The Grampians – MacKenzie FallsNovember 3, 2019
Razorback Track, Lerderderg State Park
Well it's been a busy month in December and i havent really had a chance to go and enjoy the outdoors too much, Being stuck at work catching up on end of year jobs and whatnot. Heck even the weather has sucked for most of it mostly being just cold days and nights. But somehow the climatologists are saying its warmer than average, Well i guess it must be in other states and not Victoria, I suppose half of Queensland and New South Wales have burned down due to the recent bushfires which are still causing havoc. Hopefully it all sorta itself out soon.
But today Christmas Eve looked to be a great day to be outside going for a walk so I set my sights onto the Razorback and Ah Kow Spur Track in the Lerderderg State Forest, As with quite a few of my hikes i base them around what Geocaches are in the area and plan my route around them, So this looked to be a good canditate even though some warnings on various hiking pages warned me that this hike was really grewling and quite a grind on my body, Oh boy they were not wrong one bit!.
Razorback Track, Lerderderg State Park
The hike started out pretty simple, I parked at a maintenance gate just off Mount Blackwood road probably about 300 meters after the blacktop disappeared, out front of a track called "Square-bottle Track" some interesting names of places in this park that's for sure. I remember parking here once before for a hike i did awhile back when i waked the Whisky Mine Track back to O'Briens road, But today i was going to merge to the Right and tackle the Razorback Track, Or so i thought.
The first 4 km's in where pretty relaxed mostly gradually walking downhill with the short uphill climb, which most of this park is known for, there is barely any flat ground around here. I knocked over 4 geocaches which were off track and literally hanging on sides of the cliff faces, scary enough. Though these caches were rated 4/5 in the difficulty ratings which is as hard as they get without specialized equipment
As i get closer to the Lerderderg River the fire-track I've been following vanishes before my eyes and before i know it im walking down a really tight and off camber walking track, with really steep edges on both sides I guess this is how this track gets its name "Razorback" as it is quite literally walking along a razor edge, you have about 2 meters edge to edge. I didn't take a photo unfortunately as i was too distracted in trying not to fall over.
Flowering Blackboy Plants
Coming up onto the next and final geocache for this adventure, i stood there on the top of a cliff face overlooking the Lerderderg Gorge, Then looking down to my phone and thought "You know what that final cache is literally only 100 meters away from me, Surely im able to climb down and go grab it". Little did i know this stupid decision could have nearly killed me.
So down i went very so carefully holding tree branches as i stupidlly scaled down a hill i couldnt even really stand on without slipping over, Step by step i crawled and slipped down, Pretty much falling onto other trees to break my momentum up. Until i got to a point, A point where i was pretty much fully committed to finding this stupid thing as there was no way to climb back up to the main trail now, And the almighty steepness of the terrain ahead wasnt really passable, safely that is.
So there was this section about 2 meters across that looked pretty gnarly, I was pretty safe and happy holding the tree i was clenched onto but i knew i had to cross this section to make it to the next tree. Ahead of me was this slate rock which 'looked' to be pretty wedged into the ground so i carefully crawled over to it making sure every foot was secured as best as the terrain would allow, and i crawled over to this rock and latched onto it.
At this point i knew i was screwed i couldnt turn around as i would surely slip, and the tree i was aiming at was a lot further away that i had first estimated, So what do i do? hang onto this rock until i die then potentially fall down and die anyway. Nah, So i decided to try and crawl up onto this rock, get my foot onto it and press off doing a jump type thing and hopyfully making it to the tree, That was the plan anyway.
My Cliff of Possible Death
My plan failed terribly, as i tried to climb onto the rock the whole thing gave way and down i came sliding in my bum down this bloody dusty shale cliff thing using this slate rock as my makeshift toboggan sled, Surprisingly it was kinda fun for the first few meters, until i stated picking up speed quite rapidly, then that's when i realized i could probably die here, this sled is going right over the edge of a 15 meter drop-off into a rocky creek bed.
As I was going down i noticed another rock sticking out, another dodgy slate rock which was probably just as dangerous as the stupid thing i'm sitting on, But i thought i better try and stop so i jumped for it and latched onto it, Only to quickly realize a big tasty dead gauze bush lying over it. Yeah, you can imagine it wasn't the best feeling I've had in my hands, as i'm typing this story i'm still pulling out splinters, I I've dug out 2 of them from my hands and other tiny ones i cant even see!
However, it probably saved me so im grateful for that, From that point i was almost at the bottom of this Gorge and ready to find this cache, after abit of searching around i finally had it in my hands! Horrah!
The Cache of such pain and Difficulty
Now the next problem was to get back out of this Gorge, as there were no official tracks to even get to the point i'm at, i'm literally stuck in a river bed with a Gorge wall of a good 150 meters high on one side and a river of water on the other, So it looks like the water is of least resistance, as i can see a track on the other side of it with some signage So this must be the way to go. So off come the shoes, off come the socks and even the pants get taken off. I was so sore at this point i couldn't even care if anyone saw my little white bare bum go streaking through ice cold rivers.
Eventually made it across, dried myself off being a hot day the water was kinda refreshing and made me feel alive again, it gave me a chance to wash off the dust and dirt i was covered in then i put the clothes and shoes back on. And set off following the sign back towards Obriens crossing. Not the ideal place as my car was parked nowhere near that, But i had an idea, I have a sister that owes me a few favours and i think this is a pretty good time to cash one of them in. So i gave her the phone call (Surprisingly i had full phone signal at the bottom of a Gorge, go figure). I organised with her to meet me at Obriens campgrounds roughly 10 kilometers from where i am located, as there is no way her car would make it down these dodgy firetracks. So i continued climbing, climbing, bloody climbing for what seemed to be forever, Im not sure exactly how much elevation i gained, but the GPX file below will show you exactly.
Finally i was back on Obriens road walking along towards the campground where i gave her a second call to hopefully come and pick me up along the main road, as i was pretty stuffed at this point, i had finished drinking my 2 liter bottle of water ages ago and was really hanging out for some more, The fire water points on the side of the road were starting to look pretty tempting, as muddy and gross as they were i held off knowing this would make me pretty sick even if i purified them. About a few kilometers down the road my taxi pulls up, Finally this adventure is over. and i get a lift back to my car at the starting point.
So needless to say i am going to have to tackle the Razorback and Ah Kow spur tracks again, as i never even made it to the Ah Kow Spur, Hopefully with no geocache distractions to go and get me killed off. That would be nice!
GPX Details of this Trip Below.
Total distance: 16567 mDownload
Max elevation: 682 m
Min elevation: 348 m
Total climbing: 876 m
Total descent: -891 m
Average temperature: 30.7
Total time: 05:11:16