Channel 10 Tower Walk
Korung National Park
Directions - From Roe Hwy, take the Welshpool Rd East exit heading towards the hills. Follow this all the way to the top and continue on until you reach the turn-off for Pomeroy Rd. Parking is on the verge opposite the old windmill.
The Hike - So here we are, the Channel 10 Tower Walk. It's been discussed many times on the podcast about perhaps being one of the worst trails in Perth and because of that I was really looking forward to hiking it. My podcast partner Donovan can be a bit hyperbolic when it comes to burnt Jarrah so when he didn't rate it very highly, I really wanted to capture it in a good light and show that all trails can be beautiful. This of course meant saving it for spring time when the wildflowers would be in bloom and whatever was lacking in terms of great scenery or trail design could be patched over with photos of the unique and colourful wildflower display that livens up the Perth Hills every year. That was the plan but not being able to travel over Easter plus a new ethos over the lock down period to explore more Perth trails meant I was going to tackle this one at arguably the least aesthetically pleasing time of year.
With that in mind I headed out after lunch on Easter Sunday to worship at the alter of nature, planning on completing two new trails that afternoon. I'd received an email mid-week from a lady from the City of Kalamunda asking me to revise the starting locations for a couple of their walks and this one was on the list (even though I'd not done it before). Obeying the new start points, parking is now on the verge of Pomeroy Road instead of further in due to the fire risk of having only one access point. I did have a chuckle as I arrived because there is a great big field from the walk trail start all the way to the road so there is no shortage of exit points if it came to that but in the interest of fire safety please park opposite the old windmill like I did. I located the walk trail, which is just after the rocks blocking the vehicle track and sure enough there was a marker in the distance guiding me. Some of the Shire of Kalamunda walks are a bit hit and miss when it comes to markers but I can report that for the most part this one is pretty good. The start of the walk is pretty standard affair for Korung National Park (more on this park later on) with the landscape being dominated by Jarrah, Marri and She-Oak. With cloudy conditions, I was happy that things were a little cooler after Perth recorded the highest ever April temperature the day before. I even got a tiny sprinkle of rain at one point that made me so happy because I really miss that feeling of walking in the forest when it's raining.
A little further along the track was the first of many disused gravel pits and I saw the feature that lends its name to the walk, the Channel 10 Tower, a constant presence throughout your time here. My thoughts strayed to Lord of the Rings and compared the tower to that of the Eye of Sauron, an ever present companion watching over you, similar to the media giants of Australia that try to control our every move. Not quite lidless and wreathed in flames, it is a reminder that even out here you are not alone and the ghosts of Gretel Killeen, Rove McManus and Osher Günsberg might be found roaming the forest at night ready to interview your dark, dark soul. I digress though because for the most part the tower is just an unwanted eyesore on what I was beginning to find out was actually a really nice piece of forest. While the trees were burnt in sections, there were some older examples that had been left here to stand guard over this now unwanted piece of land. Always a fan of She-Oak and the moody scenes it creates, I quietened the devil on my shoulder saying this was going to a terrible walk (let's call him Sonovan De Douza) and just simply enjoyed the walking.
Not expecting to see any wildflowers at this time of year, I was happy to see a very small patch of Hairy Jugflower on the side of the trail, distinctive by their red colouring and the white hairs that seems to float off the main structure. As the path got wider and the She-Oak ended, the Jarrah came into view and although still a little black on the bottom (perhaps indicating a rare cool burn-off by Parks and Wildlife) it was fantastic to see the soft grey bark that really draws me to the Jarrah tree. This had me thinking of my time out near Gringer Creek and Mt Wells, places we cannot visit now but the reminder brought a smile to my face. The Grass Trees here were also lovely to see, an evergreen presence during the warmer parts of the year and an introduction to Parrot Bush, a plant I really used to dislike but have now fallen in love with thanks to its photogenic flowers. It was the right time of year for it and I was lucky enough to get a few flowers in various stages of bloom. Continuing along the 4x4 track I really was wondering what Donovan found so offensive about this trail but then I stumbled across a really horrible sight that unfortunately is all too common in the Perth Hills, a large pile of dumped rubbish. The audacity and selfishness of some idiots in society knows no limits and to ruin such a lovely place really gets up my goat.
Unfortunately they get away with it but I'm hoping that the thoughtless morons were stupid enough to leave behind some evidence of themselves so they can be linked/fined for violating this sacred place (this has been reported to the City of Kalamunda). Becoming disheartened because honestly I had really enjoyed the first part of the track, it wasn't long before my faith was restored. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a purple speck that turned out to be one of my favourite wildflowers, the Fringed Lily. These delicate little flowers are one of the few that flower into the summer months so I was lucky to catch them at the end of their flowering season. I found a few more as I continued on that warmed my hiking heart including one that had an ant crawling all over it. It wasn't long before I found some more rubbish dumping spots including one that was clearly an electrician dumping old coils, wiring and other things. Not letting this ruin my hike I soldiered on and into a lovely grove of She-Oaks that looked like something out of an old spooky forest with their twisted and gnarled branches waving around everywhere.