I found something that had been sneaking up on me for some time. Blubber, that’s what. After going to the gym last week I thought I’d have a bit of a sneaky weigh-in just to see what the post-Christmas damage was.
On the electronic scales I hopped and there was quite a disconcerting sight. The weight readout numbers were flicking over at high speed as if I’d won the jackpot on a poker machine. When they finally stopped I was slightly amazed at what I saw. I’m not positive of the exact reading due to my chin bouncing off the scales, as my jaw went into free-fall. My eyeballs were on springs as they read the numbers. 129.90 kg.
Okay, now this officially puts me into ‘fat bastard territory’ (FBT). Somehow I’ve gained 15 kg without even noticing. How can this be? Am I totally blubber deluded? Everyone I know says I look the same, which is the benefit of being tall with a solid frame I guess. No wonder I’m struggling on hills though and there’s no point going for lightweight hiking gear when I’m carrying the equivalent of a stack of bricks on my guts. Oh well, the training begins which means longer walks coming up.
So, for starters I picked out a walk that was going to be over 15 km long. Even better if it was longer and preferably not too far away. I was going solo, as Ben had come down with some sort of sore throat from hell. He’d been pretty sick, but I told him I had to walk. I explained that if I didn’t do some walking, there’s a chance I may never get out the house again as I’d be stuck in the door frame. As I was leaving I asked if he wanted anything and he replied, “a cheeseburger from McDonald’s”. A magical cure that one.
Now the walk. I’d picked the 19 km Macedon Circuit in the Macedon Regional Park. Besides Mt Macedon it took in sights from the highest point on the range at Camels Hump. After an hour’s driving I was ready to go. A short bit of roadside walking and then I was onto the trail which leads up Mt Macedon. I didn’t really think how high Mt Macedon is until I started to climb it. I was reminded of my beefiness as soon as the track went up steeply. Huffing and puffing was the order of the day and at one point I stopped for a rest just to bring my heart rate down.
As I did so, I was absolutely blown away by another bloke walking up the mountain. He was moving well and after a quick hello he continued to power up. This was getting a bit embarrassing, so I got going again. The mountain is 1000 metres high and is reached in the first 3 kilometres from a starting point of just under 600 metres. This is no Everest I admit, but it is if one weighs as much as a small car.
The track was well marked and enjoyable on reflection. At the time it was horrible, but it seems lovely now. It’s funny how walking does that. I was moving up slowly when I heard a lot of voices a short distance away. I’d reached the top at the Memorial Cross, which is a well known landmark and popular for day visitors who drive to a nearby car park.
I got to relax a little now I had reached the top. There’s some well-kept plants near the Cross which are good for photos.
It was time to leave the crowds behind and head to my next destination, which is a spot called ‘The Camels Hump’. This is the highest point in the area at 1008 metres and is called a rock formation rather than a mountain. It sounded interesting enough, so I began to move quickly as I noticed it was starting to get a bit late in the day.
After a few more kilometres I found the turn-off and ditched the pack. I raced up a well made track to the Camels Hump, passing some goats on the way. Goats? Yep, they’re goats and I have no idea who owns them, but they were doing their bit by chomping on the grass up the hillside.
When I reached the top of the Camels Hump I was met with low cloud. It was disappointing, as it totally blocked the view towards Hanging Rock. There’s nothing like climbing a hill and not really seeing anything.
Oh well, time to head off again. It was about this time I began to think I was cutting it fine in finishing this walk in daylight. The walk is listed in Glenn Tempest’s book ‘Day Walks Around Melbourne’ as 16.8 km in length. I reached a point where the track crosses a road and according to my GPS I’d walked 11 km already.
In my mind I had less than 6 km to go. The trouble is on his map at the point I was standing, he records it at about 8.5 km. Going on that theory instead of 6 km I had another eight to go!
Who knows what was going on there, but the clock had ticked over 7 pm. Not really knowing the path ahead, I decided to pull the pin and walk back to the car on the road. Not ideal, but I didn’t fancy racing on a path to beat the darkness. I was also under cheeseburger pressure and I did consider whether Ben had given up and just decided to eat his arm instead.
At first it was annoying because I find walking on a road to be really hard on my feet. It was all downhill though, so I got into a bit of a groove and it wasn’t too after all.
There’s one thing about this area though. The houses are absolutely massive. Not just big, but really bloody big. There’s a lot of money in the Mt Macedon area. Some properties were so huge the houses were unable to be seen from the road, as they’re hidden behind expansive, immaculate gardens.
In between looking agog at the monstrous houses, I found a nice pair of clear lens, Bolle glasses in the roadside ditch that would be perfect for cycling. It pays to walk back on the road sometimes. I also got to take a few photos of flowers that seemed to everywhere.
I had a comfortable stroll back to the car and noted that the distance walked for the day was 15.36 km and the total elevation climbed was 552 metres. Not too bad a start to Operation Blubber Buster (OBB). I was then heading home via McDonald’s. Tough times indeed.
I walked in the door at home sideways and I’ve never seen someone so glad to have crap food brought to them. Quite a day, but I felt a little bit short changed as I didn’t finish the ‘official’ walk, which means I’m going to have to go back one day and do it again. Oh no! That hill at the start again…
NB – I’ve been back to Mt Macedon quite a few times since this post. Here’s a post about the full circuit.