No, that’s not a new WB tween drama, its our hiking itinerary for week 2!

Week 2:  Fern Tree Gully to One Tree Hill
Distance: 9 kms
Grade: moderate
Weight: 13-15 kgs

With packs stuffed full to simulate an overnight hike, we set out on the train from Richmond to the Upper Fern Tree Gully area of the Dandenongs.  We were out to test the packs, and our legs, on a more challenging walk with a little elevation change. 45 minutes later, we were at the base of the Dandenong Ranges ready to spend the afternoon tramping.

It can sometimes be difficult to gauge a new hike.  We’ve found the Victoria Parks Service assessment of “moderate” trails can range from easy flat walks requiring only stamina to go the distance and seriously challenging multi-grade walks.  Turns out though when they say steep, they definitely mean… steep.

The first leg of the hike up the Lyrebird Track was a seriously vertical incline.  We huffed and puffed under the weight, and I glared enviously at the walkers and runners barreling down the hill we were so struggling to ascend.  But after an initial rough period, we set into a more comfortable and sustainable stride.  Eventually, we flatted out and around at One Tree Hill, and started a slower and more gentle descent.  Deep in the forest, we had the cool woods nearly to ourselves for the afternoon, strolling among the trees.

We combined a number of trails to reach the right distance: the Lyrebird Track to the top of One Tree Hill, branching around on Tysons Track, and back down on the Outlook Track and Belview Terrace. There was a somewhat extensive network of tracks to loop, and given how easy it was to reach via train, we’ll definitely be going back for some more training exercises!

Part 2 of Week 2 was Sunday.  With tired legs, my goal was to simulate the distance walking portions of the Milford Track.  I walked down to St. Kilda beach and back, over 15kms, over the course of 4-5 hours.  Woah hamstrings. 

But that’s the goal of training, testing limits and finding areas of improvement!