Up and down mountains

I woke up yesterday morning to find that only half the newspaper had arrived. The newsagent lady said that they’ve had other sightings of the newspaper thief prime suspect. I really must get my film developed and hand over the photo.

Anyway I met up with Josh and Pete and we drove to a spot near Mount Macedon, for a spot of masochism, I mean walking. The plan was to leave the car near the towny bit, walk along the road, up the mountain to thegigantic cross at the top, then across the ranges and back down another mountain.

We got out of the car around 10am, walked up the road, and then started up the mountain. The path was a mere 1500 metres to the top – how hard could it be?Fucking agonising, that’s how hard it was. Maybe we’re just not as fit as we think we are. It was a huge effort to get up that mountain, and even with half a dozen rest stops (generally on the pretence of admiring the view) we were still worn out and very sweaty by the time we got to the top.

We found the cross, and we took a bunch of cycling tourists’ picture, and one of them reciprocated in taking ours (must get that digital camera). Then we sat at the base of the cross for some morning tea, and started eating and drinking our way through our backpacks. It wasn’t particularly warm, and a combination of the wind and the sweat meant that within minutes we were not only cold, but freezing, and regretting not having worn warmer clothing.

Fortunately most of the rest of the walk was far more relaxed, with few really challenging bits until the end. The mist and fog (and I’m not entirely sure what the distinction is) lifted, and the sun came out, at least for a while.

At one point we found ourselves on something called the
Forest Eco-tourism trail
. At the start was a display with brochures about the park, and I noticed the picture of the ranger was the same as the one for Croajingalong, which I visited in January. Either he gets around a lot, or he’s the Parks Victoria poster boy for the year. Mr Parks 2003.

The trail also had displays every so often telling us about the local flora and fauna. One point worth noting was that the local fauna love to leave their droppings on top of things on the paths. On top of rocks, primarily, though we also saw one on the base of a fire hydrant by a road. Yes, the wombats like to boast about their excremental achievements. After all, why hide it away when you can have it out on prominent display?

The other local fauna of note was the leeches. I managed to avoid them, but Josh and Pete got bitten up a treat, the only thing left behind by the leeches being bloodstained white socks. Ewwww. I was wearing green socks. Obviously leeches like white socks better. We also saw a wallaby, and an echidna. Actually the echidna was very still. Unnervingly still, and thinking back, I’m wondering now if it was actually alive.

And of course as we walked, our usual standard of Men Behaving Badly-esque conversations ensued. Highlights were pondering geographical terms (Such as "What’s between a hill and a mountain?" "A valley!" "Har har, well done… Beware the man with Geographical Powers"), the leeches ("What if there’s a giant leech queen waiting for us!") and after hearing a two stroke engine on a nearby road, and discussing Star Trek, pondering how it would be if the Enterprise were powered by a two stroke engine. That discussion inspired me to mess about with Flash that night.

The last leg of the hike (and by this point we were on our last legs too) was coming down the side of Mt Towrong, back into the town of Mt Macedon. The view from the top was spectacular, but it was quite some drop, and at first it looked like hanging around until after dark and then ringing the police to come and rescue us could be a real option. "Hello officer? Yes we’re stuck up the mountain. We don’t have any food left! I think I can hear wolves coming! Come and help us, please! Yes, a helicopter would be ideal."

But we followed the path, and somehow made it down in one piece. Our bones and muscles aching, we reached the road and walked back to the car. After an appropriate amount of time to collapse and recover, bless our favourite deities for making it back to civilisation in one piece, and get some well-earned soft drinks from the local shop, we drove back to Melbourne.

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