Grampians Peaks Trail (days 2): Bugiga Hiker Camp to Borough Huts
After an incredibly scenic start to the Grampians Peaks Trail yesterday, our second day involves even more sweeping views, this time from the top of Mt Rosea over the Serra and Mt Williams Ranges. The distance covered is slightly longer at 14km, but it’s still a comfortable day full of interesting rock features and fascinating trail characteristics.
Trail stats: Bugiga Hiker Camp to Borough Huts
Elevation change: 1033m
Trail time: 4.5hrs
Highlights: hiking through rock tunnels and caves to reach the summit of Mt Rosea; foggy views over Lake Bellfield, clearing briefly for lunch in the sun; a wallaby on the trail and kookaburras at camp
Campsite: Borough Huts Campground
As is my usual routine, we are the last to leave camp this morning, enjoying a long sleep-in, a very leisurely breakfast of hot chocolate and Clif Bars, and a delightfully slow pack-up of the tent and packs. It’s a pretty short walk to Borough Huts Campground today, so I don’t see why everyone is rushing onto the trail like they’ve got somewhere to be. It’s the weekend FFS.
It’s nearly 11am by the time we roll out. Like yesterday, today’s hike is immediately fascinating for its rock features and convoluted path across the mountain. We scramble over boulders, squeeze through narrow cracks, shimmy down slippery rocks, and crouch to fit through actual tunnels and caves as we ascend towards Mt Rosea, every second of the walk entertaining and varied. It’s drizzling on and off, but I hardly notice as I dance my way along the rocks in excitement.
Nearing the summit of Mt Rosea, we stop to take photos of a very foggy Lake Bellfield when, almost like magic, the mist clears and the entire valley is bathed in sunlight just long enough to capture a few good shots of the view.
The rain resumes on and off while we sit down to snack on beef jerky and trail mix, but we got our beautiful view and now we’re totally content to just enjoy whatever nature decides to do (which is 4 seasons per minute, apparently).
The actual summit is still a little ways off, but by the time we reach it, the rain has intensified, the fog has really settled in, and some heavy winds have started to blow. I’m feeling pretty pleased that we stopped and enjoyed the sunny view while we could, because clearly it’s not happening at the summit anytime soon.
We stand for a few minutes at the top even though we can hardly see anything, but then are forced off by the cold temperatures (and the realisation that there is a full bottle of wine in my pack just waiting to be opened).
The rest of the walk is downhill to Borough Huts, first on wet, slippery rocks that are a bit challenging to navigate, but finally on an actual dirt trail that is both easier to descend and also a bit boring by comparison.
Thankfully, this section of the walk passes incredibly quickly, and it even includes a wallaby sighting before we cross the river into camp bang on 4pm, as predicted.
Unlike the previous night’s camp, Borough Huts has not been purpose-built for the Grampians Peaks Trail— it’s actually a vehicle access campground being used as an interim site while a hiker camp is developed. I always hate staying near the road while I’m trekking, like a reminder that I could have gotten to this same place without any effort, but thankfully the campground is plenty nice, almost completely empty (we are 200m from the nearest person, and there seem only to be 3 tents in total), and we even crash someone else’s fire pit after dinner for warmth. There are certainly some perks.
Walking back from the fire to our chilly tent, we are met by the most intense sky I’ve seen in a long time, billions and billions of glowing stars and flickering planets lighting up the night, totally unobstructed by light pollution from the city out here in the bush. For as long as I can possibly manage in the near-freezing temps, I lay outside and stare straight up, mesmerised by the impossible beauty and reminded that our problems, no matter how dramatic they may seem, are really very small. I feel like this is exactly the perspective I needed right now.