4,000 for 40 – Feb Ride 2 – Day 1

Cross-training: Bushwalking at Mt Granya

Saturday February 13, 2016

The man is on a rebound. After more than a year of not wanting to go camping, or finding excuses about why he couldn’t go, Nigel wants to get out of the house on the weekend. It is a good sign. When he is at his lowest, he has no interest at all in any of the things he normally enjoys. Most of his depression is expressed as anger, but some of the classic symptoms are there, too.

So I suggest we head up to Mt Granya State Park. I was there just a few weeks ago and discovered that the campground doesn’t feel quite so much like an open field in someone’s back paddock anymore. The campground is close to home and the nearby pub has reopened, so we can just go there for dinner instead of hauling up cooking equipment. We can just throw in tent, sleeping bags, lunch and beer and go.

Amazingly, Nigel doesn’t back out of the plans, and we are heading up in his car by 10 am. We stop into the campground first and set up the tent and leave a chair to stake out our spot. Then we head up to the Mt Granya summit. I’ve wanted to go up there, but it seemed a very long, uphill ride on a bike, so I didn’t do it when I came through here a few weeks ago.

The road is very long, dirt and all uphill to the summit. I would not recommend it as a sidetrip on a bike tour. There are not all that many views from the treed summit for all the effort it would take to get up there.

We chat with the fire spotter in the fire tower for a bit. He says he used to invite people up, since there is a view up there. But in the last year the government issued a directive saying no visitors were allowed under any circumstance. They’ve also put up security cameras which would give him away if he had us up. Nigel chats with the guy more while I get all my gear together and put on sunscreen. My plan is to do the 5.2 kilometre bushwalk back to the campground.

The walking track is quite steep much of the time but travels down through pleasant, open forest. Views out over the hills can be had through gaps in trees at times. It is supposed to get to 100F (38C) today, so I have lots of water and I’m forcing myself to keep drinking and drinking even though I’m just going downhill.

Looking out over Georges Creek from Mt Granya Summit. We may head back home that way on our Forest Gumption tour in a few weeks.
The hike down to the campground goes through a lot of forest like this. This is so open, it’s probably been burnt in the last 18-24 months. The walking track parts are quite steep – my knees and certain leg muscles I don’t use often were not all that happy with such a direct descent. The 4WD track parts of the walk were all pretty flat, though.

The walking track eventually spits you out on Jurgies 4WD track. It is not rough or steep, though, and you could easily drive a passenger car on it. I just appreciate the wideness of the track for a bit because it is so much easier to spot snakes than on the overgrown walking track. You need to turn left onto Wises Creek 4WD track for a few hundred metres before the walking track again takes off through open forest and jumbled boulders down to Granya Falls and then past the old scout hut. It is a pleasant walk and I enjoy it. It is not outstanding, but if you’ve got some time to kill, it might be worth the energy.

Looking out over the hills toward the Murray River valley. You can see the waters in Lake Hume. All the haze is from a bushfire burning up near Corryong. All that smoke haze, plus the smoke from a planned burn out at Culcairn, plus the plane and callistemon trees flowering, is the reason my asthma has been so bad the past couple weeks!
The track goes down there somewhere. It was a bit hard to follow at times in the rocky parts.
Granya Falls – not much more than a wet patch and seep today.
Because we hadn’t had a crew shot yet today.

For the rest of the afternoon, I hang in the shade, read a book and get the bike gear ready to ride tomorrow. Nigel has been relaxing and drinking beer to keep cool since he dropped me off up top. He is enjoying himself and actually RELAXING which is very good to see.

My flower guy with the only Valentine’s Day flowers I’ve ever been offered in my life. Don’t be too sad, it really doesn’t bother me at all. I’d rather a bloke buy me bike bits.

We head down to the nearby pub (Granya Hotel) for dinner. We joke that we are actually having a Valentines Day dinner – we’ve never really bothered with the holiday over the years. There are some locals who come in to get takeaway meals, but we are the only diners. I so want this guy to have a successful business, because it is great to have a water, drinks and toilet stop on the bike in this long stretch with few facilities. However, he seems to have plenty of great ideas but just doesn’t have a whole lot of business sense. I get a hamburger and Nigel gets a steak. Both are very good, the serving of chips is huge and Nigel’s meal comes with a huge salad. It’s all good value and I hope this guy can make the place go. He seems like a really nice guy, but I’d think two years after reopening that you’d want more custom on a Saturday night to be able to stay afloat.

Post-pub, pre-wine. You can tell who has been relaxing with beers at the campsite and pub and who was the designated driver. We are coming up on knowing each other for 18 years and I don’t think we have ever celebrated Valentines Day before, except for sending cards when we’ve been apart. Bah humbug (wait, that’s Christmas… which we don’t celebrate either)!

We crack open the wine upon return to the campsite. We talk and laugh as we get buzzed (or more buzzed) and listen to the kookaburras calling back and forth in long chortles and cackles of laughter. It is a good evening. These times won’t last, they never do. Nigel has more downward spirals than times of ascent and reclamation. So I enjoy it for what it is – a nice night camping with a person I love dearly. We drink too much wine, we go to bed too late, but it will be a happy memory among a whole bunch of more challenging ones. Cheers and good night!

Big-arse moths become interesting things to photograph after a bottle of wine.
Look at the exquisite detail on those wings!

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