One of the Most Intense Hikes We’ve Been on

So Mel has been telling me about the Cathedral Ranges for quite a while. I thought it would be cool to check it out and we had it booked in on our calendar for ages.

On the day, I was thinking, you know, it should be a fun and nice hike. Get out in nature.. yeah should be a good day.

We headed on our 2 hour drive from Melbourne to the Cathedral Ranges.

When we got there, we had a quick look at the map (see the image below) to get an idea of the route we were planning on taking.

There were two paths to begin the hike. Having visited the Cathedral Ranges last year, Mel was certain we were meant to take the path leading to the right…to avoid the ‘hard bit’. So I was like ‘Sure thing’

But then my carefree attitude towards that changed slightly. We got to a point where we had to climb a rock face (i.e. rock climbing) to progress any further I’m talking free climbing where we definitely should be wearing a helmet, harness and have a small support team with us.

At the base of the vertical obstacle, we saw a group of actual climbers (with helmets and all the rest on). I looked at one of the guys and in my mind asked ‘Where do we go from here?’

He casually pointed up at the big rock behind him like ‘yeah… like up there man’. As if that was the most normal, obvious and not-dangerous-at-all route to take.

Common sense thankfully taking control, I said to Mel ‘yeah, this is so not the right track’. I mean I’d be happy to free climb, give it a go, but I’m pretty sure that’s not such a good idea.

Anyway, thankfully Mel agreed, nobody died, all limbs remained intact and we were on our way back down to where we started fifteen minutes before.

Taking the track to the left this time around, we ended up on a much more realistic route.

We had to do some pretty steep scrambling/rock climbing (nothing even close like to the other path) and eventually after 45 minutes-one hour we made it to the Summit of Mount Sugarloaf. Such an epic view!

You’ll see some awesome views at the top and here are a few of our photos. So sweet…

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We had some snacks at the top, chilled out for a bit, soaked it in and then climbed back down the rocks and along the Razorback trail. This section of the hike was another 90 minutes or so and weaved through unique rock formations, between crevices and past more amazing views of the park and beyond.

The end of the Razorback trail opened into a clearing (The Farmyard) which has the option to hike to South Jawbone Peak, which we decided against, purely based on limited time. It was another 90 minutes or so for us to walk back to our car.

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Finally finishing up at the original car park, we were pretty wrecked. Have to say it was the most awesome hike I’ve been on, albeit extremely challenging.

Here are a few pointers though if you’re keen to take on the Cathedral Ranges yourself

1)This is a HARD hike – for fit and experience hikers only! We recommend starting on an easier hike if you’re a newb. It’s pretty challenging, lots of climbing and like a tonne of tough, uphill walking. However, if you’re into that kind of thing, then Cathedral Ranges is perfect for you.

2) Make sure you have something on to support your ankles – I slipped on rocks and nearly rolled my ankle a few times. I’ll even consider taping my ankles when I go back.

3) Read the map – otherwise you might end up having to scale a rock face.

4) Take some time to soak in the view at the top – just awesome. A great reward for all your hard work getting to the top!

Til next time,
Dante + Mel

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