Sunday, May 19, 2019

Narbethong, Marysville State Forest - April 2019

Early morning walking on Dom Dom Road.
A little while ago I mentioned a guy by the name of Warren Meyer in one of my posts, Warren was an unfortunate bushwalker who set off for a fairly easy half day of walking and never returned. Warren’s fate has never really been cleared up, there are all sorts of theories out there from plain old misadventure to the more sinister foul play theories. Without knowing any of Warren’s personal circumstances it’s hard to comment on the likelihood that he staged his own disappearance. What doesn’t seem likely is that it was misadventure though, a fairly easy half day walk on tracks for an experienced bushwalker is a pretty low risk day out. Speculating a little, I suspect that Warren happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, maybe running into illegal shooters or someone nervous about their illegal crop.
Hermitage Track drops off into the trees behind my ute.
So, parking the ute beside the busy Maroondah Highway in a small parking bay, I set off down Hermitage Track with Warren on my mind, this area being the location that Warren was last seen alive. The other reason that I was thinking about Warren Meyer was the fact that on this walk I was heading into an area that doesn’t see many walkers any more. While Monda, Morley and Condons Tracks still see a lot of walkers and have been written about in current walking guide books (and on my blog) I was heading down Dom Dom Track today on a walk that, from what I can see was last put into print back in one of Tyrone Thomas’ old books in 1998.
Dropping down Hermitage Track - it was a fairly early start again today.
There are some advantages to an early start.
It was while dropping down Hermitage Track that I got my first look across to Mt Dom Dom.
After dropping easily down Hermitage Track and crossing the small Dom Dom Creek I met Dom Dom Creek Road, turned right and started climbing. The climb up Dom Dom Creek Road is probably the hardest section of this short walk, although at less than 1.5 kilometres in length it’s hardly a long climb. The main reason that I like walking up here so much is the towering Mountain Ash Trees and the climb up Dom Dom Creek Road this morning provided all the excuses that I needed to stop and take it all in. Reaching Dom Dom Road I took a short side trip out to the Dom Dom Saddle Picnic Area, happy to see that the damage that had been caused by one of my 4wd brothers doing circle work on the grass had more or less disappeared since my last visit.
Climbing up Dom Dom Creek Road I had all the excuses I needed to stop for awhile.
Dom Dom Creek Road.
Dom Dom Picnic Area - last time I was up here (or maybe the time before?) some tool had been doing circle work on the grass.
Leaving the Dom Dom Saddle Picnic Area I now started off on a long circumnavigation of the nearby 730m Mt Dom Dom. I was now following Dom Dom Road, first across a high timbered saddle that offered some glimpses through the trees down the the fog covered Acheron Valley and then sidling the southern slopes of Mt Dom Dom. Approaching Mt Dom Dom I could see that the mountain’s south eastern flank had been clear felled and before long, a pile of litter beside the track signalled my arrival at the deserted logging coupe. I don’t think that there is a shittier sight than a clear felled logging coupe, especially one in a Mountain Ash forest, so needless to say I didn’t linger here long this morning.
Dom Dom Creek coming in from the left, I was heading down Dom Dom Road straight ahead.
The Acheron Valley was still cloaked in fog.
Dom Dom Road makes for nice walking - mostly.
Dom Dom Road.
Dom Dom Road.
The guys mustn't have room in their utes for their rubbish!
This is a little jarring.
Pushing on, my track started to drop down the side of a ferny gully before more or less bottoming out where Dom Dom Road swung around to start heading north. Now I have to say the signposting on the walk can be a little hit and miss, being a working forest there is no shortage of old tracks around heading off into the scrub at random tangents. The go along here, if anyone decides to follow me, is if in doubt stick to the more major track which should be Dom Dom Road, well stick to the main track until you walk past Fishers Creek Track anyway. Fishers Creek track comes in on the right and is a fairly important navigational way point, the good news here is that the track is sign posted and it’s also where I started to see BNT way markers, so it’s fairly easy to identify.
Thankfully there is only a couple of hundred metres of the walk really badly affected by the logging coupe.
Dom Dom Road.
Dom Dom Road.
I was now passing along the eastern slopes of Mt Dom Dom.
Dom Dom Road.
Dom Dom Road.
A couple of hundred metres after passing Fishers Creek Track I picked up the very old, overgrown Hermitage Track heading off to the left (west). This is why it is important to identify Fishers Creek Track as the start of the old Hermitage Track is vague. The track starts in the scrub behind an informal camp, a couple of very old blackened cut logs being a bit of a hint that I was in the right spot. Once on the old track the going was pretty good really, actually I’d say it was the best walking of the day as I made my way along the single track. The forest on these northern slopes of Mt Dom Dom is a lot drier than most of the rest of the walk so even though things were a little on the overgrown side it wasn’t too bad pushing through it.
I headed west (left) here off Dom Dom Road onto the old Hermitage Track. There is a small yellow BNT marker on the Stringybark 15 metres further down the road that is a good reference point.
Hermitage Track is more like your typical bushwalking track ... once you find it.
The forest is a like drier on these northern slopes of Mt Dom Dom, well relatively anyway.
After twenty minutes or so I emerged from the scrub back onto Dom Dom Creek Track again, to almost immediately leave it and head off up the continuation of Hermitage Track (now a clear dirt road). I was now meandering my way back up the track that I’d come down this morning, this track is a red clay based road so I’m guessing in the wetter weather things would be pretty slippery along here but this morning everything was pretty sweet on my climb. With the sound of traffic on the busy Maroondah Highway getting louder I climbed the last few metres and arrived back at the ute, happy to be safely back after another interesting stroll.
Dom Dom Creek.
You've got to like your trees to consider this walk.
The Dirt.
According to my GPS I walked 13.6 kilometres and climbed 466 metres on what I’d call a medium grade walk. This is a walk to consider if you like Mountain Ash trees and have walked the more popular tracks in the area. The walk is generally pretty good although it’s spoilt a little by the logging in the nearby area, once away from the logging coupe everything is pretty good. Navigation needs a little concentration on this stroll, especially picking the spot to turn of Dom Dom Road onto the very overgrown Hermitage Track. I used the notes and mud map out of the 1998 edition of Tyrone Thomas’ 120 Walks in Victoria book and also used Rooftops Yarra Valley - West Gippsland Adventure Map.

