Saturday was a pretty decent day. I woke up nice and early, and had a mean as feed of cornflakes, like any other morning except it was 6:30am on a Saturday… screw that! Good thing I was heading to the GRUBS gear shed to hit up the lower portals of Mt Barney today, otherwise the parents would’ve had to face off a rather grumpy son that morning.
I headed off to the dairy to grab myself some orange juice, said hi to the blonde chick at the counter, then eventually got around to Griffith campus. There, I met everyone for the first time (except Simran who I know from school) Maren, Phil, Erwandy, Peter, and Ryan. Thankfully Ryan, our group leader, had some mean as hash browns, and gave them to me for some lucky reason. We were supposed to be there at 8, and waited for 40 minutes for enough people to rack up for the walk. Soon we were on the road knocking off the K’s to Mt Barney!
Being a Mt Barney Virgin, I was keen beans to get my feet on some of it’s soil. It was a cloudless and chilly day, and all looked well for a perfect start. After a longish drive with the crew (cheers Simran and Maren for the company!), and a bit of mud on the car, we got there. It looked fresh as – we were soon hitting up the trail!
I was keeping an eye out for possible plants to practice my survival skills on, as well as good bouldering spots. We found an ant’s nest on the track, which was asking to be stirred up (which of course, we did). Good thing I watched that entomology documentary on ants last week because I wouldn’t have been able to crack that joke ‘hey guys, don’t worry, I’m an entomologist’ (yea I didn’t even know what an entomologist was). After an hour or two, we got to the river. It was a surreal spot, the river was awesome. There were all sorts of rocks which could be climbed and investigated and photographed by Simran. There was even a cool little tunnel through them.
We stayed at the river for lunch. Ryan, Erwandy, and I decided to hit up the swimming hole… which was a terrible idea, as we found ourselves succumbing to hypothermia in the fresh mountain waters of Mt Barney! (Handy Mt Barney hint: do not swim in the water unless suffering from extreme heat). After the swim, we had to find emergency sunlight.
I eventually realised I could find lunch right next to the river. The grass plants by the river are in fact edible, and I could snack on the undifferentiated plant matter (the white stuff). I got Ryan, Simran, and Maren to try it out too. It tasted chicken… but more like sugar cane, minus the sugar, the chicken, and more starchy. Then I investigated some tubers, which I was pretty sure were edible, but I didn’t eat as Phil warned me about them (better to be safe than sorry). Then I carried my scavenge for food into my bag and found some sandwiches, and a half eaten muesli bar.
The walk back was also quite nice. The Lower Portals of Mt Barney is a stunning place, with spots for bouldering, and great bush bashing potential as the bush is quite thin. The terrain was not difficult was it was mostly flat, and we were able to enjoy it. It was good to get into the bush again for a day (to get out of that consistent uni life) and meet some new people at the same time
By Vaughan Christie