2009-12-14 -37 145
Black Saturday Fire Zone, between Kinglake and Marysville
I'm going to drive up there after work, along the Maroondah Highway until just before the Marysville turnoff, then into the bush along the tracks, where, conditions dependant, I should be able to get to within a few hundred meters of the hash before taking a short stroll.
 Planning maps
- google says
- fire closures map - no link available
 short version
I had an awesome time driving up the Maroondah Highway. Fun and twisty and deserving of a sports car. Not as good as the Beech Forest in the Otways, but close. I stopped a couple of times to take photos from a lookout, of the regrowth after the Black Saturday Bushfires, of one of the fairly nice picnic areas on the way.
It took a couple of tries to find the Plantation Rd Turn off in Narbethong, but with dark approaching and the sun setting I was headed up into the mountains (well very big hills, but locally they're mountains :p ).
I managed to follow the roads I needed well enough up to a point. I dismissed one track I should have turned down as being too much of a 4WD track to be what I wanted, and ended up further along Plantation Rd that I should have been. When I hit a bigger intersection, I reviewed the map, and chose an alternate route along Spur Rd.
This also turned out to be a 4WD track, but at this point it looked like they all might be (actually not true, that bigger intersection had a road going in the right direction). So after taking the precaution of engaging 4WD, I drove tentatively along the track, directly down the side of the hill in soft soil full of rocks and sticks. I was aware that this was perhaps not the smartest thing to do, given the late hour and lack of anyone else anywhere nearby, but felt confident enough. I might review my required level of happyness with tracks in the future.
After a while, the track turned along the valley instead of down into it, and I was driving along, still in 4WD with a steep hill on one side, and valley on the other. this was rough, but ok....
...A tree. A big tree. A fallen tree.
There was a tree a good 1.5m thick fallen across the track, totally and utterly blocking it from any form of vehicle short of a tank (and then it might be the gun that make it not such a blockage).
I pondered this briefly, but realised i'd have to go backe the way I'd come, and that given the time, this probably made it a failhash. I had to reverse back up the track untill I found somewhere it was slightly wider, then perform a 5 point turn with the steep edge on one side of the road. I pulled it off without sliding into the depths, and headded back, turned up and slowly climbed the hill, and got to the top!
At this point, i looked for my phone, and realised i'd left it on the bullbar at the bottom of the hill... and it had probably bounced off somewhere on the track... stupid me!
So, not wanting to lose the phone, i thought i should at least try to find it. Keeping a good lookout for the phone, i drove back down the steep hill, to the spot where the track flattenend and turned. I stopped there, being about half way to the blockage tree, and tried to call the one phone with the other (don't ask). after wandering around to somewhere my second phone would get a minimum of reception, I managed to place the call, planning to follow the sound of the ringing to my lost phone. But wait, the ringing is coming from my car... I checked there... After some puzzling, I found the phone, wedged between the bullbar mounts and the body of the car, caught by it's belt clip. how soper-lucky of it, and me!
Back up the steep valley side, I decided that that was definitely enought hashing for today.
I headed hback down to the highway, was impressed by the Black Spur Inn on the way back, and almost thoroughly enjoyed the drive back down the Maroondah, untill I ended up stuck behind another car. They made me use low-beam headlights, and **brakes** in the corners... no fair.
Still undecided as to whether this hash counts as a MNB, a timeout, or a chicken out, but very glad i went, and discovered some of the Yarra Valley, which i always knew was there, but now i know why people like it so much. I shall have to go to Healsville at some point as well.
(and i apologise in advance for the bad quality)
possibly Fergus was there as well.