Relevant Posts.
Monda Track, Toolangi State Forest, 2017.
Mt St Leonard, Yarra Ranges National Park, 2015.
Morleys Track, Yarra Ranges National Park, 2017.

Climbing back up to the ute along Hermitage Track, I'm thinking things could be a little slippery along here in winter.
Arriving back at the Maroondah Highway, another straightforward walk coming to it's end - makes the Warren Meyer situation even more curious. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Kline Nature Walk, Murray~Sunset National Park - May 2019

Lake Crosbie just after dawn.
I’ve never really featured the Murray-Sunset National Park on my blog. Probably the main reason for that is that it’s so far from home however I decided to rectify that this week. With the park being so far from home I decided to head up after finishing work for the week on a Thursday night. By the time I’d thrown all my gear into the ute and had some dinner with Sam it was around 7pm when I set off on the long drive. With some good rain up in northern Victoria in the previous couple of days there was plenty of standing water around on my long drive north tonight, something that is a bit unusual up here, but it added a bit of interest to my drive(it doesn’t take much to occupy my mind;). I pulled into the almost empty camp near Lake Crosbie just before 1am, had the tent up and was into bed within twenty minutes after what had been a long day.
It takes a bit to get me out of the tent before the sun arrives - but this'll do it!
Lake Crosbie
Waking next morning just before the sun arrived over the horizon I pulled on the warmest clothes that I had, grabbed the camera and emerged into the cool morning air. This place is magic at sunset and sunrise and with a bit of recent rain the nearby Lake Crosbie had a shallow sheen of water on it which only added to the scene this morning. The lake having a nice pink hue to it this morning. The pink colour isn’t caused by the salt (they are all salt lakes up here) but by a species of red algae that can tolerate the salty environment. Eventually I decided to head back to camp, scoff down some breakfast and pack up camp.
Lake Crosbie
Lake Crosbie
Saltbush at Lake Crosbie, it's easy to see the inspiration behind the indigenous dot painting style of art.
Parking the ute at a picnic area about 100 metres from the spot I'd camped at, I grabbed my pack, reset the GPS and set off onto the signposted Kline Nature Walk. This walk sets off along the eastern shoreline of Lake Crosbie, the level sandy track passing through mostly salt bush with the occasional larger tree to add a bit of interest. For me though the main interest was still the early morning light over Lake Crosbie although the pad largely stays around 50 metres away from the actual lake shore, that said it’s easy enough to follow one of the many animal pads down to the salty shoreline if you want a closer look.
The walk is fairly well signposted and marked.
The track is a short walk from the salty shoreline of Lake Crosbie.
The walking is all fairly easy.

