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  • Writer's pictureTupur Chakrabarty

Devilbend: Enjoy the Magic!

Time visited: Mother's Day 2023

Time spent: Four hours

There had been a drought of long walks due to the wet weather and we were desperate for one! When Mother's Day 2023 was predicted to be 'mainly sunny', we thought we'd take our chances! We looked up several trails in the Mornington area, their lengths and difficulty levels - we wanted a long but easy walk - and decided on Devilbend Reservoir Loop.

We left home at 8:00 and were at the Devilbend Natural Features Reserve parking area in an hour. It was a chilly morning and the dew-drenched grass was glistening in the morning sun. The park was quite empty at that early hour. We saw only one group setting up their picnic. After a quick visit to the toilet, which was clean and had toilet rolls and water taps but no soap, we headed out to Daangean Trail. Our plan was to walk the Reservoir Circuit, which the information board in the picnic area claimed was 11.5 km and would take 2.5 hours. We were a little confused at the start because Google Maps called the loop Reservoir Circuit Trail but the information board had it as a combination of Daangean Trail and Catch Drain Trail. They're essentially the same route, so whichever you follow, you'll be fine. We followed the path to the fork and turned left.

The moment we stepped onto Daangean Trail, we were greeted by tall pines with droplets of water on their needles shining like little crystals. The ground was soft, the air cool and fresh, and the sun filtered through the trees creating an ambiance I don't have words to describe. We were immediately transported to a land of mist and magic.

And then we saw the toadstools! The forest couldn't be any more magical!

After several minutes of mushroom-spotting and photographing, we continued to a part of the forest that looked drier and greyer and felt eerie! Orcs could've been lurking behind the trees! Even the thought of walking alone there made me shudder!

The forest opened up to a wider trail, which led straight to the water. Actually, there were several shoreline access points throughout Daangean Trail.

After a few moments of quiet contemplation, we returned to Daangean Trail. We walked past a couple of offshoots of a wide grass-covered trail running parallel to a farm. By then the sun was strong, and the cluster of trees a few hundred metres away looked inviting, but weren't we walking away from the water?

Now, walking away from the water when we are meant to be walking around the water is a worry! After our failed Sugarloaf Reservoir Circuit hike a few years ago, we'd promised ourselves that for any future hike around a body of water, we'd stay close to the water! We were laughing and shaking our heads in disbelief that Devilbend might end up being a return hike instead of a circuit! Were we even on Daangean Trail? No, we were not! We were on Loders Track. Google Maps suggested that we take one of the offshoots to get back to the water. We took Orchid Track. There were thick spiderwebs on the grass. The water was still.

And then, without any warning, Daangean Trail ended.

We were standing on a dirt road wide enough for cars to pass and muddy in places from the rain. It was Hodgins Road. On the other side of the road should be Bittern Reservoir and Catch Drain Trail - perhaps another 2.5-3 kilometres, but should we risk a detour?

We crossed Hodgins Road and stood at, what we thought was, the mouth of the Bittern Reservoir Circuit. As we were consulting Google Maps and discussing our next course of action, we saw a very sweaty local, who'd clearly come here for a jog or run, walking towards us. His advice was simple - walking down Hodgins Road for a kilometre and a half and then turning right to get back on the trail, which would take us past a farm. The farm would be on our left, the water on our right. If the water wasn't on our right, then we were most likely in the water, he said.

We continued on Hodgins Road. The reserve appeared on our right soon enough, albeit at a distance, implying we still had a fair bit of walk left to get there. After another few hundred metres, we passed between the black-and-white width markers on the road and stood at the intersection of Hodgins Road and Catch Drain Trail. On our left was the gate we would've walked out of had we taken the Bittern Reservoir Circuit; on our right, a few steps ahead, Catch Drain Trail continued, parallel to a farm, just as the man had said. We went right.

Surprisingly, the dewy throw on the grass was intact despite the sun being where it was. It was a pity the camera failed to capture the glistening silver layer our eyes saw.

After a few hundred metres of our sun-soaked walk, Devilbend Creek appeared on our right. The muddy water was absolutely still. We followed the creek, our steady walk interrupted once by a fallen tree, nature's very own gateway.

Then came the point where Catch Drain Trail meets Derril Road. We could've followed Catch Drain Trail, but after checking the way on Google Maps, we decided to take Derril Road, which was another car-worthy dirt road like Hodgins Road and not very exciting! The saving grace of the last leg of our walk was playing hide and seek with the reserve! We'd suggest staying on Catch Drain Trail.

We walked about two kilometres on Derril Road to reach the back entrance to the picnic area. We stopped briefly by the reserve where Catch Drain Trail ends.

By then the park had changed completely. With a multitude of people, mainly families with young children making the most of the gorgeous day, the peace of the morning was all but gone.

We decided to check out the Daangean Point Track. which was a well-formed gravel path along the water. It was very busy. We walked to the small fishing platform accessed by a white metal jetty and paused briefly. Standing there was an interesting sensation - if you stood still, you felt the platform floating under your feet.

We walked a bit further on Daangean Point Track to a lookout point. If we'd taken Catch Drain Trail instead of Derril Road, we probably would've walked on the cliff we saw on the other side of the water.

One of the reviews we read about Devilbend was that the trail offered a range of scenery. That would definitely be the best description of the trail. We walked through a misty forest, past a picturesque farm, and on grass and gravel; we stood by a calm reserve, circled a lazy creek, and were dazzled by the sun-drenched bush.

As we drove home, the image of this bare, skeletal tree traveled with me. The stark contrast of its branches against the blue sky reminded me of the White Tree in Minas Tirith. Today's magical walk could have easily been from the pages of a fantasy book.


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10 comentarios

27 may

Great place. খুব ভালো লাগলো। অসাধারণ সমস্ত ছবি। নতুন জায়গা। নতুন জানা। নতুন হর্ষ। enjoy the every moment of the life.

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15 may

The mushrooms were the best thing in my opinion LOL They look like they were taken from a fantasy movie.

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15 may

What a wonderful place. Amazed

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14 may

Lovely account of a Devil's bend trek. Beautiful pictures which enhance the natrative. Thank you for sharing. Makes me want to make the journey Tupur and Rakesh !

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13 may

Please keep continue this work. Great!

-Ashraful Islam

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