Thursday, September 8, 2011

In Which Al Follows Little Yellow Arrows

I am going back to our trip to the Grampians for this post.

On the afternoon of the second day we strolled back to the car from the Aboriginal rock shelter. Deb parked herself in the shade and I limbered up for what I thought was another walk.

The walk we had just done was rated by the park service as “easy” grade.

Not far away in terms of distance was a spot called Hollow Mountain and parks rated the walk as “medium” grade.

Deb thought better of it and stayed with her knitting.

So I set off on my own.

The park guide said to follow the arrows to the top. I paused about quarter of the way up to take a shot looking up at Hollow Mountain"Hmmm" I thought "I wonder where the path goes?"

At the same place I took a shot of the next mountain across.And the first of these yellow arrows.
As you can see it has already turned from a “path” to a clamber up solid rock slopes.

But I thought “they said medium and this doesn’t look too bad. And the peak doesn’t look too high".

Although when I zoomed in it looked a little more daunting.
Up the next section I followed two young men who slipped past me while I took photos (and caught my breath).

As I got closer to the mountain I wondered more and more about where the “path” went.

My next stop was at the base of the cliffs in the first picture.
I took another breather and had a chat to the two young men who were now preparing to climb directly up the cliff. Now with humans in the frame you really get a feel for the scale of the place.

From talking to the guys my destination lay well above the top of the climb they were about to make.

They told me the trail zigzagged around to the left of this cliff.

For the first time I felt a little daunted. Heights are most definitely not my thing.

But I said to myself, “one stage at a time and at any point you feel unsure you just turn back”

I am well and truly old enough to not have to prove anything to anyone!

Climbing the next stage I had to pause to get this shot of this gorgeous cliff face against the deep blue sky (ok and catch my breath again)

Spinning 180 degrees from there I found my next arrow.

There it is pointing up this rock face
To the base of that little tree is about four times my height.

The pale line zigzagging up the middle is worn by boots. You can see someone has cut some notches in the rock to assist as foot holds.

The light on the right is the cliff the young guys were climbing.

Did I say I don’t like heights?

Next stop at the base of the tree. I paused to enjoy the amazing view
The rocky mountain in the distance is where the Gulgurn Manja rock shelter sits.
Hang on where does that arrow point?
Oh that is the one marking the way back down.

I turn back to the rock face.
This slot is where the climb continues. Again if I am continuing I have to climb several times my height . It looks a bit of a squeeze but it isn’t as scary because here I have solid rock on both sides (more about that next post)


Linda G. said...

Oh, my! Lovely pics, but I'm afraid I would have stayed with the knitting like your wife (which is saying something, because I don't knit *grin*). A climb like that would definitely daunt me.

Al said...

Hi Linda,
It daunted me too!
But one step at a time is a good way to go!

Susan Fields said...

What awesome pictures! Heights are most definitely not my thing, either.

John Gray said...

bloody hell it looks harsh!
beautiful but harsh
I would scare me a little

Al said...

Hi Susan,
Thank you. I am happiest on level ground!

Hi John,
It is hard country in western Victoria. But as you say very beautiful.
It scared the crap out of me!

Anne Gallagher said...

When we were kids there was a cliff and a cave, and in order to get to the cave you had to cross through between two rock faces like the last pic in your series. I was always afraid that would be the moment the rocks would decide to slam together. Never happened but still.

I probably would have stopped halfway up and turned around. I can hear you catching your breath. I would probably have needed oxygen.

Al said...

Hi Anne,
a good imagination can have its downside can't it?
I am all too middle aged and unfit to not have to catch my breath!
But all the walking I have been doing lately is certainly helping!
One step at a time!

Old Kitty said...

If that's a medium grade walk, what's the next grade up like!??!?!!

WELL DONE YOU!! I'm feeling quite dizzy just looking at these jagged rock feautures!!

I like the knitting and staying in the shade option best! :-)

Take care

Carolyn V said...

I hate heights too. What a good idea for those cool yellow arrows. We went on a six mile hike a few months ago and I sure could have used those!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Judging by those pictures, I am most definitely not even close to being a "medium" grade hiker by Aussie standards. Yipes. Good for you.

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh wow, you *are* brave! The views in the photos are amazing, but I probably would have stayed behind and knit too :-)

Al said...

Hi Jennifer,
I dread to think!
I have never been so badly mislead by a National Parks rating before.
I till you I took it carefully on the way down, that is for sure!

Hi Carolyn,
The arrows are a brilliant idea.
I think the Parks Service find it cheaper and easier to paint them than to got looking for lost hikers ;-)

Hi Susan,
Based on that rating I am not really ‘medium grade’ myself. I think the local ranger was having a joke at the expense of the poor visitors!

Hi Deniz,
More like stupid than brave!
Someone has to take the piccies!
And I can’t knit.