Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Day Six - Returning to Suburbia

Today we were joined at home by Tony Birch. Dave made his last drive north with the three of us on board to take us back to Barry Rd where we had left off yesterday. Our two pairs of muddy footprints from the night before were still on the shared pathway leading away from the creek.

Footprints from yesterday

We said goodbye to Dave and headed towards the creek where large flat rocks spread out across the entire creek, inviting us to cross to the eastern bank. It was lovely to be on this side of the creek, away from the bike path with a view of the rocky escarpments.

Morning light

The common reed was growing high and wide and we quite often found ourselves totally immersed in them. the creek arched around and became quite swampy, and as we approached Mahoneys Rd (and the Ring Rd) I began to wonder if we would find a place to cross.

We began to smell smoke and at first thought it might be the salami factory, but then we remembered that Katrina had said that Wurundjeri and MCMC would possibly be doing an ecological burn on this day.

We pressed on along the eastern bank, the blackberries increased, as did large rubbish and the closeness of the factories. Eventually we found a place to cross - Tony had assured us that we would. It was slightly hairy, with what looked like a slippery rock in the centre of the channel about 15cm below the water. Lesley thought that after yesterday's fall perhaps I was making the wrong decision! But with a large stick in our hand we managed to have extra balance and the three of us made it across without incident.
Tony crossing

Lesley crossing
 Heading up the bank we continued on towards the Pipeworks Market. This market is now closed and is destined to become an Ikea store for the north. The site was very derelict and we collected some bark and leaves from felled gums in the former carpark.

Once under the Mahoney's and Ring Rd bridges we were on the bike path proper. Where we could we kept to the creek, but already we could feel the pull of closely built housing. Backyards, and sometimes even houses spread almost down to the ascent of the bank. One imagined that in places buildings must lie well within the flood zone.

Salami Factory
Western Ring Road
We stopped for lunch at a picnic table - an attempt to embrace the new urban setting. Lesley suggested that we were nearly at our day 5 destination (Colleen and Brian's place) and that it would make a very short day. So with a little nervousness from me (I am not great at embracing a change of plan) we decided to reduce the walk by one day by walking the extra distance to our place. Over lunch I began to phone everyone who needed to know about this. Brian reminded me that the Wurundjeri were burning off a few hundred metres from us.

We wandered down to the burn after lunch and chatted with everyone about our walk. We set off again via the recently charred grass, my gaiters now reveal the traces of the burn and our walk through this patch. A little further on my friend David Nash sent me an aerial photograph with our current GPS position on it. When we got home and looked at it carefully we noticed a rhomboidal shaped burn. This is the patch they burnt last year. Today the section to the left of the rhomboid was burnt. It is interesting how the apparent accuracy of web-based aerial photography and satellite imagery can actually merge different moments creating relationships between past and present, or perhaps a new idea of time and space.

Last day tomorrow, can't believe how fast the week has gone.

David's aerial photograph of last years burn and our location at 1.30 today.

Tony approaching the burn.

More Bidgee Widgees
Murray Road Bridge

Harding St Bridge, nearly home.

Gaiters - ash from the burn and Bidgee Widgee

Gaiters and todays collection (fennel, box thorn berries, gum leaves...)


  1. Foreground plants in 'Morning light' look like fennel but you say they are common reeds?
    Is bidgee widgee the same as gidgee burr?
    Wonderful walk, marvellous pictures, entertaining talk. Thanks and good luck for the last leg.

  2. There is fennel in the foreground. The Common Reeds are in the creek in the middle ground. No idea about Gidgee burr. The DPI says: Acaena novae-zelandiae (syn. Acaena anserinifolia), another common name is Biddy-biddy.
    Thanks for the good luck. Looking forward to getting to the Yarra!

  3. Great post! The walk has gone by quickly. Good luck for your last day- But I hope not the last post. xx

  4. There will be more posts! Lots to reflect on and think about. And of course, we have a few guest posts lined up!


Thanks for joining the walk via the blog!