Walk into History

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Walk into History

Postby enlightened0ne » Mon 08 Apr, 2019 11:37 pm

I did the Walk into History in Warburton State Forest on March 30-31st. The forecast was for rain all weekend so I knew it would be a wet walk but went anyway, and I’m glad I did. Imgur album with photos: https://imgur.com/gallery/PmldwVK

I started from Big Pat’s Creek trailhead to skip the road walk from Warburton, so the total distance was around 45km. I started walking around 2pm and reached Federal Mill campsite around 6. The only people I saw all afternoon were a couple who were just packing up in Starlings Gap campsite. They had been driven home by the rain. Parts of the track were quite muddy and the crossing of the Little Ada River was under quite a bit of water so my shoes were well and truly wet by the time I reached the campsite.

I set up camp just as the hail became much heavier and discovered I’d forgotten to replace my fire steel with the mini bic I had intended to bring, so I cold-soaked some mi goreng in filtered muddy creek water. My tuna in olive oil had become a solid block due to the cold, but was still nourishing. Overnight I discovered a leech in my sleeping quilt that had been sucking on my hand, and another that had sucked on the back of my neck escaped my quilt and then froze solid on the floor of my tent. I snapped that one in half.

After a fairly cold and windy night I woke to more rain, put my wet clothes back on, and hiked the Ada tree loop back to the campsite. This part of the track and most of the track to follow wasn’t maintained at all, with lots of blowdowns. Some were quite challenging to negotiate even with my very small pack. The overhanging wet ferns that were constantly in the way harboured plenty of leeches!

I walked from Federal Mill campsite to Ada 2 (which is actually a nicer campsite) then down the very steep high lead. The high lead descends ~700m over about 3km, and was covered in wet leaf litter so it was a little treacherous. The only other person I saw on the hike was halfway down on the side of a road crossing, supervising the Victorian Rally Championships which I could hear for most of the morning.

After the high lead was the best part of the walk, along the old tramway cutting. It’s very overgrown so it’s like a green tunnel, with plenty of lyrebirds scratching in the bottom. There was no sign of any recent human traffic, so it seems like it’s not walked often. It was a pretty quick walk into Powelltown, where I was picked up around 2pm from the Powelly Pub. The rain abated for the first time in the whole trip just as I walked under the shelter of the pub eaves.

It’s a beautiful walk, and I’m glad I did it despite the rain. The track could certainly do with maintenance, but it was nice to feel that I was walking comparatively untrodden trails. The rusting boilers and tracks attest to the former logging history of the area, and add a human interest element to the walk. One can imagine the loggers walking those same steps a century ago to spend a month in the forest.

My total pack weight including food and water was around 7kg for this trip, so I was able to make pretty good time. I didn’t really need to bring 2L of water because sources were more plentiful than the map suggested. I could have easily just brought 500mL and filtered periodically. Most of the track after the high lead is beside water, and water crossings are frequent. In better weather it’s easy to catch spiny Crayfish in the creeks in the area.

Had I remembered to bring a lighter (or if I could have been bothered using a firestick) I could have had a nice fire at the campsite. A large amount of chopped firewood and kindling has been stacked at Federal mill, and there was plenty at Ada 2 as well. It would have been nice to have dry socks and shoes for the second day’s walk but it wasn’t really a problem.

Although the published material suggests a 3-5 day walk I struggle to see how this is more than a 2 day trip. I did it in 2 leisurely half days of walking (10 hours of walking). It would be fairly easy to do as a day trip if you started walking early.

This trip I tried some new gear. I used a DCF rain kilt which performed well, though it did encourage water to drip into my trail runners, but I don’t think there was any way my feet would have stayed dry. I used the carbon Fiber trekking staff from ZPacks. It’s really durable, light, and was perfect for me. I don’t like to carry 2 trekking poles because I end up just carrying them and only using them to set up my tent. The staff was good for river crossings, stability when moving through mud and down the steep high lead, and for moving overhead ferns out of the way.

I also used the aegismax quilt from AliExpress (with my torso length X-lite) and due to the unexpectedly cold temps (given ice had formed it must have reached 0°C) it was a bit beyond its comfort rating (8°C). I was okay with down socks and a synthetic jacket, but would have liked a warmer quilt.
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Re: Walk into History

Postby CraigVIC » Tue 09 Apr, 2019 5:10 am

Great report and photos.

