Sugarloaf Reservoir Circuit - 2nd March 2014
I looked out the window this morning, hoping to see a little of the rain that was forecast for today, and yes, it was cloudy, but there wasn't a drop of rain in sight. OK, might be a nice day for a bit of bush walking anyway, so it's time to fill the Source water bladder (3 litres) and jam it into the backpack, grab some nut bars, trail mix and a couple of Freddo Frogs I nicked from the fridge and a thin rain jacket (just in case) and head off!
It's not a long drive from home out to Christmas Hills to Sugarloaf Reservoir, so that's my choice for this hike. The GPS is already in my pack, as is a small first-aid kit, so once I pull into the car park, I'm all set to go. This time I remember to reset the GPS and clear the last hike out of memory (forgot last time, and didn't get an accurate time and distance for the hike... bugger! I'm sure it's not 32km around here...). I also set an app on my phone to record the hike so that I can upload it, but more on this later...
I have parked at the Ridge Park picnic ground, on the North-West side of the dam. There are a couple of rotundas here, and gas BBQs, with a toilet block, and although it looks a bit brown and dry at the moment, it's a great place to come for a picnic or BBQ with the family and/or friends.
I walk out of the car park onto the track (I'm walking around anti-clockwise this time, just for a change) and within about 50 metres, I run into this little chap, wandering across the trail:
|Glad I didn't step on this little bloke!|
I wander on and cross the dam wall on the South-West side, heading towards the pump house and Winneke water treatment station:
|Crossing the Dam Wall|
|Saddle Dam picnic area|
Just past this I hook up with the Chris Phillips track and follow this around the reservoir. The track pretty much follows the waterline in most spots, with a few loops cut off here and there. Track markers are either bright orange posts or orange triangles nailed to trees at regular intervals, and overall the trail is very easy to follow. The water level is lower this visit, probably having dropped between 4-5 metres down the slope of the bank since my last visit around 6 weeks ago, depending upon the steepness of the bank. As I walk further, I come across a sluice gate, not sure if it is still functional, looks like it may no longer be connected to the operating ram above it.
|Gate from other side of pond|
|About half way there now...|
|You can smell it before you see it!|
|The view over the (mainly dead) ferns from Dunny Hill.|
Just down the track from the toilets, I find another friend, and stop for a chat...
|Another spiky pal wandering along hunting for lunch...|
The next pic demonstrates why I would think twice about pitching camp anywhere near any decent sized trees. Gums can drop limbs at any time, and quite often it is on a calm, still day (usually after a spell of hot weather, or sometimes after a couple of very windy days). I have been camping up the Murray River, and on a hot, calm day you can hear branches breaking all through the day. They sound like rifle shots across the water, and have flattened quite a few camps (and campers) over the years. Be careful!
|Wouldn't like to be under that one when it dropped!|
|Pine Cone Alley|
After a few more turns and over a few more hills, I travel past the Yacht Club. There are boats everywhere, mostly under tarps, and there are usually a few out on the water.
|Yacht Club boat-park (well, it's not a car park!)|
|Nearly there now, keep going!|
After a bit more tramping, the track turns and joins onto a vehicle track running up along the fence line, and dumps me out back at the car park at Ridge Park, right where we started from. The GPS tells me that I have covered 16Km, and it has taken me about 3hrs 15min. Not bad, considering I stopped plenty of times for photos, watched a couple of echidnas poke around for a while, and had a couple of drink and snack stops along the way. The app on my phone failed to record my trek, so I won't use that one again, as I think it stopped logging when I locked my phone and turned the screen off. Will go back to the trusted Runtastic Pro I have been using previously with nary a hitch, and it barely sips at the battery.
I can smell snags cooking, someone is having a BBQ and it smells great! Boy, am I hungry now. I will just wander over to the car, sit in the shade, and munch on a nice, healthy Nut Bar and drink my water. Where is the nearest take-away shop!! ;-)