The bare bones of this post are simple. It was the final day of the northern circuit. We had about 10 km to cover from our camp at Lower Barry Creek, Wilsons Promontory and the finish at Five Mile Road carpark.
Now that’s out of the way, have you noticed I haven’t been here for a while? Were you curious at all? Well, you should be. I’m quite alive, although recently I’ve veered between suicidal, homicidal and lackofsugarcidal. All of these are draining my mojo for writing.
Oh, don’t worry, I may vanish for a while, but I’ll always return at some point. Even if dead. I want to be the first ‘blogging ghost’ who’ll haunt the internet with words of rambling crap, unlike this current rambling crap, which is completely different, as I’m alive. Can you see the distinction? It’s an important one.
So, remember this hike? I wasn’t even going to write about the last day of this walking foray. Hell, Smuffin and I did the walk in May, so it’s getting a bit long in the tooth and worst of all, there’s nothing in this final stanza to talk about. For completeness though, I think it’s best to knock it off once and for all. Before I do though, a couple of things. I’ve needed to do some spring cleaning of the blog, but I had to wait until it was actually spring before beginning. Luckily for me, spring started, so here we go.
Has anyone noticed a few of the comments on posts are missing? Without sounding like a complete wanker (that’ll be later), comments are vital to fuel a blog. You know why? I can’t say this enough, but most often blogging just feels like I’m having an extended conversation with myself. Some of these posts can take a week to compile and if they’re not well received (which might be totally unfounded), I tend to verge close to bronzing up. Comments are important and I’ll dispute any blogger who says they don’t like them. Who writes, but doesn’t want any feedback? No and not just any no. It’s no².
So, after finally getting my head around answering a few comments, what did I do? Well, instead of deleting 100 spam ones, I accidentally deleted the last 100 legitimate comments. I told you I wasn’t in the proper head space for this. It was quite traumatic, but in some way, understandable. Do you realise I get up to 500 spam emails a day for the blog? Yes, they do go into the bucket, but some legitimate ones end up in there as well, so I try and fish them out. It’s time consuming, so it’s amazing I haven’t ballsed up and clicked the wrong button before.
All I can say is, I apologise to everyone who’s left a comment lately and has now found it’s missing. No, I don’t dislike you. Honestly, I’d give you all a kiss to thank you for taking up some of your time to leave one. Oh, maybe I should clarify regarding the kissing. With the men, I’d still kiss you, but there’d be no tongue. Sorry.
There’s no getting around it. Those comments are gone and are now floating in the ether somewhere before no doubt landing at the feet of Jimmy Hoffa and Lord Lucan, who I’m sure are sharing a motel in Vegas at this moment.
Before leaving this topic for good, I must remind you about the comment policy in this joint. I only accept glowing, informative or something which adds to a post. If a smart arse one is left, like a couple I’ve had recently, I just delete them. So if you’re a penis, how many times do I have to tell you? There’s no democracy in blogging. It’s a personal blog and I run a tight dictatorship here.
Right. What else? I haven’t been walking much either, which is problematic when writing a hiking blog. I really should have stuck with my original idea, ‘Sitting in the Cafe Fiasco’. It would have been so much easier. Anyway, I decided the only way to get motoring again was to head into the wild lands of Lerderderg Gorge. I’m telling you, that place with it’s hideously steep hills and hundreds of snakes, always underfoot in the warmer months, is the perfect location to feel alive again. Let me explain.
I set out wandering within its narrow confines and faced the traditional, “which side of the river should I be on?” routine. I criss-crossed a number of times yesterday, until misjudging and finding the water was a bit deep. Whilst wading, the level rose up and up until finally the frigid liquid lapped at my baubles. It was quite a moment and as I let out a cry, which was similar to a squirrel on helium, I found something else come over me.
I was back. Ready to walk and write again. This bell ringing moment worked for me and maybe it could do the same for you? If you think about it, you don’t even have to go walking and instead, do it on the cheap at home. Leap up from you sofa and stand with your legs apart. Then request your partner deliver to the cojones, an 80 metre torpedo punt, complete with follow through and if done correctly both your feet should lift at least six inches off the ground. As a result, can you imagine how alive you’ll feel? Oh, if you’re not sure about it, just give Google a whirl and you’ll find some informative videos online. You can ignore the German language being used, as a visual instruction is all you need. Leather face mask is also optional. It’s your call.
Don’t you love a long intro? I’ve got one more thing to cover and then I can describe the last day of the hike where nothing happened. My next spring cleaning task will be the walking companions bit, which I aim to stick on the home page. At this stage I’ll be doing a quick spiel about Smuffin, Ben and Derek. The only thing stopping me from doing it now is a photo, which will display them at their finest.
I found one of Smuffin where he appears to be humping a boulder. It’s not bad, but as you can imagine, it’s pending approval. I’m not sure of the Ben one? Currently he’s doing philosophy at university, whilst also increasing his alcohol intake during down time. I guess I could get a photo of him unconscious next to a goon bag? Remember what Socrates said, ‘In order to think, you’ve got to drink. Lots’. Oh, and Derek? In his aim to become an extreme ultralight hiker, his concerns about carrying excess weight was taken to extremes. Getting rid of his brain wasn’t the wisest idea, as he can’t think any more, so there’s no point getting him to approve any photos. I’ll do it for him.
