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Walk into History

PostPosted: Mon 08 Apr, 2019 11:37 pm
by enlightened0ne
I did the Walk into History in Warburton State Forest on March 30-31st. The forecast was for rain all weekend so I knew it would be a wet walk but went anyway, and I’m glad I did. Imgur album with photos:

I started from Big Pat’s Creek trailhead to skip the road walk from Warburton, so the total distance was around 45km. I started walking around 2pm and reached Federal Mill campsite around 6. The only people I saw all afternoon were a couple who were just packing up in Starlings Gap campsite. They had been driven home by the rain. Parts of the track were quite muddy and the crossing of the Little Ada River was under quite a bit of water so my shoes were well and truly wet by the time I reached the campsite.

I set up camp just as the hail became much heavier and discovered I’d forgotten to replace my fire steel with the mini bic I had intended to bring, so I cold-soaked some mi goreng in filtered muddy creek water. My tuna in olive oil had become a solid block due to the cold, but was still nourishing. Overnight I discovered a leech in my sleeping quilt that had been sucking on my hand, and another that had sucked on the back of my neck escaped my quilt and then froze solid on the floor of my tent. I snapped that one in half.

After a fairly cold and windy night I woke to more rain, put my wet clothes back on, and hiked the Ada tree loop back to the campsite. This part of the track and most of the track to follow wasn’t maintained at all, with lots of blowdowns. Some were quite challenging to negotiate even with my very small pack. The overhanging wet ferns that were constantly in the way harboured plenty of leeches!

I walked from Federal Mill campsite to Ada 2 (which is actually a nicer campsite) then down the very steep high lead. The high lead descends ~700m over about 3km, and was covered in wet leaf litter so it was a little treacherous. The only other person I saw on the hike was halfway down on the side of a road crossing, supervising the Victorian Rally Championships which I could hear for most of the morning.

After the high lead was the best part of the walk, along the old tramway cutting. It’s very overgrown so it’s like a green tunnel, with plenty of lyrebirds scratching in the bottom. There was no sign of any recent human traffic, so it seems like it’s not walked often. It was a pretty quick walk into Powelltown, where I was picked up around 2pm from the Powelly Pub. The rain abated for the first time in the whole trip just as I walked under the shelter of the pub eaves.

It’s a beautiful walk, and I’m glad I did it despite the rain. The track could certainly do with maintenance, but it was nice to feel that I was walking comparatively untrodden trails. The rusting boilers and tracks attest to the former logging history of the area, and add a human interest element to the walk. One can imagine the loggers walking those same steps a century ago to spend a month in the forest.

My total pack weight including food and water was around 7kg for this trip, so I was able to make pretty good time. I didn’t really need to bring 2L of water because sources were more plentiful than the map suggested. I could have easily just brought 500mL and filtered periodically. Most of the track after the high lead is beside water, and water crossings are frequent. In better weather it’s easy to catch spiny Crayfish in the creeks in the area.

Had I remembered to bring a lighter (or if I could have been bothered using a firestick) I could have had a nice fire at the campsite. A large amount of chopped firewood and kindling has been stacked at Federal mill, and there was plenty at Ada 2 as well. It would have been nice to have dry socks and shoes for the second day’s walk but it wasn’t really a problem.

Although the published material suggests a 3-5 day walk I struggle to see how this is more than a 2 day trip. I did it in 2 leisurely half days of walking (10 hours of walking). It would be fairly easy to do as a day trip if you started walking early.

This trip I tried some new gear. I used a DCF rain kilt which performed well, though it did encourage water to drip into my trail runners, but I don’t think there was any way my feet would have stayed dry. I used the carbon Fiber trekking staff from ZPacks. It’s really durable, light, and was perfect for me. I don’t like to carry 2 trekking poles because I end up just carrying them and only using them to set up my tent. The staff was good for river crossings, stability when moving through mud and down the steep high lead, and for moving overhead ferns out of the way.

I also used the aegismax quilt from AliExpress (with my torso length X-lite) and due to the unexpectedly cold temps (given ice had formed it must have reached 0°C) it was a bit beyond its comfort rating (8°C). I was okay with down socks and a synthetic jacket, but would have liked a warmer quilt.

Re: Walk into History

PostPosted: Tue 09 Apr, 2019 5:10 am
by CraigVIC
Great report and photos.

I was there the same weekend. Given the rain we started at Starling Gap and walked to LaTrobe river camp ground. We planned to loop back via the roads and Ada tree the next day but the rally guys were closing the road on Sunday. Can't plan for everything I guess.

Re: Walk into History

PostPosted: Tue 09 Apr, 2019 7:39 am
by neilmny
The link to the photos doesn't work for me. 404 error.

Re: Walk into History

PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2019 1:41 pm
by enlightened0ne
Not sure why they didn’t work, maybe try imgur again or copy-pasting the link into your browser.

Re: Walk into History

PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2019 2:13 pm
by neilmny
enlightened0ne wrote:Not sure why they didn’t work, maybe try imgur again or copy-pasting the link into your browser.

Clicking on it works now :?: :?: thanks

Re: Walk into History

PostPosted: Tue 18 Jun, 2019 10:54 pm
by rumblepants
Loved the pics and the fact you went out in the wet conditions. Amazing!

Re: Walk into History

PostPosted: Tue 01 Oct, 2019 3:33 pm
by rumblepants
I did this walk last week. I started from Warbuton quite late (1pm) and hiked into Starlings Gap and got setup just as the rain started. The next morning I awoke to lyre birds scratching some light rain and fog. I hiked up to the Ada Tree where i had my lunch and then continued around the loop past Federal Mill campsite and onto Ada 2 where i setup for the night. The following day I hiked up to Powelltown via the tramway and past the high lead. Got picked up just before the Powelly Pub.

As it had been storming in the area there were a lot of downed trees and the track overall was quite muddy. I was super grateful of my trekking poles as they saved me from coming a croppa many times.

There was no firewood at any of the campsites but that didn't spoil the fun of this hike at all.

This was my first overnight walk after many years on the bench. I thoroughly enjoyed and and am looking forward to tackling some other trails around Victoria and beyond.