When you jump in a new (second-hand) car and head off to the horizon, there are worst places to end up than the Dandenong Ranges.
I wrote that when we first moved to Melbourne, and it’s as true now as it was then. However, to be totally honest we’ve been a bit slow getting back into adventuring – particularly hiking and walking – since Oscar was born. We’ve done a few trips with Dean’s mum visiting, but to be quite truthful we’ve been in a serious baby bubble. Oscar is growing up and he loves being out of doors, so with summer approaching we’ve been trying to get back out to some of our favourite places again. We decided to start with the Dandenong Ranges.
Looking back, we probably could have picked a better day for it. But we were up before the sun (thanks Oscar) and looking for somewhere to go. We wanted a short hike that would allow us to dip our feet back into wild walking, and test out Oscar’s reaction. So we headed to the R.J. Hamer Arboretum to do a circuit, with a plan to head for the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens afterwards.
The rain had already started when we arrived at the start of the Arboretum trial. We checked the forecast, but we had already made the drive at that point so we decided to just continue. Rugging up Oscar as warm as possible, I snapped the most adorable photograph of my boys, and then we trudged onward to the trail. There was a strange emptiness around us, we must have been the only people in the entire place crazy enough to consider walking in that weather, let alone with a baby in tow. In retrospect, it was probably good that we were alone up there, because Oscar showed his total enthusiasm for our exploration of the Dandenong Ranges by screaming with joy and laughing the entire way, bouncing along in his carrier.
As planned, we did make an attempt at the Botanic Gardens, picking up a coffee in town on our way through. But by then the rain had really set in, and we were well and truly damp. Sometimes the best thing you can do for an adventure is realise that you’re better off packing up and going home, so with just that short hike under our belt we dried off, packed up the car, and left the Dandenong Ranges in the rear view mirror. Not exactly the most exciting day out, but a good indicator of how Oscar will react to being in the carrier, and a positive sign for hikes to come!