Mm… I think that’s it? I should have kept a list, as I’m sure there’s more. It’s slipped my mind though, so I might as well finish off what this post is meant to be about.
Smuffin and I had arrived at the Lower Barry Creek campsite in the mid afternoon. What’s weird is we were surrounded by gnarly looking clouds and before we knew it, the wind had picked up, causing a whistling and groaning of trees grinding against each other. Surely it was going to rain? Luckily, I had brought a tarp for just such an occasion. None of this cooking in a tent caper if it began bucketing down. Nope, up went the Taj Mahal with its vast big boy coverage to protect us from the elements.
As darkness fell, the wind howled with unabated intensity and I expected rain to tumble down at any moment. Lying in my kipper, I wondered if it was the last snooze I’d ever have, as creaking trees above left me mildly petrified about being speared like a kebab by a falling branch. I hoped not, as I wouldn’t be able to write this post and I’d also miss out in buying a fridge magnet from Knob Lick, Missouri. Oh, in case you’re wondering, I do like to keep my ambitions lo-fi.
Guess what happened next? I woke up and it was sunny and dry, with not a drop of rain to be seen anywhere. Huh? What was all that about? Talk about taking the piss. Oh well, we lost a decade of our life erecting and then de-erecting (is that even a word?) the Taj for no apparent purpose, but that kinda sums up hiking anyway.
Now the walking part. I’m really struggling here, as I have no recollection of the events. Mainly because it was full steam ahead to Five Mile Road. The vegetation was no different than the last few days. It tended to remove pieces of skin from our bare legs or ensnare us on the way past.
Stumbling along, I was reminded of my notes, which stated, ‘…at the top of a prominent bare granite dome, drop the packs and soak up the magnificent 360 degree views…’. Mm… Where was this strange contraption he speaks of? After much walking, we found this…
…which really, gave quite piss-poor views. I assume this wasn’t the rock as described? Either that, or the bloke who wrote the notes is about one foot tall.
What’s interesting is the track is quite easy to follow within this section, but it seemed to go in the opposite direction of where the road is situated. At one point, we were running parallel with Five Mile Road, but going the wrong way. We were so tempted to take a straight ahead approach and lop kilometres off the wander, but being good blokes, we stuck with what was was marked and plodded along. Oh, we found a large, flattish granite rock. Mm… Maybe this was it?
It did have some views…
…but the fun had really gone out of the trip, so we didn’t stay long and after a bit more leg slashing excitement, we finally hit Five Mile Road. It may be dull, but at least we’d finally be injury free for the last leg.
Seeing the road where one has to walk, snake off into the distance like this, is quite the mental drainer. No wonder Smuffin was on his haunches, cursing himself for not bringing a gas oven along.
On though we stumbled, passing familiar trees on the way. I think I’ve got about 20 photos of this one, taken on multiple trips.
Then the car was sighted. In the history of mankind, no vehicle has ever been craved quite like the Japanese one we dragged our bodies to. Not even the Volvo PS1800 (2 door) which Napoleon used to escape the Battle of Waterloo could compare for its desire.
Is there anything left? Well, there is one final footnote to all of this. After loading the car and employing, ‘ full-Ari-Vatanen-opposite-lock-mode’ (FAVOLM. Yes, FAVOLM you bastards!!) on the gravel road in my longing to escape the great northern wander, we stopped at the Yanakie General Store for sustenance. Namely a big stinkin’ burger. We both ordered the vegan edition with extra bacon. Smuffin also bought some sports drinks (beer) to wash down the magnificent beast between two buns (no, it’s not a porn movie title). Really. It was a pretty special burger, but even now, we’re not sure if it was good, or we were just seeking greasy sustenance to placate our damaged minds having been slashed to death in scrub for the last few days.
I did consider taking a photo of it, but somehow, before my artistic mind could grab the camera, the caveman part of my brain grabbed the burger in a fearsome two-handed grip and inhaled it. With burger in one hand and beer in the other, Smuffin was screaming louder than the moment when Carlton last won a Grand Final. I can’t even think that far back? At the conclusion of this feast, I guess he was distracted by the deliciousness of the moment. In cleaning up, he threw out the burger wrappers, beer bottle, beer bottle cap and his Swiss Army knife. Out of all those things listed, which is the odd one out? Even now he’s suspicious I knocked it off, even though I’ve had my own for about two hundred years.
Is that it? I think so. No matter what I’ve written, it’s a great walk and best of all, in hindsight it didn’t seem so painful after all. Isn’t that always the way? Even this photo of my legs when I got home, doesn’t make me wince. Where’s Freud when you need him?
Oh, don’t be a dickhead like we were. Wear long pants. Gaiters helped a little, but overall, shorts are verboten.