Mount Riddell

Two days ago we climbed Mount Riddell in the Healesville area. A tough, unrelenting climb of almost six kilometres that grew steeper as we neared the summit, such as it was. We were already warned not to expect refreshing, reviving scenic vistas at the end of the exhausting ascent, but I couldn’t help being disappointed by what greeted me: just a picnic table and benches in an open area surrounded by forest, one big part of which was fenced off because it enclosed a water catchment. A narrow track opposite the prohibited area was tempting to follow, but the notes about the climb did not say anything about it. And the bench was too inviting. We had a spot of lunch and returned, downhill all the way. Not the best walk we have ever done. There are more gruelling walks in the area, scaling Saint Leonards for instance, which promises a feast of visual splendour. Mount Riddell promised no such rewards for effort. Still, at one point along the way the forest opened up to reveal a stunning view of the valley with the Maroondah reservoir set against a backdrop of mountains. It made the pain and sweat almost worthwhile.

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