Today I did some exploring around Christmas Hills (Warrandyte-Kinglake Nature Reserve), which I have wanted to do for some time. I looked up my street directory, compared it to street-directory.com.au and gmaps, and all are different! I had my sights on starting at One Tree Hill and making my way by trail to Kinglake National Park. I drew myself a map based on what I found online and armed with that I set off along Happy Valley Track. I like that name and it set the tone for the run.
Unfortunately it was mostly fire trail, but there were other firetrails and single trails that branched off the track that weren’t marked on any map. I decided it might be best to stick to what I know because I said I’d be home in 3 hours and that left me with only 2 hours of running and I didn’t want to waste it following dead ends or heading in the wrong direction.
This thought lasted about 2km before I ran up a side track. It led to a small billabong type thing and disappeared completely so I bushbashed my way back down to the main trail. OK, I thought, maybe I really should stick to the marked tracks.
A short while up I was pleasantly surprised by the site of an old mine! From a distance I saw a sign that said “Entry”. So I cut across a dry creek bed and on closer inspection I saw it said “No Unauthorized Entry”. The door to the mine was shut tight, anyway, I was there to run, not explore mines.
The hills are quite steep around here, but not steep enough for me to walk up. Some of the run took in a bit of road. It’s a rough dirt road with no cars but there were some houses there. Those people are so lucky to live in such a nice area. I headed down the trail I was supposed to go down but soon after that it branched off into unmarked territory. I picked a trail that seemed to be going in the direction I was heading. Suddenly it seemed very open compared to the previous bushland. Was I on someone’s property here? It was odd. It was like a firetrail in an open area that looked more like someone’s paddock that they hadn’t quite cleared yet. (When I got home, google earth said I was on someone’s property and street-directory.com.au said I was in a proposed water catchment area. There was no indication of this at all on the track). Anyhow, it veered southeast, and I needed to be going south if I wanted to get back to the car so I turned around and picked a nice single trail that was going in the right direction.
My sense of direction is clearly unbeatable. The trail lead directly back to the Happy Valley Track. Infact, it was so direct that it cut my run short by 40mins! So I took another single trail that lead over a broken bridge and to a pile of rubbish, before turning around to get back to the car.
The run was only about 10k but it was still fun without access to any accurate map. I ran in the Nike Frees without the heal lifts. My feet felt much more stable, especially going down the steep rocky downhills. I did not trip at all. I would still like to find some comfortable flats but for now I am happy with the Frees as my trail shoes. My achillies is a little sore now but not in a super bad way.
It’s interesting running these trails. At first the thought of having to drive somewhere to run is unappealing to me. I would rather just leave from my front door and therefore put less thought and effort into such a simple activity. Once I am there, the bushland seems like a great place to hide bodies and I get a little paranoid, especially as a lone female. But then I realise that if anyone saw me bushbashing there they’d probably think I was the one hiding dead bodies. And finally after a while of running I find my sense of calm and I feel right at home exploring unmarked trails. I regret not packing some breakfast and not having unlimited time to explore.