23 February 2003
Between 08:00 and 08:30 nineteen members and potential new members gathered at the Shell Garage in Richmond before heading out on the Byrne Valley Road for the start of the hike. Up a rough, steep road on which one member had to turf his passengers out in order to negotiate the stony patches which proved to be too much for the low clearance of the car. We arrived at a lovely venue with lawns and trees to leave the vehicles while the intrepid hikers, lead by Bushy and guide Ryan, headed off down the hill into the forests.
The forest track was steep, slippery and muddy downhill and required some careful negotiation on the part of the walkers. Sticks came into their own helping to support in the really sticky places. It was a fairly hot day so walking in the forest was a most welcome escape from the direct sunlight. First stop was a small cascade to which some members traversed a narrow path to reach, while others waited for their return. Then on we traipsed up hill and down until we arrived at a really lovely waterfall presided over by a garden gnome squatting near the base. Bushy pointed out the track we would have to take which caused some consternation as it was a near vertical climb up a muddy bank, but with the help of Warwick forming a human ladder everyone made it.
It really did seem a never ending climb at one time as the object was to reach the top of the hill, perhaps high hill would be a better description, where it was planned to take a lunch break while we relaxed and admired the quite splendid view over the Byrne Valley, Richmond and beyond.
The inner man satisfied fourteen of our number being more energetic continued on to view Cleft Rock, a free-standing rock, another sixty minutes there and back, while the balance lazed chatting in the shade of a tree.
The return hike followed the ridge to another magnificent viewpoint and then on back to the house, where everyone took advantage of the lawn and shade to catch their breath. Altogether a most pleasant hike despite the rather slippery conditions underfoot. Everybody, experienced and inexperienced alike, coped well even if they did end up with some extremely muddy posteriors. Suffice to say the potential new members have all joined our ranks. The initiation is over - welcome to the Club.
Thank you Bushy for leading this outing and Warwick for your assistance.