I guess it’s time for another blog entry? Another trip report? Yeah, why not I say. I was actually thinking about blogging the other day and wondering what drives web traffic to a hiking blog. Well, I know the answer now and it’s reviews of gear. I can’t believe the amount of traffic my blog gets heading to my two half-baked reviews of the North Face jacket and the Black Diamond trekking poles. I’ve been meaning to do some gear reviews for a while now, but I’ve only realised now what the problem is. I find writing about gear to be insanely boring and it doesn’t turn me on at all.
Oh, I’m trying to do a hike every weekend as well, which has been quite entertaining. Is it wrong to say, who cares about gear and just go walking? I’m well aware this blog will never be a world beater for traffic if I just write about individual walks. Oh well, that’s the way it goes, so I better get onto the latest trip.
The Brisbane Ranges National Park is not too far out of Melbourne and I’d never been there before, so I thought Ben and I should pay it a visit. Our walk for the day is detailed in the obligatory Glenn Tempest book, ‘Daywalks Around Melbourne’.
This was walk along Sutherland Creek, Steiglitz Historic Park started in the old gold mining town of Steiglitz. I had an appointment with my neurosurgeon last week and I asked him whether I can carry a backpack again. He looked at me and said, “No, not for at least 3 months.” Huh?!
Well, that was my reaction and I had to make a decision to listen to him or just be stubborn and do the complete opposite. I’ve elected to listen to him, but that does limit overnight hikes just slightly, as in none. If he suggested a different approach for me to use, such as buying a bum-bag then he may have been assaulted. You know the world has stopped turning when I start heading out walking with a bum-bag on.
First of all, we couldn’t find the place. I had a set of meagre instructions and if it wasn’t for Google maps on the phone, we’d still be driving around aimlessly. In the end we made it to the starting point. The historic court house building in Steiglitz. It’s an interesting place and I was surprised to see so little remaining of the buildings. A 100 years ago the place was jumping, but I guess this is the price you pay if you’re classified as a ghost town?
Heading off, the early observation was places marked as ‘streets’ are really a number of dirt tracks. It was fairly nondescript start, as the rough tracks lead to South Steiglitz Road, which although unpaved, is quite tedious. There was some excitement though when at a distance we saw what looked like an alien propped up on a fence. I got out my trusty Swiss army knife in case the extraterrestrial was threatening, but we found out he was quite friendly.
Ben took off at a rapid rate, which was probably a good move. It pays to get this part of the walk over as quick as possible in order to stop from going to sleep.
In the end we came to Sailors Track, which was our turn-off to head down to Sutherland Creek. I had no idea what to expect at the creek in regards to walking conditions. A short walk to the destination revealed no flowing water, but there was the odd pool along the way.
Now, it was a case of following the creek back to where we started from. There’s no track and it was a matter of walking along the creek bed or scrambling up the banks to avoid the infrequent pools. I was feeling a bit wimp-like, so I decided I didn’t want to get my feet wet.
Okay, what can I write about during this walk? Not a lot, as it was going like clockwork, which is a bummer for this blog. In some areas, the water had what looked like oil on the surface, but I assume it’s a type of tannin. Maybe? Should I Google it? I’m sure someone else can give me the answer and save me the online effort. Just now I’ve officially classified myself as the writer and not the researcher.
Do you get the idea? You want another one? Okay then. It’s handy as I’ve just put the kettle on. It’s a chance for me to get a cup of tea whilst it uploads.
You want some more exciting highlights? I can’t say there were many more, but there was enough to pad out this blog entry. Whilst walking along the creek bed I noticed a broken piece of blue pottery stuck in the sand. As this is an old gold mining area, there’s a chance it’s from the ‘ye olde’ days. Then again I don’t have great pottery identification skills. I picked it up for a look and checked the back to see if there was a ‘Franklin Mint’ sticker on it. There wasn’t and I’ve concluded it’s old, but it may not be, then again it could be, but possibly not, or maybe it is. How long can I run with this joke?
After a bit of history, we began to face our first problems of the day. In order to keep the dry feet motto alive, we had to head up away from the creek and at times it was a matter of finding the easiest side to walk on. This varied due to the odd rocky outcrop blocking our way, so we ended up criss-crossing the creek a fair bit. I’ll show you what I mean by the following photos as I go get another drink.
