Above Werribee Gorge on the circuit walk. Callitris glaucophylla, aka the white cypress/pine, is a slow-growing native tree that is mainly found in the dry inland – but the dry rainshadow area of Melbourne’s western plains and adjacent hills also has a few disjunct occurrences of the species. This stand was actually planted (in 1987) by the Friends of Werribee Gorge And Long Forest Mallee.
Following pics: the gully above the quarry carpark; dead, twisted box gum; a huge bone from something rather chunky… wombat? roo? …and a well aged fencepost, from the 1870s.
So almost two months have passed since I first slipped/squeezed on a pair of stanky rental shoes and struggled half way up a grade 7 route before freaking the fudge out and forcing my belayer to lower me at a pace slower than that of the average snail.
Two months ago, I genuinely thought it would take two months to develop enough ‘upper body strength’ to ‘haul’ myself to the top of a 15 meter wall.
I can gladly say, things have changed.
I have met so many wonderful people who have taken the time to teach me about everything that climbing entails, and what it means to them, and have totally changed my understanding of climbing
Last Saturday, I was finally able to escape the resin confines of the local gym and head down to Werribee Gorge State Park - about 60km west of Melbourne. (I was way too overwhelmed by actual rock/too disorganised to bring a camera and take pictures so I’m yanking them from the internet - but I promise I will take actual photos next time okaaay!)
The first time I attempted a route, I stood at the base for about 5 minutes, yelling at the rock - “but where are the holds??? where do I put my feet????? everything looks the saME??!?!??!?!!?” I was about 60 seconds from punching that rock before some kind person pitied my naivety and gave me the best advice I’d ever gotten:
“Everything, can be a hold, young grasshopper”
And I was like “yooooooooooooooooooo”
And they were like “aaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy”
Yeah, not really, but pretty much.
Anyway, everything made sense from there on out and after I finished my first route I could safely say that was some of the most satisfying climbing I’d ever done.
Crack climbing for the first time! Actually amazing!
NOT SO GREAT PART:
Hiking with an overpacked pack. (I always overpack for new activities ughghghHgh)
THINGS THAT CAN BE IMPROVED ON:
My crack climbing technique! Contrary to what my URL may suggest - my ‘technique’ was mostly just copying what I’d seen others do at the gym (lolol). I had no I idea how to correctly approach finger and hand cracks - so it’s definitely something to keep working on so I can finally finish Golgotha (18) yeyeyeeye
I can’t find a picture of Golgotha - but just imagine a 30m wall where the top 15m is basically a lay back hand crack and me swinging around awkwardly bc of my poor crack climbing skills hehehe.
Raye’s Outdoors - Hike River Walk - Werribee Gorge State Park
We tend to organise a camp every 2-3 months, which is fine though I’ve always felt we should try to have more regular adventures in the meantime. It’s quite startling when people come to us and enquire about places they to go and things they could do for daytrips and what not. I mean, it’s flattering don’t get me wrong. But I just feel in comparison to others out there, we’re still newbie’s and there’s still many places we still want to explore as well.
There’s been discussions about doing bi-weekly hikes during the weekends (working full-time does limit your ability to go on random adventures) and find more local ones to do. Lerderderg is one we still want to revisit Brisbane Ranges is another. But that day, we decided to head towards Werribee Gorge.
Stocked up with water, Pringles and our cameras, we made our way to the Gorge. There’s a few tracks that you can do there, though we opted to do the River Walk. The walk wasn’t too bad - you did have to be careful as you were walking along a narrow-ish pathway and if you were to fall… it’d hurt.
We rested along the creek which in some ways felt like a mini beach of sorts. Along the way we’d see areas where we felt ‘Damn, we could totally camp here if we really wanted to’. Further out we reached the rocky area where you literally had to hang from a wire cable in order to continue your journey. In our minds we felt like real rock climbers - which is hardly the case since we were so close to ground level. Still, hanging out in the cave was refreshing and climbing up to the top of the rocky ledge was an experience.
If you’ve got a weekend free and would rather be doing some productive than being on the computer all day, I suggest you go on a walk. Or hiking if you want to sound abit more adventurous. Werribee Gorge isn’t too far from us (30 mins give or take) and it’s definitely a place I’d want to revisit soon.
I just hope we can do the entire circuit this time round.
Deeper in, the roar of the highway quietens, a roo pauses to watch me pass by. Dragonflies hum and a mistletoe bird rests on a limb. Branches creak as the breeze brushes over #westernviewpoint #werribeegorgestatepark #bushwalking #bushwalk #goingsolo2016 #goingsolo #summer #australia @parksvic (at Werribee Gorge State Park)