The Grampians – Day 2: Hollow Mountain // 31.10.16

“Seek adventures that open your mind” – Unknown

Everyone was up bright and early to start today’s adventure. We drove around forty-five minutes away from the campsite to a popular hike called Hollow Mountain.

43As we drove closer to the trail we were greeted with red dust roads, landscapes filled with hills for as far as the eye could see, and some of the most picturesque viewpoints that I couldn’t wait to climb.

4445Although there was a fairly large group of us we decided to take our time and climb in smaller groups and meet up at different points along the climb, this way there was no pressure on anyone. I just wanted to picture everything as the colours of the scenery were so vibrant and uplifting – it’s difficult to feel anything but happy in these surroundings. We all put on our ‘war paint’ (also known as coal found on the ground) and set sail…or should I say started hiking? aha.

8346Myself, and the girls all stayed together and chatted and giggled our way up the rocks which made it all the more fun to do together. Not only was it nice to tell funny stories and chat along the way, it was great to be able to support each other and help each other over the tougher terrain.

50When we reached the top of the first part of the climb, we regrouped with the rest of the gang and took this opportunity to take a photo of the ‘kids’ as the older ones of the group would like to call us. Not gonna lie, although this was a quick spur of the moment photo, I actually love how it turned out.

5152By this point, we had reached ‘the climb’ – my favourite part. There’s something so invigorating about climbing rock faces with no harness or safety mechanisms attached – don’t worry it’s safe to do so here as long as you’re sensible. My friend Anna was a little scared of heights so we all pulled together to get her to the top and ensure she felt safe and supported by the group. Great Job Anna!!

5355By the time we had reached the first viewpoint, you could actually start to see an impressive view – before now you could see the trail behind you and the occasional view in the distance when looking through a gap in the rocks. But this was pretty nice. In the above picture, you can see the red dust road that we started walking on at the beginning of the trail. Although it doesn’t look that far away, we had already hiked pretty far by this point.

5758We all took a minute to have a rest and take in the beautiful views, it was so peaceful up there. Sometimes you forget what it’s like to not be able to hear cars driving past, and the constant hustle and bustle of a city. It was peaceful, serene. I really love this photo of my friend Zoe, you can see she is truly lost in thought and admiring the view. I think the best photos are always the unexpected ones.

6061I left my camera with Lucy while I went to climb one of the nearby rocks, it was higher than the rest and I felt like I could get a better view from up there. Lucy managed to capture some pretty awesome shots while I was there, which really show how pretty the view was.

6364After climbing through many small gaps and caves we reached the top…well as far as we could safely climb with no climbing gear (it was a pretty windy day). We all regrouped here and chilled out for a bit before the downward climb began.

656768Thankfully the rain held off so we could enjoy the beautiful scenery and take some pictures before we had to return to shore (or the car – what is with these sea references)? Standing on different parts of the rocks meant you could see in so many different directions, you could see nothing but trees and greenery for miles in one direction, and red dirt roads and rock mountains in another.

6970On our decline, we climbed through many small gaps and overlooked many beautiful views. It’s fascinating how much you miss on the way up just because you’re facing a different direction. We must have stopped so many times just to take it all in.

7374Instead of climbing all the way back through the cave the way we initially came, Tony; Zoe’s dad decided we should climb down the rock face behind the cliff…now I’m not sure whether this was a great idea at the time, but I trusted him so went with his judgment. Now, for those that don’t know Tony, he’s over 6ft tall so I feel like he had a slight height advantage to the rest of us.

Now, for those that don’t know Tony, he’s over 6ft tall so I feel like he had a slight height advantage to the rest of us. Myself and Lucy had to really stretch at one point to be able to reach the below rocks, but it was so worth it.

7275Somehow, Skye may have taken a tumble in a hilarious fashion (I literally feel like it happened in slow motion) and although you can’t see her face, she was laughing pretty hard at this point (as were the rest of us) – don’t worry she’s okay, no injuries…thankfully!

7880Half way down we stopped for a little pick me up and snack break…believe me by this point it was well needed. I was starving! This cave was the perfect spot for sharing round granola bars and having a breather while sheltering from a passing shower.

8584As you climb down the rocks and uneven paths you start to realise how far you’ve climbed. It’s funny how much quicker you can climb down something as opposed to climbing up it. Thankfully the rain held up until we reached the bottom so none of us got too wet.

88By the time we had reached the bottom the skies had cleared and the rain had passed (for now anyway). As we had all separated on the way down it was nice to regroup at the bottom. Hiking is such a great way to keep fit, enjoy nature, and enjoy the great outdoors all at the same time. I wish I lived closer to places like this so I could explore all the time.

86Sorry for the long post!

I hope you enjoyed seeing an insight to one of my favourite climbs so far – I must have taken over 100 photos on this climb, although there are a lot in this post, this is just a snapshot of the great time we shared.

Continue reading about my trip here: The Grampians – Day 2: Reeds Lookout.

Love, Luce ♥

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