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What was going to be a trip to the Mount Remarkable National Park in South Australia and the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory, quickly changed to a Western Victoria Adventure - yes, you guessed it, COVID put a spanner in the works and our interstate adventure quickly changed to a local soiree of hikes. We are flexible - we wanted to hike and carry packs! We had trained after all.......

Graham T, Ken M, John & Patsy S, had decided to hike the Beeripmo Walk (3 days) in the Mt Cole State Park; Buckertillibe Cave (day walk) in the Mt Buangor State Park, Little Desert Discovery Walk (short loop 3 days) and the Grampians. We also had a day's break in Dimboola and did a road trip to see the Silo Art.

Part 1 - Beeripmo and Buckertillibe Cave

We me at Richards Camp on Saturday, 9 October. Richards Camp has a big shelter with a fire place, some well maintained toilets and a water tank. The evening was spent catching up and enjoying a family's get together in the shelter. It pays to be South African, we were precented with a plate full of "lecker" (nice) Boerewors. Delicious and a great entree to our dehydrated meals.

The following morning we were up early to head to the Beeripmo Camp approximately 10kms away. Of course, the walk started with a steep climb and a scramble. The views were delightful as well as the countryside we hiked through. Beeripmo Camp was well set up with camping sites, fire pits, water tank and toilets. Graham lit a fire straightaway which was very welcoming in three degrees. We set up camp before we had a little hail shower - I was lucky to be in the loo and stayed dry - winning..... The next day we headed back to Richards Camp via Mt Buangor Lookout and Mugwamp Camp - it was a bit breezy and cool, but the walk beautiful. We walked through ferngullies, along a creek and typical Australian bush. We were happy to ditch our packs at Richards Camp, cook dinner and relax near the fire - it was still very cool.

Our next walk started at Middle Creek Camp in the Buangor State Park with a challenging climb to Buckertillible Cave. Again the views were to die for - the walk itself is circular and 13 kms. The Middle Creek Camp is ideal for a base camp. A lot of daywalks and even backpack hikes leave from there. After the completion of our walk, we drove to Dimboola for a welcoming shower, takeaway dinner and some WINE.

I can highly recommend all these walks and hopefully a basecamp will be arranged there soon!

We concluded part 1 of our adventure the following day by visiting the Pink Lake and the Silo Trail. We also sussed out a way on reducing our Little Desert walk by 5kms - thank goodness for good planning!!!

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Part 2 - Little Desert Discovery Short Loop

After a lovely breakfast at the Dimboola Store and our car shuffle, we finally headed off on our 41km walk through the "Desert". It has vegetation, unlike the Sahara, but the walking track is like the Sahara - sandy, and roughed up by motorbikes which are NOT allowed in the park..... After 3kms, yours truly wanted to turn back..... suggestion "Let's hightail it to the Grampians".... no... there was always the hope of what is around the next corner - proper track? After 6kms - let's get out of here, but diehards Graham and Ken weren't party to this - "It is, what it is...". Till the end of the hike I constantly checked my All Trails app on how far from the camp we were - I never wanted a hike to be over and done like this one. However, we arrived at Yellow Gums camp and had a peaceful night there. Day 2 was the same - a trudge through the sand to the Mallee Walkers camp. We managed to set up camp before a rain shower. Lucky! Things are looking up. This campsite, like Yellow Gums camp, had a hut, water tank and a toilet. The hut was very basic with a fabulous "sandy" floor. Do not drop your dinner...... After dinner, Graham and Ken finished their whisky - they did not want to carry it out - well, I was privvy to a gentlemen's deep and meaningful. The next morning Ken was a bit shabby..... Our last day's hiking in the Little Desert was more enjoyable - not as sandy and we were getting out of there and heading to my favourite spot in Victoria - the Grampians.... 

Well, in summary, we all agreed that we were glad we did this hike. John had an ankle issue which required lots of stops (blessing). The vegetation is lovely, the colour contrasts beautiful particularly a little section of banksia trees that burnt out. Each banksia seed had a different face. If you love walking in the sand, I can recommend this hike.......

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Part 3 - The Grampians

The Grampians is a hikers playground. We scheduled this stay to meet up with another group from the SGWAAC who had organised a basecamp there. This basecamp was cancelled, but quite a few members of the club spent that week in the Grampians and joined us on some of our planned hikes. Other members explored and did hikes closer to Halls Gap. We stayed at the Halls Gap Lakeside Caravan Park which is fantastic. It has a great area for Happy Hour and every day at 5pm we all caught up to chat about our day and what is planned for the next day. For John and myself it was an opportunity to get to know members better.

We did the following hikes:

  • Boronia Peak
  • Briggs Bluff
  • Halls Gap to the Pinnacles and Bugiga Camp
  • Mt Rosea
  • Mt Stapylton

All of these walks are grade 3/4 hikes. Most walks in the Grampians involve a climb, a scramble, slip and slide. Genuine well-rounded walks. The month of October is the best time to go as the wild flowers are abundant. Briggs Bluff was like walking in a natural Botanical Garden - exquisite. We also checked out parts of the Grampians Peak Trail and were wondering on how to do it with car shuffles - some parts of it is quite tough with backpacks. The research will continue.

Two weeks away hiking - what a dream - out of 14 days, we hiked 11. That's the life.... Being away with fellow members was great. The boys were great company and supportive. We had a lot of fun, laughs and best times. Thank you for your company.

Participants: Graham Talmage, Ken Moulton, Robert Reid-Smith (Grampians only), John and Patsy Scales

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