I was there the same weekend. Given the rain we started at Starling Gap and walked to LaTrobe river camp ground. We planned to loop back via the roads and Ada tree the next day but the rally guys were closing the road on Sunday. Can't plan for everything I guess.
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Re: Walk into History

Postby neilmny » Tue 09 Apr, 2019 7:39 am

The link to the photos doesn't work for me. 404 error.
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Re: Walk into History

Postby enlightened0ne » Wed 10 Apr, 2019 1:41 pm

Not sure why they didn’t work, maybe try imgur again or copy-pasting the link into your browser.
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Re: Walk into History

Postby neilmny » Wed 10 Apr, 2019 2:13 pm

enlightened0ne wrote:Not sure why they didn’t work, maybe try imgur again or copy-pasting the link into your browser.


Clicking on it works now :?: :?: thanks
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Re: Walk into History

Postby rumblepants » Tue 18 Jun, 2019 10:54 pm

Loved the pics and the fact you went out in the wet conditions. Amazing!
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Re: Walk into History

Postby rumblepants » Tue 01 Oct, 2019 3:33 pm

I did this walk last week. I started from Warbuton quite late (1pm) and hiked into Starlings Gap and got setup just as the rain started. The next morning I awoke to lyre birds scratching some light rain and fog. I hiked up to the Ada Tree where i had my lunch and then continued around the loop past Federal Mill campsite and onto Ada 2 where i setup for the night. The following day I hiked up to Powelltown via the tramway and past the high lead. Got picked up just before the Powelly Pub.

As it had been storming in the area there were a lot of downed trees and the track overall was quite muddy. I was super grateful of my trekking poles as they saved me from coming a croppa many times.

There was no firewood at any of the campsites but that didn't spoil the fun of this hike at all.

This was my first overnight walk after many years on the bench. I thoroughly enjoyed and and am looking forward to tackling some other trails around Victoria and beyond.
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Re: Walk into History

Postby Pink Cap » Mon 07 Dec, 2020 8:17 am

I’m keen to do this walk but I would like to make a loop as I don’t have the option of pick up/drop off or a car shuffle. I have thought of bus between Warburton and Yarra Junction then walking from Yarra Junction to Powelltown to complete the circle but I’m not thrilled by 17 km road walk. But I’m happy to make this a 2- nighter. Any suggestions? I’m wondering if maybe there is an alternative route between Warby and Powelltown that I could use or if I can access a bus somewhere nearer to Powelltown.
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Re: Walk into History

Postby Baeng72 » Mon 07 Dec, 2020 8:46 am

Maybe a taxi?
There's public transport at the Warburton end.
Nothing that I know of to Powelltown.
I've done the walk, getting dropped off at high-lead carpark, and walking up that *&%$#! of a hill, passing Ada 2 mill site, then camping at Starlings. Next day cruisey walk to Big Pat's and pickup.
I've also walked out from Warburton to Big Pat's then climb up to Starlings. got picked up there next day.
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Re: Walk into History

Postby Pink Cap » Tue 08 Dec, 2020 6:32 am

Thanks for your reply. Being dropped off is not an option for me.
I’ve noticed on the map in the Walk into History information booklet that there are several 4wd roads, eg Monnett Rd, connecting Starlings and Powelltown and I was wondering whether I could use some of these to be able to loop back to Warburton. It looks on paper as if I can go more directly between the Starlings Gap and Powelltown in 10 km than the ‘sideways v’ shape of the main track. I guess there is a huge climb involved but that is less concern to me than a long road walk. Has anyone tried any of these other roads? My worry is that they are completely overgrown.
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Re: Walk into History

Postby CraigVIC » Tue 08 Dec, 2020 8:31 am

This may be of interest Pinkcap

https://www.thehikingsociety.com.au/201 ... ory-trail/

John Feeney is very active on FB and may be able to give you an update.
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Re: Walk into History

Postby Pink Cap » Tue 22 Dec, 2020 4:54 pm

I did this walk the past three days, with the help of being dropped off in Powelltown and walking to Warburton. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some random observations: I had 2 days of mostly sunshine and a final wet morning, lots of leeches. I don’t think there has been much track maintenance this year so loads of downed trees and branches all over the place and blackberry made the actual walking more interesting. The stepping stones at The Little Ada were under water. I had Ada no. 2 camp to myself then 5 other tents at Starlings Gap. I definitely recommend walking in this direction so you have about a one hour slog up the High Lead and then the rest of the walk is relatively easy, whereas I thought going down that steep hill on slippery leaves and mud would be awful. I clocked 54 kms for the whole walk including Ada Tree loop (toilets at western end of Powelltown to Warby Post Office) which was more than anticipated but I’m wondering if the Garmin doesn’t work so well in the forest. Highly recommended.
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