It was slow going, stumbling along the creek bed, Up on the banks it was marginally more exciting, as there were plenty of old mine shafts to concentrate on not stepping into.
Ben and I decided to have a bit of an ‘arty photo shoot off’ to keep ourselves switched on. I went for a moody photo using spot metering of sunlight shining on a rock in the creek.
Ben went for a number of shots of sunlight shining on the water itself and he managed to capture some nice colours in the water that was looking pretty shabby at first glance.
I allocated myself as an impartial judge and I decided I won quite comprehensively, which shows it’s tough being a kid at times.
Okay, what else happened? Well, at one stage I was walking at full speed with my camera in my hand, but I was neglecting the strap which was dangling in the breeze. As I chugged along I suddenly noticed I was no longer holding the camera and after stopping I looked back to see the strap had snagged a fallen tree branch and ripped it out of my hand. There was no great problem though and as it was a walk of limited highlights, I instructed Ben to take a photo of my snagged camera, as an example of ‘Sutherland Creek thrills and spills’.
I did have my eye out for some more ‘ye olde’ objects and again in the creek bed I found a piece of worn glass. Again it had the feel of something older than last year, but then again it could be no older than the year before.
I was on a roll, as I then noticed a rock in the shape of Australia. Okay, it might need a bit of mind bending imagination, but if you turn out the lights and then turn off your computer whilst looking at the rock, you can see it’s a fair resemblance to Australia.
It wasn’t just me spotting amazing things, as Ben noticed a tree that I was pounding with the polariser. He noticed something about it that I couldn’t see initially. Here’s the tree.
Ben informed me what he saw and the result is revealed in the photo below, which shows what his keen eye noticed.
Pretty thrilling isn’t it? I was showing some older pictures to a semi-professional photographer who had some interesting observations. Whenever I showed her a photo of an outdoor scene with grass in it, she would say, “Don’t take photos of green stuff. It doesn’t look good and we don’t like green.” I think the ‘we’ in the conversation is other ‘professional photographers’, but there’s a problem in that I quite like a lush looking green landscape. The next photo is really just included to spite the green hating photographers out there.
On we continued and there were a few moments where we couldn’t decide which was the best side of the creek to walk on. The end result is we split up, which gave us a chance to snap photos of each other from across the creek.
You do realise I’ve written this entry over about a week and there’s always a problem doing that. I know other things happened on this walk, but I’ve got no idea what they were, as I’ve lost my train of thought over the last few days. It didn’t help I wrote up a number of paragraphs and for some reason they didn’t save, so I had to backtrack and it just doesn’t work trying to write the same jokes again. Anyway, I think I’ll start wrapping up this walk and maybe I’ll re-visit this entry if my brain manages to switch on again. Have a look at some ‘bokeh bonanza’ photos whilst I do a bit of thinking.
Nope, after the break, I’ve still no idea. I do know we started to head away from the creek up some reasonably steep hillsides. Once we reached a bit of height it looked like way too much work heading all the way back down, so we started to think about calling it quits. There were still some nice sights on the way.
Whilst walking inland we must have started to drift off to sleep, as somehow we began to walk in a circle. I had a look at the GPS and noticed we were heading in the wrong direction even though it didn’t feel like it. A bit of readjustment and we were headed back to South Steiglitz Road. There’s a few more final shots I might as well add to this entry.
I guess no river walk would be complete without a completely random car tyre sitting by itself would it? This day hike was no different.
Well, whilst we were heading back we did have to negotiate a few more hills and dozens of Grass Trees that made for a nice sight.
A bit more wandering and the sight of the historical Steiglitz Court House meant the walk was over. It had been quite peaceful as we hadn’t seen any other walkers during the day, but I’m feeling like a walk along the coast or to the top of a mountain is required though. My recent walks along dry, rocky creek beds are okay, but they’re not my favourite type of day hike.
The final statistics for the walk were that we’d covered a lazy 10.80 km with the elevation climbed over the day being 339 metres.
What’s next? No idea, but I do have a thought something else happened on this walk, which I was going to write about. Later on, I’d better ask Ben and maybe he can jog my memory. This entry went on way too long, as it took five days to finish. I might try a new approach next time. Don’t worry, it won’t be a write up about hiking gear.