After ten minutes or so I met a track junction and turned east away from Lake Crosbie and started a gentle climb up and over a low ridge, the views over my shoulder back towards Lake Crosbie only improving as I climbed. I was now climbing through sparse woodland that is fairly typical of the country up here, Cypress Pines, Mallee and Buloke being the predominant trees up here along with the occasional Yellow Gums. Reaching the highest point I suddenly not only had views of Lake Crosbie over my shoulder but also Lake Kenyon in front of me and to make things very civilised Parks Vic had even installed a seat for me to sit on and take it all in.
After leaving Lake Crosbie I climbed this low ridge.
I got some nice views back towards Lake Crosbie over my shoulder.
Cypress Pine...sweet.
Dropping off the low ridge I now meandered my way down onto the western shoreline of Lake Kenyon, another salt lake with a pinkish hue. It was along the shoreline of Lake Kenyon that I started to encounter a few relics left over from the old salt mining days up here. My track followed the red sandy shoreline of Lake Kenyon for around twenty minutes, the fairly open country making it very easy to get some great views of the virtually dry lake.
Lake Kenyon
It was when I reached Lake Kenyon that I started to come across some relics left over from earlier times.
Lake Kenyon
The pad beside Lake Kenyon was also pretty easy to follow.
I'm not sure if the old plough was used in the harvesting of the salt or it was left over from some nearby pastural endeavour?
Paperbarks at Lake Kenyon.
Reaching the western most tip of Lake Kenyon I started to climb west back over the same ridge that I’d climbed earlier, once again the low ridge hardly making for an arduous climb. After meandering around a little checking out various (signposted and un signposted) points of interest I arrived at the crest of the ridge, my route now tracking north west a little close to the crest. There are some more remnants of the salt mining days up here including an old truck that is slowly rusting away under the desert sky. It’s worth poking around the old relics for awhile, although you’d want to be careful of snakes if you get too inquisitive around this old machinery.
Climbing away from Lake Kenyan back onto the low ridge.
I did say it was a low ridge.
Looking back down to Lake Kenyan from the ridge line.
Restorer's delight.
The rear (?) end wasn't far away.
My walk now dropped back down towards Lake Crosbie again, the track looping around to the north near some old carriages that were used to transport the salt before arriving at the Open Air Salt Museum. The grandly titled Open Air Salt Museum not only features more rusting relics of the bygone era but also some very large left over mounds of salt that look a little like mounds of snow after the snow making machines have been busy in our alpine areas. If anyone reading this waffle wants to visit this spot but isn’t keen on the walking bit then you can drive here along the 2wd Pink Lakes Road.
I'm guessing that these old carriages were for transporting the salt.
I was dropping back down towards Lake Crosbie again now.
The very easy walking continued.
The Open Air Salt Museum featured a few left over large mounds of salt.
Crossing over Pink Lakes Road my walking track once again starred tracking along the eastern shoreline of Lake Crosbie, although now with the sun a lot higher in the sky I wasn’t mucking around as much taking photos as the harsher late morning light was no match for this mornings soft light. After passing my outward route I retraced the last few hundred metres back to the ute with plenty of time for morning smoko before I’d set off on another stroll - but that’s another story.
There is some more rustic machinery at the Open Air Salt Museum.
Heading back to the ute beside Lake Crosbie.
Lake Crosbie
The Dirt.
According to my GPS I walked 5.4 kilometres and climbed 54 metres on this easy stroll. The track is fairly well signposted and defined and there are quite a few information boards erected around the walk. While the track is mostly sand it’s not overly soft, although walking up here in hot weather would ramp the degree of difficulty up substantially. This walk has been written up by quite a few walking guide book authors over the years including Mr Thomas, Mr & Mrs Daly and Ms Ball. I used Melanie Ball’s notes and map out of her Top Walks in Victoria book today as they are the most currant. Parks Vic also have a lot of free stuff online.

Relevant Posts.
Hattah Lakes Circuit, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, 2018.
Lake Hattah to Ki Bend, Hattah-Kulkyne Circuit, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, 2018.
Black Flat to Remote Camp via Lake Brambruk, Remote Camp Walk, Wyperfeld National Park, 2017.

And another nice little stroll has come to it's end.
It's a harsh environment up here.