It was a disaster! We were prepared for rain and it was a clear and mostly sunny warm day! We were totally unprepared for nice weather!
Okay so it was great.
The short version is it was a great first hike for Beren in some beautiful wilderness. And a great getaway for the weekend for me.
Here is the longwinded story for the bored:
We headed out on Saturday morning for our first hiking trip, leaving just before 10am. I had mostly packed the packs but had to do the perishables in the morning before we left and a few other final touches this being our first actual hiking trip together.
We were all petrolled up so we got to the Gorge without any stops, a few missed turns and swearing about lack of signage was about all. Smile We got there just after 11am.
Now it was time for final-final adjustments of our packs and we headed off. Yay! About 50 metres down the track Beren was christened by slipping in some mud from the day before.. it spread all the way across the field so it was hard to avoid. Coming back the next day I noticed it was an overflow from a little drainage ditch that hadn't been cleared for some time.
Beren had a muddy bum and legs after that but despite the weather predictions the sun was out and it was warm enough that I knew it would dry easy enough- we went on.
He dawdled a bit on the hike out, and we had a couple of standing breaks and one or two where I let him have his pack off.. maybe only one of them. He was ready for one when I recognised that we were close to our destination. The hike was only 1.6 kms.- a good start for him.
We stopped at what they called a dam on the map, which was just a pool of muddy water. I remember taking a friend there once and having a swim in it- not today!
We unhooked out packs and rested then I scouted around and found a decent camping spot. Still on the original river bed but well above any possible flooding that the gorge could have in store. The fire circle was a bit lower down maybe 20 or 30 metres from the tent but I didn't want to pollute the place with a second fireplace and was just as happy not to have the smoke from the fire invade our tent for a change.
It was a fairly relaxed day after that, we had lunch first then I built a fire but didn't light it right away, and put up the tent. Beren had a few games to play so I joined him in them as well, and lay back on the soft river sand a few times for some nice cat naps. Smile A few day walkers wandered back and forward during the afternoon, not that many.
There were two water puddles below our camp on the stones, one was murky, the other I was almost tempted to try.. it was clear as a bell and I figured it was just rainwater from the downpours we'd just had. The only thing that stopped me was that I was responsible for Beren so I figured best to play it safe.
Mid to late afternoon after our exploring was done I lit the fire.. and though it was a lovely day the downpours had had their effect and it was a bit of a pain to light.. the wood looked dry enough but even some of the thistles I was starting it with were still wet enough to resist combustion. However the problem was far from insurmountable and once I realised it needed a bit more car we had a nice blaze going.
I had not watch or any other way to tell the time in a civilised way so waited for the sun to fall behind the not-too-high hill behind us to start thinking about dinner. Beren just had a pastie I'd brought with us and I cooked up some veggie sausages. A very yummy meal.
Beren was keen to get to bed not long after dusk so I zipped our -8 degree sleeping bags together and then we got in and I read him some more of "The Hobbit" which we'd recently started. Then it was toilet time and I pointed out the Southern Cross to him, which was shining brightly into the front of our tent by then.
This was a first run for the hiking tent and the sleeping bags too. I soon unzipped my sleeping bag so as to avoid being cooked by the morning. Smile The tent seemed fine I didn't bother rolling down the front while the stars were visible.. however later in the night clouds rolled over and I heard some drizzling rain on the tent so I zipped up.
Bad move that one, that was the only rain we had and the fly must have started getting wet with condensation right away.. Beren's breathing also got effected quickly after that though I didn't realise how bad it was till later.. Closer to dawn I threw the zipped up front of the fly back over the top of the tent behind us and slept the rest of the night with it open.
We were up with the dawn or not long after. Didn't bother too much with the fire though Beren got a couple of blazes out of it as we wandered around doing different things. It was cold-ish, but not too bad. I was warm enough after doing my Early Morning Stretch and Beren after chopping a few miscreant branches with the hand-axe.
Everything packed away very easily though I had to towel dry the tent before stowing that due to the dew that was over most of the inside of the fly and the tent too where I'd thrown the fly over it. Having to dry a tent when we'd had no rain as such was more than a bit annoying. I am thinking this may be one of the reasons I always used to stick with a basic fly for shelter in the past rather than lugging a full on tent around with me. The packing was soon done though, and everything went back in both packs easily enough which is always a relief.
Beren was a reall trooper on the way out, doing the hike with only one break about halfway, which I called to check out one of the old gold mine caves above the track. It was a crawl in mine, most are.. Beren tried to go in but was a bit scared so didn't get far. I went in a bit and saw that in got bigger inside but didn't go far either as Beren didn't want to. From there again no breaks all the way back to the car.
From there we headed back to Melbourne but not home, we had an appointment at Scienceworks at 5.30pm to get to. So we stopped at Melton on the way. I was just thinking we'd hit the shopping centre and clean up in there but really wanted a shower. On the way off the freeway I saw a sign for a Swimming Centre so we went there instead and swam for about an hour and a half, even got a couple of minutes of waves to play in and I got to stretch after the hike and a 20 minute spa while Beren played on his own as well!
Then we got a proper shower as a bonus of course, then went to the shopping centre for lunch. We found a place that did pancakes and nachoes so we ordered that. Beren loved it all as you could imagine, and actually used the knife and fork on the pancakes. He nearly destroyed the clothes I'd planned for him to go to Scienceworks in though, so we had to clean up once again in the shopping centre loo's!
It was still early by this time, so we headed up to Scienceworks to have a visit before the Invite show began. I decided it would be a good chance to take Beren to the Planetarium for the first time too. They had a show made with the local aboriginal tribe which he enjoyed in spite of being desperate for a wee at the time.
After dinner we returned and did more at Scienceworks, Beren getting the most out of his time there.
All in all a great weekend.