We headed out for a picnic and a bit of a walk to the mountain ash forests of Yarra State Forest. As with most forests managed by DSE dogs are allowed and the last time we were in this area was back in 2007 when Leah was still a puppy.
Upon entering the Park we were faced with a decision to either head in along the standard Forestry road or make our way in via the more adventurous route up and over a steep hill, we took the more adventurous route.
Our first stop was Seven Acre Rock which is a short (1.2kms) easy walk that leads to a granite rock outcrop with views of the Bunyip State Park, Western Port Bay and Port Phillip Bay. This is one of the areas burnt in 2009 bushfires which provided an interesting landscape with the stark white granite rocks against the backdrop of the blackened trees. Megs and Caitlin bounded up the rocks towards the top earning the nicknames “Caitlin Climber” and “Mountaineer Meg”.
After a cuppa and morning tea at the picnic table at Seven Acre Rock we made a move towards the lookout “Spion Kopje”, which we somehow drove straight past so we continued on towards Latrobe River Camping Area to check it out.
We were surprised how many people were camping at Latrobe River considering it was just a normal weekend; we were also surprised to find that they were Land Rover owners who were also members of the AULRO forum.
Time for lunch at Starlings Gap, this is a fantastic grassy clearing in amongst the forest, we cooked snags on the Trangia then headed up for a short walk to the remnants of an old winch and boiler used for logging.
Our final walk was to the Ada Tree, this walk follows the Ada creek and meanders through a Myrtle Beech Rainforest for 3.2kms return. The Ada tree is 300-400 years old and has somehow managed to avoid fires, storms and almost a century of logging in the area. It is the biggest - as opposed to the tallest - hardwood tree in the world. The General Sherman sequoia of California tops out at 83 metres, but it is slow-growing softwood that may have taken up to 2700 years to reach its current height.
Timber millers have estimated that the Ada Tree, may weigh 1130 tons (enough to build 60 homes) and its root system could extend over more than an acre. In any case, the Ada Tree used to be bigger still, the top of its trunk has been blown away, either by high winds or a lightning strike and the DSE estimate it may have topped 120m before it lost its head.
In a few square Kms around her, even taller trees have been felled, with massive logs left behind just to rot. Old time timber getters working with only crosscut saws wouldn't have ripped down trees this size and left them to rot but with power saws the easiest way to find out whether a tree is sound or rotten is to cut it down, in half an hour a 300-year-old tree is dead.
Once we finished the walk it was getting late and time for afternoon tea with a beer for Cath and I, chocolate biscuits for the girls before we made out way home.
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