Off we go again! My second walk now with the Diamond Valley Bushwalking Club, and it was a beauty!
We arranged to meet in the Eltham Community Centre car park at 8.00am, ready for an 8.15am departure. I turned up early (as is normal for me, I'd rather be a good half-hour to an hour early than 5 minutes late) and found Ritchie there waiting, having caught an early bus in. We chat for a while until the rest of the group arrives, then pack our gear into two cars and head off for Warburton, at the base of Mt Donna Buang.
As we drive, we chat, and I can see the scenery change as we get closer to our walk start point. The hills grow in stature, the flora transforms from brown with hints of new growth into a dark rich green quilt of life draped over the mountains. Arriving at the town of Warburton is like stepping into another world, it really is a little piece of paradise! Nestled in the valley with mountains all around, sitting on the banks of the Yarra (at this stage, the river is small and CLEAN and beautiful) the place is straight off a postcard.
We park at a small picnic shelter near the base of the Warburton Golf Course, next door to the Senior Citizen's Centre on Damman's Road.
|Preparing to head for the hills...|
|Getting fired up early climbing Martyr Road.|
|7 hours! What! Surely that isn't quite right? Or is it....|
|Into the ferns!|
|Photos really don't do this scenery justice.|
Now we get into the serious stuff! The ground becomes steeper now, with a constant climb of somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees, and at times the track is a low tunnel through a thick cover of tree ferns, requiring an even more bent over gait to navigate. My trekking poles help a lot on the climb, allowing me to stand more upright and push along with my arms, taking quite a lot of strain and effort off my legs.
|Yes, it is steep!|
|And we climb, and climb...|
|Break time. Phew!|
|We reach the mist...|
|...or the mist reaches us.|
|Gums in the mist.|
Soon we reach our next waypoint - Mt Donna Buang Road. We step out of the bowels of the forest and onto the man-made road surface, and it's a feeling of relief that the hardest section is done, mixed with a little disappointment that we have to leave the cocoon of nature.
|Mist across Mt Donna Buang Road.|
|Transmitter towers on Mt Victoria.|
|A sea of ferns|
|And yet more ferns! Wonderful...|
|Amazingly bright berries!|
|We made it to the top!|
|Observation tower on Mt Donna Buang summit.|
|A selfie in the mist!|
|Fireplace in the shelter|
|Applies everywhere you walk if there are no bins.|
|Collapsed old shelter.|
|Keep going guys!|
We make our way back down the mountain, this time taking a shorter route through the forest to reach Mt Donna Buang Road a little quicker. The group follows the road a short distance to rejoin the track that we followed on the climb up earlier in the day. You may think it's much easier going down, and it is certainly less effort, and it only takes us half the time, but it is still very hard going. We need to be more careful with each step, as it is very easy to slip on the damp ground, and again the trekking poles are a godsend, helping to add stability by giving me an extra couple of contact points on the ground. Even though my arms are doing a lot of work, my legs feel rather tired by the time we reach the aqueduct.
|Back at the paddock.|
At the picnic shelter, Peter and Sandra pull out a surprise for us all, afternoon tea! Tea, coffee, biscuits, homemade muffins and fruit slice are all greatly appreciated after our hard days exercise. We meet up again with Alistair who has also spent the day walking, and has wandered through town, checked out some of the back streets, and walked both sides of the Yarra River through town. A most enjoyable day for him too!
|Back at the shelter for afternoon tea.|
I can't wait to head out on the next walk. Now, where is that walks program...