from without Googling, give yourself a pat on the back.
Now, there’s something to take from all this. I feel as if I’m still around 30 years old, but clearly I’m not perceived that way. No, this couple didn’t see an agile 30 year old bloke who used to run sub 20 minute 5 km and sub 40 minute 10 km runs. No, they saw some old, shuffling fat bastard with grey hair and to top it off, decided I was intellectually disabled as well. Huh? Oh, how the mighty has fallen. Is this all I’ve got to look forward to? Imagine in another 10 years? Some prick might throw dirt on me, as I may appear dead and should be in the ground.
I actually found it quite a depressing meeting, so I moved up past them with a reduced ‘G’day’ pizazz. Then again, I didn’t have much depression downtime, as before I knew it, a couple of others were bounding towards me. Now, I can never work this out, but if I say ‘hello’, shouldn’t this be a similar reply? I don’t expect an extended conversation, as really, I didn’t ask for one.
Mm… I’ll never get it though. My greeting to the downhill bounders was met with an elongated spiel in reply. Before I knew it, they were regaling me with stuff like, “…you’re more or less up there…keep going…only about 15 minutes to go…”
A couple of things here. Why’s there an urge for people to describe what they’ve done, before you’re about to experience it? Also, I have no idea what time over distance means. I think 15 minutes at my pace is a lot different to Usain Bolt’s. I’d have covered 200 metres, whereas he’d have done around 11 km.
Anyway, moving on, I soon reached the spot I mentioned in the first of this trilogy. A distinctive rock that’s perfect for resting and taking in an eastern view. Here it is…
…and on a clear day, the views are extensive.
After a long break, where I was contemplating old age and an imminent purchase of oversized underwear, I moved on and was soon a short distance from the peak. As I wandered up the path in the late afternoon…
…I was suddenly met by another couple descending. How do you think this meeting went? Hang on, I’ll tell you.
I said, “G’day!’ He said, “Hi! You haven’t got far to go. You’re right below the top.” Then with his arm pointing to some rocks above, the saga continued. “The top is just there. Go up the track, turn right and walk a bit more and there’s a metal pole. Just over there, there’s a metal pole and that’s the top. The pole isn’t very big and you can’t see it from here, but it’s just there. There’s a good view as well, so it’s worth going up to that spot.”
Okay, I know it’s not his fault, as all he was doing was trying to help. The ‘assistance’ was starting to wear thin by this stage though. In the end, all I could do was adhere to the rules of humanity, so I smiled and said, ‘No worries. Thanks’. Mind you, what I wanted to say was a little bit different. I’d have preferred to utter one of the succinct thoughts from the always philosophical Nick Conklin.
Most of you have no idea what I look like, but if you greet me when outdoors, the last thing I want to talk about is walking. I’d rather contemplate how good Phil Lynott was. Sure, his legs were a bit thin for leather pants, but don’t hold that against him.
Anyway, they trotted off and I headed on to finally put this stinkin’ hill to rest. Officially ‘helper’ free, I wandered up the narrow rock gully below the top of the ridge and believe it or not, instead of turning left like on the previous visits, I veered right. Guess what? There it was. Okay, for the next photo you may have to wheel out your portable Hubble telescope, but I can assure you there’s a metal pole amongst the rocks.
Oh, if you still can’t see it, then maybe this is easier.
It’s a lot smaller than I thought and I assume it’s just a marker rather than a trig-point. Maybe a marker for the peak that’s lower than another one a kilometre away? I’ve no idea, but at least I’d found it. In fact, I made sure I’d record the moment by taking photos of it from every direction. That way I never ever have to return to the spot again.
There’s certainly a good view on a clear day, as visually the ridge can be followed all the way to Mount William in the distance.
It was late afternoon, so the sun was beginning to get low in the sky. I did ponder how it’d be a great sunrise or sunset spot, but the thought of returning for a fourth time is a bit too much mentally. I’d prefer to parachute onto the ridge, rather than climb it again. There’s only one problem with that plan. I don’t know how to parachute.
My ‘lying on my back on warm rocks’ mojo was affected by one thing though. This.
Had it being left behind by one of my ‘helpers’? I’ll never understand rubbish in the outdoors. Surely it’s harder to carry the product when it’s full? Once empty, it can then be stuffed in a pocket? Also, you’d think if someone trudged their way to the top, they’d have some sort of outdoor thought. You know, a smidgeon of environmental awareness. Maybe?
I mentioned this to someone the other day and they said, ‘Maybe they accidentally left it up there?’ Mm… No, I reckon they finished it whilst enjoying the view and then chucked it. Either that or it was left by the government for the purposes of annoying me, which is always a valid thought.
Oh well. Instead, I thought of this…
…and then put it in my pocket. Yes, they are an amazing invention. It’s like I was holding the bottle, put it inside my pocket and before I knew it, it’d vanished. Incredible!
So there you have it. As the light began to dim I headed down with my walking stick leading the way. Actually I zipped down pretty quick for a blind bloke. Before I knew it, I was back on the flat and motoring towards my car, whilst passing one of the always interesting Grampians sights. Emus wandering around near the car park.
Finally, this infernal trilogy is over. A few posts back it seemed like a good idea, but in hindsight it was pretty daft. I should have stuffed it all into one post and been done with it.
What’s next? I’ve no idea. I’m downing blog tools for a couple of months, so you’ll get some peace from these insane ramblings. I’m off to do other things before returning here.
Hopefully some blog changes will occur after that. For the life of me, I’ve no idea why I’m on a self-hosted wordpress.org instead wordpress.com. What’s the point? I seem to spend my time looking at plugins that need updating, but sometimes when they do, they corrupt what’s already there. Huh? Not to mention email subscribers who are actually from blacklisted IP’S. What is this crap? People bag Blogger, but I had none of these problems over there. Right now, all I want to do is set fire to the blog. I’ve no idea how this is possible with something that’s online, but I’ll do some research.
Bring on winter…