2013-03-07 -37 145
Near a creek at the Dandenongs.
On the way home from 2013-03-07_-37_145 i checked the coordinates and decided it could wait til day time and gave it no further thought for a while. At 9:54am (six minutes before my alarm ) I was awoken by Felix Dance to discuss potential geohashes for the day. There were two hashes for the day reasonably accessible but Felix was only available during the day due to family commitments and I was only available at night due to uni. We decided a team work double hash was the solution the best option. I took Melbourne East as I needed to go to Mont Albert in the evening and Felix took Melbourne West. Tom W who had come to Broadford with me on Saturday was thinking of coming but couldn't make it.
After uni I went home for some dinner and left home at 6:30pm on my bike, I needed to drop in to help a friend of my grandparents who was having internet problems. The problem was before the modem so I called Telstra for a phone conversation similar to this http://xkcd.com/806/. Computer faffery, general conversation and delicious fruit cake took longer than expected so i didn't leave their house til 8:30. As it was getting late I took the soft option and caught the train from Box Hill station to Boronia. From Boronia I took the all too familiar route up Mount Dandenong through Sassafras and Olinda and turning off at Hume Lane. Just as i had turned off there was a sign on the road saying 20% with a picture of a downward slope. I should have left my bike here. While riding on not the not yet made bike path with Felix on last weeks expedition my front bike breaks had become rather misaligned and i hadn't really fixed them yet, these few hundred metres of steep descent on rough gravel road with minimal breaks were a little scary but i arrived at the bottom of the hill safely.
I ditched my bike and headed off into the thick bush climbing a wooden fence into thicker scrub. From looking at google maps I knew I was going to have to cross a creek and that all of my route had thick tree cover. What I didn't know was just how thick and steep it would be. I only had to travel 300m but i received a lot of scratches on my legs and brushed past a lot of stinging nettles. Stinging nettles are gastly things, the leaves have look perfectly innocent and not disimilar to mint leaves but the slightest tough and you're in great pain, there's nothing you can do but continue on and wait it out, they're not going to poison you, just hurt you for a few minutes. After a making it over the creek, through the ivy and smashing my way through various vines and stepping on a number of logs that were rotten and could not support my wait I was incredibly annoyed to find a drive way. Had I know there was a driveway the entire route could have been done with no bush-bashing, fence-climbing or steep bike descents. I walked the final 60m to the hash which was just off the driveway, very close to a house. I took my photos and headed back to my bike. Hash reached at 11:09.
I contemplated finding an easy way out but to get back to my bike via road would have taken much longer than the bush route. I tried to follow my previous route back but ended up finding a new way which had a lot more vines to make it through. I had strong gps signal at the hash so had a reasonable baring but once i was in the bush about 200m from my bike the best my phone could tell me was that i was already at my bike. I wondered in the general direction of where i thought it was but got worried as I had not crossed any fences. The trees cleared and I found myself at a playground next to a house, not the house I was next to for the hash. I could get a clear gps lock no but my phone had without apparent reason cleared the map cache and there was no phone coverage. I was getting a little worried about making it back but new realistically I was less than 1km from a road in any direction and from there i could find my bike easily. Based on the sound of the creek being closer than it should have been and a the playground i decided i had travelled too far north and not far enough east. I found the fence once again and headed back to my bike.
My ride home started slowy, 20% is really steep. If you're on a road bike and it's unsealed road it's impossible so i walked up the hill. I made it back to Boronia easily enough and checked the time but my phone was flat, I dropped in at the Maccas where they generously gave me some power. From there I rode straight home stopping only to check the next days hashes at 1:30am somewhere round Box Hill. I arrived home at 2:30am, nackered and with stingy, slightly scratched legs.
I hope the bush bashing section of this write up didn't come across too whiny. I had an absolute ball of a time and loved every minute. I'd been thinking recently that most of my hashes were too easy - decent distances on bike but nothing exciting at the end. I grew up in rural New South Wales on a bush block of land and I miss this kind of thing where the trees are too thick and continuous to walk around so you just walk straight through them.
All up an excellent trip.
Alas none today. I caught the train part of the way and arrived at 11:09 pm. I tried to pat a cat but it ran away.