|The pools in the Lerderderg River were looking pretty stagnant on this visit...I've never seen the river so dry.|
The most common hazards that my friends ask me about are that usual ones like getting lost or getting injured or sick. While these things do occupy a bit of mind space I like to think with good preparation, caution and experience I can largely manage these risks. By far my biggest concern when it comes to heading bush on my own is stumbling into someone else’s dodgy situation and becoming collateral damage…as it were.
Occasionally you hear of a bushwalker going missing, never to be seen again, Warren Meyer up at Dom Dom Saddle being the most obvious example for me (ironically enough I did a ten kilometre walk out of Dom Dom Saddle the day before completing this stroll). The thought of stumbling onto someone doing something illegal and dodgy is a risk I can’t really control and mitigate that much.
Now there are a whole lot of people out there breaking the law in the bush and while some of those people are pretty well harmless, (mountain bikers on walking trails, horse riders in national parks, walkers camping outside designated areas, all spring to mind) there are also some that worry me a bit more. Stumbling onto an illegal plantation, illegal shooters, illegal 4 wheel drivers or trail bike riders, or just plain dodgy characters trying to keep a low profile in the scrub worries me a little more, you just never know how these people will react.
Every few months or so I’ll find myself in a slightly disconcerting situation (don’t forget that I normally head out at least twice a week) but my walk today out in Melbourne’s version of the Wild West at Lerderderg State Park had pretty much all the good stuff crammed into 10 kilometres. With Melbourne’s sprawling western suburbs getting ever closer, this rugged spot isn’t as remote as it once was. While it’s always been a little dodgy here, today I managed to stumble onto two 4wd’s illegally on a closed track, an abandoned camouflaged stealth camp a fair way off any tracks, and then there was all the troublesome signposts that had been sorted out by a 12 gauge…yep, it was fun times out in the bush this morning!
|O'Briens Crossing was already pretty busy when I set off this morning.|
|The river had been reduced to a few stagnant pools at O'Briens Crossing on this visit.|
|There is a informal pad that climbs a spur just after leaving O'Briens Crossing saving a bit of a road bash.|
|Climbing the steep, loose and eroded Short Cut Track.|
|There is a gate on Trout Track.|
|Dropping down Trout Track closer to Sardine Creek it starts to get pretty steep.|
|The climb out of Sardine Creek is even steeper than the descent in I think.|
|The small camping spot where Trout Track gets to Clear Water Creek is quite a pretty spot.|
|Clear Water Creek meandered it's way towards the Lerderderg River through a series of interlocking spurs.|
|Crossing the Lerderderg River on Ambler Lane, I was looking for a walking track on the right where the road heads off up hill.|
|Walking the dry river bed allowed me to appreciate the rugged walls of the gorge.|
|The Lerderderg River approaching O'Briens Crossing.|
According to my GPS I walked 10.1 kilometres and climbed 399 metres on what I’d call a medium grade stroll this morning. As I’ve mentioned things can be a little hit or miss out at Lerderderg in my opinion, the spot seems to attract a lot of my bogan brother and sisters and while the majority of them are nice people you just never know sometimes, especially if you meet up with them while they are up to something dodgy. The walking here can also be hit and miss, although with everything from quiet dirt roads, 4wd tracks, walking tracks and off track routes there is plenty of variety! I used the notes out of Mr Tempests book Melbourne’s Western Gorges book this morning, Mr Thomas has also written up a similar walk in one of his old books.
Byers Back Track & Shaws Lake, Lerderderg State Park, 2018.
Lerderderg East Walk, Lerderderg State Park, 2018.