Sunday, 18 June 2017

Channel 10 Tower Walk (Korung National Park)

An extremely short and easy walk, the Channel 10 Tower Walk takes walkers into a section of Korung National Park while exploring the bushland surrounding the Channel 10 broadcasting tower. A shaded forest walk that passes dumped cars, bulldozed trees and the massive broadcasting tower accompanied by the sound of cars and dirt bikes not far away, this is one of the Shire of Kalamunda's least essential trails

Distance: 5 km (loop)
Gradient: Very gentle and flat - it would probably be wheelchair accessible with an off road wheelchair
Quality of Path: Mostly clear and well maintained - a mix of single file walk trail and unsealed vehicle tracks
Quality of Signage: Generally well signed, however there are a few junctions with missing signage. To avoid confusion, the Shire of Kalamunda's route description, map and/or KML file are essential.
Experience Required: No Previous Bushwalking Experience Required if using the Shire of Kalamunda files as above.
Time: 40-60 minutes
Steps: None
Best Time to Visit: Autumn-Spring
Entry Fee: No
Getting There: The trail starts at the end of a dirt track that can be found on Pomeroy Rd 200 metres west of the roundabout intersection with Canning Road. 

Recently, I had a conversation with Mark from the Life of Py about how I felt that we were running out of truly spectacular Perth trails to write up, and I jokingly brought up the unappealingly named Channel 10 Tower Walk as a trail that seemed to represent the very dregs of Perth day walk options. It was a trail I had mentally put on the back-burner for when all other options ran dry, however the news of Channel 10 going into voluntary administration earlier in the week made the Channel 10 Tower Walk seem like a rather topical choice for our quiet weekend in Perth. As such, Alissa and I headed out on Sunday afternoon to tackle one of our shortest and easiest walks to date.

Being familiar with many Shire of Kalamunda walks, I was not surprised to find that there was no trailhead to be found at the gravel car park where the trail started, and we had to rely on the KML file to ascertain that we were at the right place. A faded pink marker on a tree nearby confirmed that the GPS data was accurate, and we began the easy amble down the old vehicle track. 

Unlike our last Shire of Kalamunda trail experience (the confusing and poorly marked Statham's Quarry walk), Alissa and I were relieved to find that the Channel 10 Tower Walk was quite well marked, making it fairly easy to follow. Considering the warm and dry June, we were also relieved to see some wildflowers beginning to bloom as we walked through the somewhat scrappy Jarrah forest.

Although we had seen the top of the Channel 10 Tower peaking out from the forest as we arrived at the start of the trail, we were able to get largely uninterrupted views of the structure mere minutes into the walk. I'm sure there is someone out there who would find this to be an awe-inspiring sight, however I found it hard to get excited about this tall metal structure compared to mountains, gorges or Karri forests. 

The track then runs along the combination chainlink and electric fence. At this point, Alissa and I head the purring roar of dirt bikes nearby, as a father and son made their way along the track. Regular readers of the blog know that I'm not a fan of dirt bike riders brazenly riding on the Bibbulmun Track and spreading Dieback through national parks, however I found their presence here to be less problematic. I mean, the scrappy forests and broadcasting tower hardly scream 'pristine wilderness', and if they really must tear up a walk trail it might as well be along the vehicle tracks of this walk. 

From the fence, the trail goes off into some pleasant but ultimately forgettable regrowth forest. The easy walking and unchanging scenery meant this part of the walk lacked any really distinguishing features, and while I was happy to be out in nature, this is about all the positive things I can say about this section of the trail. 

The walk eventually turned onto a section of purpose built narrow walk trail, heading through similarly forested areas to what we had already seen for the vast majority of the walk. 

Compared to other Shire of Kalamunda trails, Alissa and I had been quite impressed by how relatively well marked the trail was - until we reached an unmarked T-junction. Consulting the KML file, we were able to ascertain that we needed to take a left turn. 

Trail maintenance in these parts seem to follow the brute force method - rather than careful pruning, it was obvious that a bulldozer had been driven through the area, with the resulting bleakness being even less appealing than earlier sections of the walk. 

Back on well marked and narrow walk trail, Alissa and I were greeted by the sight of a rubbish pile thoughtlessly placed in a gully to the right of the track. A mix of cable reels and interesting electrical supplies, it put the icing on the cake after the bleakness of the bulldozed section earlier. 

If the garbage was the icing on the cake, a rusted out car wreck was the cherry on top. Alissa and I observed with some interest that an informal trail had been formed leading to the car - it is obviously a major landmark of this walk!

After the car wreck, the trail leads back to the Channel 10 Tower.

The track runs alongside the same stretch of fence encountered earlier and leads back to the point where we first saw the Channel 10 Tower in all its glory. From this point, we saw markers that were cleverly designed to only be seen from this direction pointing us to to turn left rather than return back to our car. 

Turning left lead us into Korung National Park, signposted by the appearance of another rusted out car wreck left in the middle of the track. Although some stretches of Korung National Park seen along the Mason & Bird Walk Trail are quite beautiful, this was definitely not one of the best sections of the park - compared to John Forrest National Park (or even Kalamunda National Park for that matter), it is almost laughable that this is area is worthy of the term 'national park' when there are many other more beautiful parts of the state that are not designated as such. 

The last major feature is a section of trail that circumnavigates an old clay pit. These are similar to the clay pits seen along the Mason & Bird Trail, however I was surprised to see it filled with water this early in the hiking season, given that the clay pits along the Mason & Bird Trail are rarely a pool until later in the year. 

From there, it was an easy amble back to our car and the end of the walk. Alissa and I were not rushing at all given that I was taking photos, yet we were able to complete the 5 kilometres in about 40 minutes, giving us an average pace of 7.5 kilometres/hour (though I question the accuracy of the 5 kilometre length).

What to make of this walk? I had very low expectations going into this walk, and while not disappointing it was about on par with what I expected from it. It definitely the least impressive walk I've written up to date, with its primary distinguishing features being a broadcasting tower and evidence of the littering tendencies of bogans who don't seem to care very much for keeping Australia beautiful. While I think it is commendable that the Shire of Kalamunda offers so many walk trails for the people of Perth, I don't think this is one that people would miss very much if it were to go the way of the Kattomordo Heritage Trail.  


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