Saturday, February 1, 2014

Marooned in Maroondah

Thought I share what we went through trying to the recce the upcoming Maroondah trail run by Trails+ :)

If you were extremely diligent with your research, I suppose you would've avoided the few scratch-head moments we went through on the trail.. I couldn't find a great mount of detail from Parks Victoria for this particular region of Maroondah - decided to just set off armed with the route print-out & some info gathered from Google Map..

Map of Maroondah trail run by Trails+

Well to start off - we decided to just check out the 2nd half of the Maroondah Trail run, ie. the descent/ascent between the reservoir and Mt St Leonards - a return climb from Maroondah dam would be around 30k & that was the plan.. so our plan was to go backwards along the trail run route before U-turning at Mt St Leonards summit.

Coming from Maroondah main car-park - to get on the official trail run route - just head to the dam wall, and keep going. You will see signs turning out to Maroondah Lookout, and a forest trail back to the car-park. Just stick to the main trail.

Alternative way is via Hendersons Hill route - which isn't as straightforward to find coming from the car-park (but was the one we ended up taking).. regardless both ways will get you onto the next important 3 way junction.

The 3-way junction on the official run map

Echo tunnel is what you want

How it really looks at ground zero.. 

Coming from the Maroondah park, you're presented with Condons Walk Track & Echo Tunnel route at a 3-way junction.. the CORRECT way we should've taken was to follow Echo Tunnel (there's no indication that it leads to Mt St Leonard summit (or Donnellys Weir)).

We ended up taking the wrong way Condons Walk Track - because the trail sign indicated that it leads to Mt St Leonard (& Mt Monda). It was kinda confusing. They both lead to Mt St Leonard except it's a bigger & bushier/slower way via Condons Walk Track.. there's no route info also so we had no idea what kinda walk we were getting ourselves into.

Condons Walk Track is for hikers, not runners.. VERY BUSHY

If you intend to hike Condons Walk Track, you will see a few no-entry trails meant for Park authorities only along the way. And after a very long bushy mushy climb, you would come to the end of Condons Walk Track & out to a junction to Monda Road. At this junction - it's sign-posted - head left towards Mt St Leonard, or right towards Mt Monda. If you're doing the Maroondah trail run, as you run along Monda Rd you will hit this junction as well - just that you may miss it (not exactly next to the main Monda Rd)....

Out from Condons Walk Track, another short section to run
before you eventually see the gates linking to Monda Road

Anyway we ended up doing this loop (anti clockwise):

And as we neared the summit of Mt St Leonard, we stuck to the main Monda gravel road instead of ascending up the summit. If you're taking Monda Road to descend as we have, remember to turn into Road 11 when you see it show up on your left..

Going along Road 11, eventually you will meet the trail to the summit again (from the south) per below picture.

This is how it looks..  Road 11 on the left, trail to summit on the right.
If you see this you're on the right track.. 

You are still on Road 11 as you leave this junction & continue the descent, it's a long way down & there were a few parts of the trail that were overgrown with bushes & the trails were vague - but largely speaking there was only one big trail heading downhill & if you're unsure, just stick to the your left-most trail & keep heading downhill..

At some point Road 11 becomes the Bicentennial National Trail but there's really no way of telling because it isn't sign-posted or anything (except the trail starts to bear a bit to the left). Continue your descent & eventually you will hit a sharp left turn & would be on your way towards Donnellys Weir. From Donnellys Weir it is less than 2km back to the 3-way junction via Echo Tunnel route.

Somewhere along Bicentennial National Trail.. 

You will see this aqueduct between Donnellys Weir & Echo Tunnel

Echo Tunnel.. it really does Echo! After this you will be back in familiar
territory of the 3-way junction.. 

OK folks - hope that's sufficient info to help if you're off doing your own recce or just visiting this part of Maroondah for a hike, get out there & happy running/hiking!

1 comment:

  1. This is the 'BEST' blog I've come across that describes the tracks, wish all others followed this example.
    Used your notes as research and it was spot on.

    Thanks a lot for sharing.