In late November 2023 it had been just over a month since my brother’s funeral. While my brother’s struggles are over my Mum is still battling cancer. It’s been a challenging time. I find bush walking therapeutic and felt the pull to get out for a pack-carry (two night) walking trip to get some exercise, fresh air and to clear my head. With a day’s leave tacked on to the beginning of a weekend I headed out to the Grampians in Western Victoria on a Thursday night. I stayed in Ararat overnight and got to Halls Gap a little before 9am on Friday. I got a ride with the Grampians Peaks Walking Company to Mt Zero trailhead and left my car in Halls Gap.
I was delivered to the trailhead around 10am and was soon walking with clear blue skies above. It felt great to be out there. It did not take long to find spectacular scenery with the Taipan Wall followed shortly by Mt Stapylton.
In the distance I could see where I was headed for the day. My destination was on that mountain range, over to the right-hand side.
It was going to be a long day. There are 3 huts on the way to Halls Gap but I only had 2 nights so I needed to skip a hut at some point. I decided today would be the day. It had been a very wet Spring so far this year but today was a beautiful fine day. It was warming up too as the middle of the day approached. Fortunately there was quite a bit of water around.
After a lunch stop at Barigar campsite and a bit more walking the Mt Difficult range was looming much closer by mid-afternoon.
More water after crossing Roses Gap Road…
The climb up onto the Mt Difficult Plateau was quite taxing in the late afternoon heat. I felt pretty tired and cooked after a long day of walking in the heat. I still had an hour or so to get to camp.
I eventually made it to Gar campsite around 6.30pm. Then I had to figure out where I could hang my hammock. Although there were trees around it wasn’t easy to find somewhere suitable. Eventually I used one of the camping platforms, a tree and my Trekking Treez pole. I made my dinner in the communal hut and toodled off to bed around 10pm.
After breakfast and packing up camp I was walking by 9am. Here’s a few more photos of Gar campsite. It is quite spectacular although somewhat exposed and would be very noisy as the wind picks up.
Not long after leaving the campsite, I was able to drop my pack and do the short side-trip up Mt Difficult. Some fantastic views from the peak.
I recovered my pack and made my way north east for short distance and then south east along the Mt Difficult range towards Werdug campsite, my destination for today. Amongst the rocks I managed to see a brown snake, lots of beautiful wild flowers and a nicely flowing creek.
I arrived at Werdug campsite in pouring rain in the late afternoon. I settled on a camping platform and used a tree and my Trekking Treez pole to hang my hammock. Without the Trekking Treez pole I would have found it extremely difficult to use the hammock on this trip. There were trees around but not two suitably spaced apart with a bit of clear space in between. I would have had to camp away from the designated campsites, or worse, being a tent!
The rain cleared and I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunset before bed.
Following breakfast and pack-up I set off on the final stretch of this walk, a 13-ish km amble to Halls Gap. There were some nice views along the way; overlooking Lake Wartook, looking back along the Mt Difficult range from where I had come from and ahead towards Lake Bellfield and Halls Gap.
I made it back to Halls Gap around 1pm and made my way back to Melbourne. Overall it was an excellent walk that I thoroughly enjoyed. Day 1 was the hardest due to the distance (around 26km) and the heat (high 20’s). I had good sleep on both nights as I was able to use the hammock with the help of the Trekking Treez.
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