The Avon-Mt Hedrick Scenic Reserve is just north of here in the foothills of the ranges. The Avon river winds through the reserve and over time has sculpted some wonderful gorges. There are several high peaks, rocky escarpments, sweeping views and a diversity of flora and fauna.
Yesterday while the golf course was full of the Friday event players, I decided to climb Mt Hedrick and see what early spring wildflowers might be out. Hedrick is only about 450m, so it was not too daunting a task.
I recall the first walk I did in this location was with a local walking club, not long after we had moved back to the area. (Both Glen and I were raised in central Gippsland, went away for further schooling, teaching, etc and moved back some twenty or so years later). We thought we’d see some of the places in the area that as kids we had not really known about or explored properly. Well, that was a mistake. It may just have been the particular walking groups we ended up with, but every event seemed to be a race – in some cases literally. It was heads down, backsides up and in to it! No time to explore flowers, birds, scenery, etc on the way. We had to wait until break times to do any of that.
So it was a great joy to meet up with Duncan and re-discover some of these spots through fresh and experienced eyes. Time to look, time to explore, time to photograph, learning all the while. And, most days I can keep up with him – just.
As I started up the track the small bush birds were in profusion. I love the little bush birds, so this was a good omen.
The dry woodland country was awash with wattles in bloom, but for the most part it was wise to avoid them.
I climbed very slowly and took the time to confirm Glen’s theory that the first flowers to show after the wattles seem to mostly be the ‘bluey – purpley ones’. There was plenty of Purple Coral Pea, (Hardenbergia), twining itself over logs and rocks, and the Nodding Blue Lily and Austral Indigo were also in abundance.
Just short of the summit there is a saddle that offers some great views of the Latrobe Valley to the south-west. The atmosphere was a bit hazy, but it was still worth a picture I thought. That’s Loy Yang Power Station in the background and Lake Glenmaggie in the foreground.
To the north was a good view of a broody Ben Cruachan, one of Duncan’s favourite stamping grounds.
From this point to the top of the climb, much of the track is across the top of a rocky escarpment. These couple of rocks appear to be teetering on the edge.
Even in the inhospitable dry exposed rocky conditions, some plants still thrive, like the beautiful tiny Heath Myrtle, (I think). This tough little prostrate shrub was well attended by Hover Flies, Bees and Butterflies.
Just as if to announce my arrival at the summit, a Grey Shrike-thrush called with its beautiful melodic song. I tried imitating some of the notes and it emerged from the scrub to see if this interloper to its territory was going to be a threat. Once satisfied I wasn’t trying to move in, and giving me one brief picture opportunity, it flashed off with its classic undulating flight and disappeared over the edge of the escarpment.
I had a good look about on the top, and explored some of the dense scrub on the much more damp southern face. Under here were some extensive moss beds and some beautiful fungi.
It was time to head back down to base camp (the ute in the car-park). On the way I found a few examples of the Large-leaf Bush-pea just coming in to flower.
Part way down the weather turned a bit and it began to very lightly drizzle. Didn’t have a coat either. I got a quick picture of a rainbow before putting the camera in the back pack and gingerly continued the descent on a slippery track, mindful of not doing a ‘Tim Holding’.
Just before I got back to the ute, the rain stopped and the sun came out, giving a bright finish to a beaut couple of hours. Must do it again soon.