Powelltown – Ada River Track
Saturday 9th January.
Powelly Pub really exists! It is not a figment of the fertile imagination of Greg Richards. And more than that it is run by people willing to please customers, and serves a really good lamb pie (doesn’t it Greg), and ice-creams, drinks, a good beer, even orange juice. Yep so I’ve started this report backwards for one of the pleasant things about day walks is the camaraderie afterwards.
To start at the beginning is a really good place to start. Three cars, 9 people: the aforementioned Greg with Wane & John; Andrew & Rosemary; Lydie, Pauline, Ray & Bruce (your scribe) all meet at the allotted spot by the big log at Powelltown. (Having driven through some delightful tall timbered country on dirt roads getting there following the GPS!) This time it was jumpers on for some as the temperature up there was a bit cool at 8:30 in the morning. The jumpers come off once the walk started and even more clothing was stripped off as the day wore on.
There was a skirt down the road, left turn, gravel road, right turn into old logging track and so to the start of the walk, and very soon we were exploring Ada No2 Mill site which was the most fruitful of the mill sites. The biggest thing was the old steam boiler rusting away but so large and so much iron that it should be there for many more years to come. Is it really true that the last person to position the anvil when the final iron rivets were driven in was left to die within the cylinder as there was no room to get out? Ask John for substantiation or just accept it’s another furphy.
We were promised, in Greg’s inimical way, raging torrents, flooded swamps, and leeches. Leeches there were and free flowing rivulets of blood down legs, much too late to use the salt when inspected on return to the cars, but hey, it’s January: the swamp was only oozy, the raging torrents just a free running creek. Good quality water as we refilled drink bottles. We saw scrapings of lyre birds, collected some lyre bird feathers, heard many and varied birds, saw a black cockatoo. The bush gave us different growth zones: varieties of beech down the creek gullies, dark areas with much canopy above, transition zones and of course the tall majestic mountain ash.
Rotted trestle bridges aplenty even with old signs about unsafe bridge. Very old signs as that bridge has now collapsed and well beyond being “unsafe”. With low flowing waters we rock hopped across the river (well, creek may be a better descriptor). Then onwards and upwards to the Ada tree eucalyptus regnans or mountain ash to mere mortals: now reduced to 65 metres high, well struck many times by lightning so reducing its height. A massive girth, and some estimated 225 cubic metres and 225 tons of timber.
This was looking first hand at the history of our tall forests and our timber industry and if that was all for the walk, well done. But look there’s more! There’s the “exploration” bit. This was just out of the Ada tree car park (1.5 kms from the Ada tree). A quick right turn, scramble over a rampart of earth blocking the entrance and we are on an old road – still with the occasional traffic sign. This was cut from the embankment of yet another creek, very steep in most places to our left, so steep that there was clear sky for the trees were way down the steep sided walls, so “way down there” to give us our sky view. Scrambling over or under many fallen trees across the road way. Greg kept the “technical” difficulties until we were soon to face them. There was a wash out of the road, so a scramble up hill, cross a creek then oh where oh where is the road? Pretty well much back to the left your scribe contended correctly and so to be praised and awarded the Junior Bushwalkers’ Badge! This “exploration” was so good as it was a gentle downhill walk all the way. To be countered once we meet Dowey Spur Road with a gradual uphill walk back to the awaiting cars. Carrying a large male gut or pot belly was too much for your scribe who thanks Greg (with his re-emerged left achilles tendon pain) and Pauline for accompanying him on that last 4 km. Well, Wane drove back to pick us up for that last half km. We were not too proud to gratefully accept.
It was reckoned that we’d walked some 17km. A great walk. A hearty thanks to Greg for yet again a walk well displaying Australian bush and gobsmacking views. To me this is the very nature of bushwalking. Thank you Greg.