Yesterday, the boys and I went for a bushwalk. Although, really, it was mostly a field walk, with some bush at the end. It was the worst bushwalk of my life. It was cold and windy and I am super unfit. But the falls are lovely.
The sign out the front should’ve given me cause to pause before we set out – first, it was 1.5 hours (didn’t say if it was one way or return), second (and this was the bit I didn’t see) it was for “fit walkers only”. I am not a “fit walker”. I can barely manage a short 15 minute walk around the block, so to ask me to walk 1.5 hours (which turned into 2.5 hours) was not a good idea.
First, I had to convince the 17 yo that we were going out – that was the night before. Apparently, I had sprung this outing on him with no notice at all. Then, the next day, he was all gung ho and ready right after breakfast, and I barely had time for breakfast to go down, before we were out of the house and driving towards the windmills.
Normally, I do my due diligence before setting off on any kind of outing, but I didn’t this time. Even when we got to the car park and saw the 1.5 hours sign, I still decided to keep going. Silly me.
The 17 yo sprinted off way ahead of us from the first step, which made me very sad and cranky. All those years of walking at his pace, when he was a smaller child and now he just leaves me in his dust.
At least Sam decided to keep me company, as I waddled slowly down the track. It wasn’t long before I was puffed out and still, I didn’t turn back. The wind was hellish. I was thankful for the scarf I brought and for my warm clothes because otherwise, it would’ve been a nightmare.
The first part of the walk is a wide path cut through a grassy paddock frequented by kangaroos, I presume, when there aren’t people around. It meanders along Lal Lal Falls and the river that flows into Lal Lal Falls Reserve. For a normal, fit person it’s a pleasant walk, especially when there isn’t any wind.
For an unfit person it’s hard going, simply because I am not used to walking for long distances and when I do walk, I walk slowly. I was super-frustrated with my 17 yo who was sprinting way ahead of us, although he did stop and wait for us from time to time. There are benches set about 15-20 minutes apart along the track and would be lovely rest spots in warmer weather.
Eventually, the path descends into the gully cut by the river and then climbs up again. That climb was murder! Thank goodness for Sam’s friendly walking staff which he picked up along the way. I collapsed at the top and had to wait for several minutes to catch my breath.
Then the path continues along the top of the river, through the paddock, before it reaches the descent to Moorabool Falls. Here is where there is a bit of bush, as there was back in the gully. The falls are decent enough, certainly, not as spectacular as Lal Lal Falls in full flow, but you do get to be closer to them. We spent a good 10-15 minutes there, resting and taking photos before the boys decided to take a different (much harder, as it turned out) route back to the car.
This new track, the Salt Creek Track, also meanders along the creek/river, but in the gully, rather than on top of it. It was muddy, narrow and it went up and down the hill and once again I was grateful for Sam’s walking stick to help me along the way. I collapsed in a heap a few times, as I couldn’t take another step forward, but as you know, my motto is “When in hell, keep going.”
Towards the end of the track, back up in the paddock, it started drizzling, and I have to tell you, my legs barely moved underneath me in that last stretch. I nearly collapsed from exhaustion right near the car park, it was sheer willpower that got me into that car. And nothing was better than sitting my arse back into that car seat and panting like a dying animal for several minutes in pure relief. I had to get a child to close my door because I couldn’t make myself reach it.
Still, I have great powers of recovery and within a few minutes we were back on the road home, past the windmills, in the rain, glad to be finally safe and sound.
Remind me to next time check the walk duration before I set off anywhere. In the meantime, I really need to get my fitness back. It’s a disgrace how unfit I am and it makes me very sad. Winter is such a horrible season here, but as long as it’s not raining I need to be out there, walking.
Have you been out and about lately? How are your fitness levels? I hope they’re better than mine.