Firstly, happy Easter weekend to all! For those of you that share my faith, it is a time when we give special remembrance to the sacrifice of Christ that forms the very basis of what we are.
On a far less important note, the associated public holidays have also given me the chance to get away from work and spend some very solid time with family. It has been a very intense three months, and I am now glad to see the back end of the 31 December audits. To preserve my sanity, we are going on a week long road trip around Eastern Victoria, and will be passing through the same vicinity where I spent a night and two days bumbling around in the Victorian Alps two weeks ago. A couple of quiet nights in a motel after J&E have tucked in to bed has given me the mental breathing space to do a bit of a write up on that trip, and so without further ado, here it is (or at least the first of three parts!):
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the auditing world, it is that nothing ever goes to plan, and that day was no different as I scrambled to make sure all the fires were under control. By the time things were in an acceptable state, it was already 5:30pm, a good half hour after I had planned to leave the office. After a mad rush to change into my running gear and catch a tram across the CBD to hopefully avoid missing my 6:02pm train. Thankfully, I arrived with just enough time to pick up a some takeaway dinner, and headed down to the designated platform.
The nearly four hour train ride that followed was somewhat uneventful. My seat neighbour was a pleasant lady from Albury, and we did make some small conversation, but other than that, we pretty much kept to ourselves. I spent the time peering out the window as the train rolled through the hilly countryside, taking in the views of rolling farmland and finally starting to mentally unwind from the chaotic and frantic week at work.
After the sun went down and I turned my attention to the map, having still not really decided what route I was going to take. My original plan was to head up Bon Accord Spur from Harrietville to Mt Hotham, and then to cross over to Mt Feathertop via the Razorback before descending down Diamantina Spur to settle in the Diamantina Horse Yards for the evening. However, doing so would mean risking an arrival at Mt Feathertop at the same time as forecast thunderstorms and rain. Not only would this have been no fun at all, it certainly did not rank very high up on the safety or intelligence scales either.
My alternative would be to head directly up to Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, and then pop over to Hotham over the Razorback, before descending into the Diamantina River valley and heading to the Horse Yards. This however would add another 10 or so kms to my first day’s journey, something I wasn’t all that keen on either, given I was just recovering from a case of tibialis anterior tendinosis and a bit of a calf strain.
The train arrived at Wangaratta well before I had made up my mind, and due to a couple of unplanned delays from a broken down airconditioner in one of the carriages, we had minutes to transfer to the last bus to Bright. As I was busy poring over my maps, I started packing up a fraction too late, and hopped off the train with seconds to spare as the doors shut.
The hour long bus ride to Bright was far too bumpy to ponder the maps, so I decided to try and catch up on a bit of shut-eye instead. The bus made its way from town to town, many with peculiar names like “Merriang”, “Myrtleford” and “Porepunkah”. Only in Australia, one might say. On arrival, I was picked from the town centre up by Terry from Bright Backpackers and Outdoor Inn. No extra charge for the lift, and given it was nearly 11pm at night and all for what would have been an $18 camping fee (I ended up upgrading to a bunk due to a rain forecast), I reckon that was stellar service and value.
The two bed cabins were dated, but clean and for all intents and purposes, perfect. There was plenty of shelf space, and an abundance of pillows and linen. As a bonus, most of the long-weekenders were only expected the next day on a Saturday, I was able to get the entire room to myself.
I still had yet to decide on my plan of action for the next day, but after a full day at work plus the king commute, I was knackered. After a last minute gear-check, a quick wash-up, a supper of instant noodles and a quick chat to J over the phone, and I was off to slumber land with a head full of happy thoughts.
To be continued…..