Amanda -Director of Holistic Hikes hits the trails in April 2021 for the Grampian Experience after a year of lockdown in Melbourne.
We arrived in Halls Gap at lunchtime, dutifully checked in with the Info desk before grabbing lunch and checking over our gear. Like an excited child on her birthday, I was about to embark on an adventure with all that I needed strapped to my back for the next 3 days.
Halls Gap offers such rugged beauty with the Pinnacles protruding in contrast to the town below. It’s hard not to crane your next to the sky in awe of the ranges, with the local mob of Kangaroos good reason to keep your eyes to the ground, as not to trip over them. Neither moving too far from their original grazing or care that your heavy figures move towards them. With many hikers and campers in the region frequently, they have become accustomed to our sight.
The trail starts just a few hundred metres from the Centre of town yet it’s only a short distance in that you escape to ancient lands of traditional Aboriginal people, the Djab Wurrung and the Jardwadjali people of this area, known as Gariwerd.
The narrow trail is well-formed, undulating through the scrub of bracken fern with towering gums in contrast to the granite boulders that are ever-present. The cooler temperatures are welcome with our ascent through the Grand Canyon. A short but challenging climb and we soon stand atop the rocky outcrop with 360 degree views. We continue to hike atop the rock formation that is our trail, dotted with trees growing through cracks in the rock face.
As the trail becomes busier with foot traffic, we know that we are soon to reach the Pinnacles; the quintessential photography opportunity of the trip.
Cheered on by passersby’s on our upward climb we must first see ourselves through Silent Street; a narrow passage between giant boulders that remind us of our fleeting moment of human experience. I reflect on my smallness with a silent walking mediation through this section. (The Grampians are assumed to be 420 Million years old)After our 8.6km journey from Halls Gap, we reach Bugiga camp for night 1. It is a beautifully laid-out camp with pads for each tent and a large undercover area for inclement weather. We chose a west-facing camp pad to watch the sunset over through the mountain range as we tuck into a platter of pickles, olives, and cheese crisps and play a few hands of cards. Retiring with the sunset, our bodies rest for a bigger day 2.
Bugiga Camp nestled in the trees on individual pads.