On Friday Richard and I jumped into Kate's Pulsar and drove the long haul to Traralgon, past Licola and on to McFarland Saddle, where we met up with Katie, Steve, Justin and Kate, and dossed down for the night.

Up bright and early, or at least around 9am, and we packed and hiked out, along the base of Mt Spion Kopje, and then after 2 hours of walking along the high plain (around 1500m) we paused for lunch at the top of the steep drop down to the lake.

The walk down to Lake Tali Karjn is steep, and short, the lake is at approx 885m, and we start the drop at about 1450m, so that's a long way down, in about 2km horizonatl distance. It was quite humid as we descended, and when at last the lake came into view we were exhausted, with quivvering quads and stinky clothes!

Justin and Steve had split off faster than the rest of us on the descent, and had already had a swim by the time we got there, but we pitched our tents and made a dash for the water, and it was cold!

As the afternoon wore on more people started ariving at the lake, until the clearing was quite crowded, but they (on the whole) were a good lot, and everyone got on peacefully. A few too many fires were lit, but the lake is a popular site, and that's to be expected I guess.

With our idealogically sound fuel stoves we cooked up a vege curry feast for dinner, drank some of the 8 litres of red we'd carried in, and settled in to bed.

On Sunday we were planning on a long circuit walk, but we were all feeling sore from the previous day's descent, and decided to do a nice easy walk instead. We walked over to the valley of destruction, and found (phew!) a toilet, saving the digging of holes and subsequent risk of lake polution. Then we continued to walk around the lake until we got to the waterfalls at the far end. Justin and I decided it would be a good stunt to swim back to the campsite, some 700-800m across the lake. Katie took my pack for me after I loaded it up with my boots and clothes, and Justin and I set off in the cold water.

It took us about 15 minutes to swim across, just managing to beat Steve back to the campsite (the direct swim is a lot shorter than the walk around). We warmed up, drank more red, I made a cricket bat out of some windfallen wood and we played cricket for a bit, then Steve and Katie cooked up a vege spaghetti sauce for dinner, and we had an early night.

Monday morning we all slept in. Eventually, we all managed to get up and ready to hike out by 11.00am. Rather than siege up the switchback we'd come down, we walked out up via Echo Point, which made the climb the same height (oddly enough!) but over 5km rather than 2. I was feeling pretty good and set a brisk pace, and found my built in waterbottle very good indeed, as it was hot and dry, and walking up hill is strenuous. I arrived at our Saturday's lunch spot about 10 minutes ahead of the others, and flexed out for a rest.

We regrouped for lunch, and headed off up Mt Spion Kopje, and took in the view from 1615m across to Mt Buller, and rapidly aproaching bad weather. We raced the storm back to the cars and managed to get back to our start point at 5pm, after setting a cracking pace across the high plain.

Tired and hungry, we all shot off back to Traralgon for dinner, I had a hankering for steak (I always do after a trip up the bush), and I rang all the people I had to to let them know we were back safely. A very good friend of mine asked me to be his best man at his wedding (wow!), and then we drank beer and Guinnes at the Traralgon pub, before the long drive back to Melbourne.

An ace long weekend!



Copyright Carl Brewer
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