Mt Murramurrangbong : June, 18

Undulating. Now there’s a word for you. One steep section. There’s another three, but more about that later.

Sunday June 18 was an adventure to Mt Murramurrangbong or Mt Murramurranbong, (spell it however you like), a small range in the Kiewa Valley. On this beautiful day, fourteen wonderful and willing walkers made the effort to get out into mother nature. It was nice to meet Rod from the Benalla walking group, who joined us on this occasion.

The day started off with a prompt departure from Apex Park for over an hour’s drive to Simpson’s Lane, near Kergunyah, in the Kiewa Valley. Cars were parked at the Gap Flat Road junction, where a moderate uphill climb of three kilometres, towards Lumby’s Track, began.

Views through the trees over a fog laden Kiewa Valley were observed and the distant snow capped peaks of the Alpine Mountains were visible on this day. A pleasant stop here for morning tea was welcomed by all, as a noticeable climb was soon to be engaged.

On a reconnaissance drive to this area some months back, Jeanette and I parked at this spot. We then proceeded to walk up this one steep hill. Upon reaching the top, the rest of the walk in the distance appeared undulating. There was no apparent need for us to investigate further. Oops, my mistake.

So after morning tea we set off up this one steep hill. Walkers were encouraged to reach the top for a lolly snake, and each in their own time managed this ascent. Incentive is a powerful thing. To say that it was a heart starter would be an understatement.

A climb of about 100 metres in elevation over a shortish distance got everyone huffing and puffing, and I am sure I heard whispers of, “I think I can, I think I can”. My heart was pumping so hard, I believe I may have bruised my ribs from the inside. A brief respite at the top, and a snake as promised, allowed everyone an opportunity to catch their breaths before some easier walking.

This however, after a section of longish downhill walking, soon turned into another steep section. “Where did this come from?” “Why wasn’t I told about this?” Apparently this was a little more than some walkers had expected, and been told about in my brief, which was fast deteriorating into an alternative fact. Oops, my mistake. Nevertheless an apprehensive Ann, and reluctant Robyn, marched on like troopers. Fortunately for me I had bought the larger than family pack of snakes – the wilful, wayward Warby Walkers bulk pack, so I was well prepared.

The Mt Murra track was partly shaded during the walk, and the frequent sections in sunshine were well received. The forest area contained some notable looking trees, but I was unable to answer what they were when questioned. I wanted to say big white ones without bark, but instead admitted that flora and fauna were not my forte. For those not in attendance on the day, they did look like big white ones without bark. They were the type of trees that would take on a ghostly appearance should walkers be left straggling in forests around dusk or later.

Where the actual summit of Mt Murramurrangbong is located seems questionable. My GPS gave an elevation of about 870m at one point earlier in the walk, after that one steep section (the first one). We proceeded along to the edge of the ridge of the Mt Murra Track, stopping before it descended to the valley floor below.

Through the trees we could see Lake Hume glistening with the sun’s reflection, farm dams looking plentiful, the surrounding land covered with glorious green grass and additional snow peaked alps in the distance.

Lunch was taken nearby, and people relaxed in the brilliant sunshine, and conspicuous lack of wind. Trevor was given some minor first aid treatment, after struggling to open the world’s smallest can of tuna.

To this point we had walked a little over seven kilometres, in just under three hours, with breaks. On a clear day like this, Victoria’s northeast is a wonderful place to be.

After lunch everyone was keen for the return walk, except where previous long downhill walks were now more steep inclines to undertake. The walk back was surprisingly faster with a spring in everyone’s step and snakes still available to all. Obviously the thought of Pat’s afternoon cuppa and cookies were on the minds of all walkers.

Upon approaching Lumby’s Track for the second time, Jeanette led half of the group for a more adventurous trek along a lesser marked walking track, while the rest of us continued along the dirt track as before. It wasn’t long before both groups rejoined and walked back to the cars for well earned refreshments.

The total walk of 14.35kms, that’s almost 18,000 steps, unless you’re Erin, then it’s about 40,000, was completed in five and a half hours. Thank you, and congratulations, to all who participated in the walk.

Next time you are passing the Mt Murra forest, don’t forget to look up and remind yourself that you’ve now walked that undulating range with one steep section.

[Michael Braendler]

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