Monday, 19 January 2015

Upper Yarra Reservoir - Day 1

On Friday I realised that we had a free weekend, and that this might be the last one for some time. In January Tony often works a day on the weekend, and sometime in February Vintage will start and he will be working at least one day each weekend, and once Vintage is over baseball will have started and he'll be away all day Saturday. So we thought perhaps it was a good (and possibly the best) chance to try out our new camper trailer. Getting ready to go on Friday seemed too hard - Caitlin and I were going shopping for boots and pants as she has horse camp this week, and I wanted to enjoy that and not be rushed, so we decided to see how we felt on Saturday morning and head off if we felt like it.

Saturday morning was very relaxed, Tony and some of the kids had a sleep in, we played games, LiAM plants Plants v Zombies Garden Warfare, Caitlin started packing for horse camp, eventually we talked about camping and decided that we would go, to Upper Yarra Reservoir Park (C and L and I had been there about 15 months ago on Scout Camp and I loved the location. It's only about an hours drive from us so felt like an easy quick trip). We packed the car and the trailer - it was exciting being able to put most of the camping stuff in the trailer, so the car just had our food and clothes and wasn't jammed full at all - and set off in the early afternoon, stopping at Coles in Healesville for food and a couple of other supplies. On the way we listened to 'The Longest Whale Song' by Jacqueline Wilson (this is the 2nd of her books we've listened to on Audio CD. Even though the main character was a girl in both books, all the kids were very engaged in the story. Tony and I too.)

When we arrived the kids got out to run around and Tony and I scouted around for the best place to camp. Caitlin and I had a go at doing most of the setting up ourselves, as I want to take the kids camping on my own during Vintage this year, and wanted to see if we'll be able to set up the tent - we didn't do it all without Tony helping, but did enough for me to be sure that we'll be able to when he's not there. While we were setting up LiAM met a boy from one of the other tents, and they ran around together for a while then the kids from both families had a water bomb fight. We spent a very pleasant afternoon pottering around getting set up, sitting down and having a cuppa, checking out the view - I love the mountain that is right next to the park - while the kids played with their new friends. They found a rope swing tied to a tree and then met a group of families camping nearby who also had lots of kids to play with.

I love sitting and looking at this mountain (although it doesn't look as impressive in this photo as in real life)
Almost set up
We had an early dinner (the kids ate as they came back to tell us things, then were off again playing) and afterwards went for a walk up to the reservoir. We walked through a fairly overgrown path to get to the first lookout (the kids pretended they were lost in the woods), which only showed us the outlet from the dam into the aqueduct, not particularly exciting - although we could see the dam wall from there and it was rather impressive. From there we walked up the road, which switchbacked up the hill to get to the height of the dam wall. It was a bit tiring for the kids (and Tony who had Millie in the sling) but the view at the top was quite spectacular. The sun was setting behind us as we looked over the reservoir, lots of pink clouds reflected in the water and the mountains showing ridge after ridge beyond the dam. The kids discovered that there was a significant echo if they shouted, so they had fun experimenting with that. There was also a monument to the men who had built the dam which provided a fun climbing spot and an even higher view of the dam for Caitlin and LiAM. We walked back down to our camp in the fading light, everyone was pretty tired when we got back - then picked up again when their friends invited them to join in around their fire and play with glow sticks. The kids played there while I set up the beds, then came back and went to bed fairly easily. I sat outside and read my book for a while (I'm finally reading The Time Traveller's Wife and am completely enthralled by it.) then joined the others in the tent. Tony and I slept up on the mattress above the trailer and the kids had their own camping mattresses on the floor.
Stopping for some mango

The dam wall
Sunset over the reservoir

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