Hiking Mt. Erica, Australia

It’s been a while since I posted anything here. And no, I am not sorry, I am simply a bit lazy 😉 During this break, I ran another marathon (in 3:43), improved my 5k timing to 18:43 and more importantly, started to explore another interests. I did a couple of trips that included biking and/or camping and/or hiking.

I planned this trip for the new year’s eve! The idea was NOT to stay in the city for any sort of fancy fireworks and just to give myself a getaway. Yes, it was a solo trip! Thanks to the public transport of the state, it was free from 6 PM to 6 AM which allowed me to think beyond the near-to-the-city options. My original plan was:

Arrive at the nearest train station (Moe, it’s not pronounced as Joe, it’s rather Mo-ee) from where I’ll ride to the base-camp (approx. 38k). Thereafter I will hike to the summit of Mt. Erica (which is basically a part of Baw Baw plateau). My plan was to do it overnight! (I was crazy as it turned out).

I arrived at the Moe station around 8.30 PM and the first part of ride was pretty neat with occasional uphills. The overall elevation gain (including the downs and then ups) was around 800 meters for the planned bike ride. Only when I was riding the tougher sections in the dark, I realized that these hills are gonna suck the bejesus out of me. I should point it out here that I was riding with all the camping equipment and my supplies. The thighs were getting tighter and the night, darker and silent. I heard my breaths, and the occasional sounds from the nearby forest. It was around 11:30 when I reached the town of Erica (at 30k mark) and decided to camp there.

The next morning, I packed my stuff and I was ready to roll the next 7 or so kilometers that would take me to the base camp. My original plan had been shattered but it was for good. The ride was not much difficult except for the last part when it turns on an all-gravel road which is not at all ideal for my bike. I walked this segment to finally arrive at the campground where I parked my bike and got ready for the hike, FINALLY!

Link to the bike rides:

https://www.strava.com/activities/1335514636/embed/63886185bc2a60a66862d4e1ad41257a138a92ea

https://www.strava.com/activities/1335514653/embed/f12fac25057b00f413035cf27b74287626edf543

I put everything in the backpack, wore full sleeves and I was ready to roll. The hike was a fair 12k with an elevation gain of about a kilometer. However, the important bit was to be aware about the wildlife, be mindful of the many logs that were fallen on the track and to just keep going. The first part of hike was from campsite to a carpark. This was through the lovely rain-forest where occasionally I’d see some wildlife. It was hot during the day and with the load on my back, it was not getting easier either. Nevertheless, the first part was over with some breaks in between. I stopped at the carpark to get some food (I was carrying with me canned beans which served my lunch and later, dinner). I was on my feet again to cover the final ground which now was a little bit more steep, yet human sighting was plenty (thanks to carpark). It took me around 3.5 hours for the entire hike.

First part of hike:

https://www.strava.com/activities/1335515577/embed/32b1e734d0e846c555d6a183e912aed03a625a43

Second bit:

https://www.strava.com/activities/1335514820/embed/8a091371a95a23a9cbd1ae592d3a3bdad637e1ed

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I was fortunate to find some very-old members of the Melbourne Uni Mountaineering Club on the trail (who graduated in 1960s or so). They were kind enough to offer me a ride back to the campsite as were headed in the same way. I was a bit afraid that if I hike back down, I might be late to set-up the tents (perhaps I was right as it was 4:30-ish already). In no time, I was back where I started the hike. My locked-up bike was still there. The campground was still empty when I put my tents. I spent the night there under the trees and the sky. It rained slowly for a couple of hours after midnight before I finally took off on my bike with bag empty on supplies, but full of adventure and it’s memory 🙂

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