Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sapling Gully - Sunday, 17th July

It's a tradition with the Walkabouters to allow plenty of time prior to the commencement of the walk. This allows time for navigation issues in new areas and for stragglers to arrive in time. It also lets early arrivals to have an extra cuppa before heading off.

Due to recent mishaps with arriving on time to walks in the Brisbane Ranges, the meeting point was in Bacchus Marsh and extra early to allow for car pooling and prevent anyone from getting lost. This tactic worked well!

With only a few kilometres to drive, from Bacchus Marsh, it wasn't long before we arrived at the start of the walk - Sapling Gully Picnic Area.

Sapling Gully is in the northern end of the Brisbane Ranges, which is 80 kms west of Melbourne. Sapling Gully is a very rocky creek bed that runs in a fairly north-south direction between the hills, and the picnic area is lies between two steep, rocky hills adjacent to the gully. In heavy rain this gully would rapidly fill with water running off from the hills, quickly becoming a raging torrent.

We started our walk, heading up Red Ironbark Track, following the ridge line toward the summit of the mountain. Our first steep incline of the day!

Red Ironbark Tree

The track crossed a tributary of Sapling Gully, which showed recent evidence of the recent floods. A lot of debris lay strewn along it's path.

 After a few initial undulations to warm us up, we commenced the steep part of the incline!

Fortunately, there were many interesting botanical observations to be made on this ascent which allowed everyone to catch their breath without anyone noticing!

Due to the recent rains, the vegetation was very lush and green. Moss was growing prolifically on the lower slopes, providing a patchwork of every possible shade of green.

There were even some tiny fungi growing amongst the moss.

As we gained altitude the moss gave way to lichen and the bushy undergrowth became more sparse.

Shortly before reaching the summit we started to encounter the odd Grass-tree here and there.

It wasn't long before we were surrounded by them!

Upon reaching the summit of the ridge, we took a few moments to indulge in some botanising.

Unfortunately, we didn't see a single orchid. Maybe it was a bit early in the season.

And then we headed down hill, toward our lunch destination.

This cave looked the perfect place for a yeti to hide, or maybe a black panther!

We took a right turn at Glider Track,

 and followed the meandering path,

 between the Eucalypts,

past a sudden drop,

through an open space,

and after a quick consultation with the trusty GPS, we arrived at our designated lunch spot.

WP - Walkabouter's Picnic

We knew it was our lunch spot because the sign in the background said so!

The Water Point looked just like the place a bunyip would live.

After lunch we headed back along Loop Track,  

past trees that were regenerating after recent fires.

We stopped to say hello to the friendly Parks Ranger,

before finding Pea Track and disappeared into it.

A brief stop to quench our thirst and to listen to a story about an aeroplane that crashed landed near here.

We quickened our pace, after the brief rest, as the temperature was became considerably colder, as a south-westerly breeze sprang up, ahead of the forecasted rain. 

After a trudge along an ascending 4WD track, we arrived back at Sapling Gully Picnic Area.

Five Walkabouters and two guests enjoyed this winter's walk through the northern part of the Brisbane Ranges. We walked 13.5 kms in total and climbed 140 metres up Red Ironbark Track to the summit of the ridge. 

Hot cups of tea and biscuits were a welcomed reward after a good days walk!

For more information, the Friends of the Brisbane Ranges  have a very informative website 
about the flora, fauna and geology of the area.

Parks Victoria also have information on tracks and walks in the area. 
See the link on the side bar to visit the website

Walkabouters Club of Victoria Inc.

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