Type 1 life adventures
The gates to the Rock were padlocked. The barbed wire and my leaping capacity were united in opposition. We had Boxing Day Sale anticipation but the ranger was on Sunday morning country time. Meanwhile the climb and explore clock ticked down towards the midday deadline to grab the niblings and head to Kyneton’s Daffodil Parade.
This instalment of the Sundays in September Series was to be a short, close to home outing. The trade-off was the company of the blog’s inaugural* Walk-Come-Along-Girl Samantha, with her flair for the National Geographic c1972 pose.
It is hard to resist looking all pioneering and intrepid on those exposed, rugged rocks of congealed magma. But in reality Hanging Rock is a very accessible little adventure. It kicks off with a bit of huff n’ puff but that’s because the inclined path in the lush zone welcomes you about 30 metres from the car park while your body is still waking up and you’re metabolising Sunday morning bacon and eggs.
My sugars had been uncharacteristically high in the morning (10.6) so I’d needed insulin at breakfast. The conspiracy theory blames Saturday night rice, a bit of stress and the reintroduction during the week of foods formerly known as eliminated, which upset my guts, which in turn threw my overall blood glucose levels out of whack. I just hoped that the walk would not be too strenuous to drop me low while I was peaking on insulin. The multiple blood checks showed pretty stable levels. The biggest concern was stemming the flow from my warmed up pinky and secretly hoping that there was no force to be unleashed by human blood dripping into the mystical volcanic rock.
Part of the allure of Hanging Rock is the way it just seems plonked from nowhere onto the surrounding flat plains. It juts up both out of place and yet purposeful. The real fun up here though is the exploratory meanderings (not the Miranda-ings). I’m sure it’s heretic to have not read the book or seen the film Picnic at Hanging Rock, but growing up nearby means I have a whole other range of experiences and associations with this place, like flat tyres on the bike ride home across Jim Road, trying to spot our house from the top, hypoing on the 40km round trip cycling date out there last year and being woefully hung-over on a stinkin’ hot New Year’s Day 20 years ago at the races.
To get to the summit this time was not that arduous or time consuming. The views of farmland, Camel’s Hump and Mt Macedon far exceed the effort and there is not a whole lot of sweaty exertion to report. I think this is partly my improving fitness but also the modern path compared with the old single file stairs makes the ascent pretty doable these days. Wherever you get puffed is always apparently a great place to pause to take at least three pics that will be too dubious in quality to appear on your blog. That glorious morning sun was being a bugger casting shadow. There are however plenty of gorgeous snap happy lookout points along the way, all sound tracked this morning with a chainsaw and sheep bleat symphony wafting from the pastures below.
People can choose their own adventure at Hanging Rock by sticking to the clear path or wandering off to squeeze through crevices and clamber over rocks on paths carved by water and trodden by people and wildlife. Sam didn’t find Miranda but she found stretch and massage rocks and spotted a kangaroo convention down in the paddocks (probably in strategic discussions on how to disrupt the next race meeting again).
It was an interesting time for me as a boomerang-back local to revisit the Rock given current controversy over the local council’s redevelopment proposal. I’m not convinced another spa and a convention centre is what we need here.**
The Daffodil worshippers were calling and I was on aunty duty. I was onto my sister-in-law this time. I wouldn’t fall for taking kids to the parade somehow becoming me being with them in the parade. Besides, when half the town is marching some of us have to watch, wave and wahoo.
The Battle Royale for sheer prominence this year was a contest between the bagpipe bands and the fire trucks. Hard to judge given the formula of the district fire trucks combining for the grand finale, rather than my remembered tradition of every third parade entry being a fire truck. The town myth circulating (ok, I heard it once from Mr Raybould) was of volunteers rushing against the festival tide yesterday to respond to the siren call. If it was summer there’s no way those fire trucks would have permission to leave their stations.
Post-parade there was much jolly community fun to be had, though I know it is hard to believe that the racing ferrets from last week’s program could be topped (as in surpassed, not euthanized). The grease from Ruby Café bar stools – with which children should perhaps not play with underneath while wearing white and slurping on what they rate as the best iced chocolates in town – was superbly remedied by a visit to the face painting tent. Golden daffodil thumbs up for the water bombs and tea towel volleyball. And three cheers for the cha cha cha grooves aboard the Kyneton Music Festival truck (first weekend in March, folks).
A day that reminds me why this place is such a lovely neck of the woods.
On Friday night my landlords let me know they are selling the house I’ve been in for four years, which has thrown up a whole lot of what to do when and where to do it. My pencil plan was to stay here til winter then head north for a few months of travelling and hiking. Not sure that the timing is right to pack up everything into storage before then. Wondering if I should move back to Melbourne to avoid the inevitable work commute once this uni semester is over. Or stay in this community in some shape or form for a wee bit longer. Decisions, decisions…
*Dr Lee was due to be the first Walk-Come-Along-Human, last week. Do get welleth, Heathcote awaits.
** Scroll to postscript comment below.