There used to be gold in thar hills…

The weather was looking bleak so we decided to do some tracks around Dargo rather than head north to Hotham where we wanted to see the views. It was a good choice as there was heavy fog and misty rain for most of the morning.
 
The Dargo General Store provided some expensive fuel at $1.69 a litre (most expensive so far) but they did sell the Rooftop range of maps and we grabbed the Dargo Adventure map. There was also a geocache here in one of the post boxes. It turns out the store owners were geocachers and had hidden most of the caches in the area.
 
We headed north out of Dargo picking our way through the pea soup fog with no more than 50 metres visibility. This became very interesting as logging trucks came out of the fog at us, most of the time taking up the whole road.
 
We turned off the Dargo High Plains Road and into the Grant Historic Goldfields area. The fog cleared briefly at the cemetery and warmed up but as we walked in to check out the historic graves, the fog rolled in and the temperature dropped considerably – creepy. The forest has almost taken back the cemetery but you can still wander around checking out the old graves and wonder what the pioneers had to put up with.
 
Travelling further down the road and we came along the township area of Grant, well signs and photos of what it looked like during the gold rush. Every bit of the town apart from some broken glass and bits of rusting iron has gone where there used to be upward of 2000 people.
 
The sun stayed out as we continued our decent to Talbotville. There were spectacular views to the mountains of the High Country as well a views to the bottom of the hill straight off the side of the single lane track cut into the side of the mountain. Luckily the girls were on the inside of this track so they weren’t freaked out looking down.
 
Our descent took us 900 metres down to a big open area which used to be Talbotville but is now a campground with its own cemetery and cattle grazing amoungst the tents and caravans. Talbotville was another town that sprouted up with the gold rush but nothing but a few bricks and the cemetery remain. It made a good spot for lunch.
 
After lunch we were going to do the Basalt Spur track circling back on the Brewery Creek Road. To get there involved a couple of creek crossings then onto the track which our map said had a steep section near the start. It started out steep with a few humps and we thought it wasn’t too bad until we turned the 2nd corner and it looked like the track went straight up. Probably a little too challenging for us so we turned around and tackled the Crooked River track with its 24 creek crossings there and 24 creek crossings back. There was only a couple that came up to the running boards and a couple that had steep entries and exits but it wasn’t a bad drive out to Stonewall and back.
 
There was a choice of 2 ways back to camp. Back up McMillians Road with the girls being on the outside looking straight down off the edge or follow the Crooked River out with some more creek crossings. We chose the more sedate Crooked River option. It may have been a little longer but probably the better choice.
 
Arriving back in Dargo as it was getting dark, a meal at the Dargo Hotel sounded good as it had been a long day and no-one felt like doing any cooking. The place was full but we soon had 4 meals that you couldn’t jump over in front of us and most managed to get through them and the drinks were cold as well. It was then time to head to camp and relax by the creek before hitting the hay for the night.
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