Thursday, 2 August 2012

Challenging Trevor

Ignore the posting date above as it is actually Thursday.

On Tuesday Trevor suggested a walk and I thought it time to do the walk to Cooleman Court along the Stanhope Highway. The Stanhope Highway, you ask? Well, there is quite an impressive road that runs around the base of Mt Arawang starting at the Namatjira Drive access point and on to Cooleman Ridge. Some local character has remained the cut off drain fire track "The Stanhope Highway" after our dear former Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope. It is quite an impressive bit of road and has lovely views across the eastern part of the greater Canberra area.

Walking from home to get up on to the Mt Arawang track is a bit of a climb and I think that Trevor found this the most challenging part of the walk. Once on to the track the slopes are gentle except for a final steepish rise just before leaving the track. From the track it is all down hill and a pleasant stroll finishing up passing through a glade just before reaching Hindmarsh Drive and the underpass that takes you through to Cooleman Court.

After lunching and a toilet stop it was homeward bound. Trevor had suggested that it would be fine for me to go ahead at my own pace. He could just follow the pink arrows that had been thoughtfully marked along the route. I'm glad that I didn't agree with this suggestion as he would have taken the wrong path before he had even left the Cooleman Court precinct.

The return walk is a steady uphill stroll, very gentle, until you pass under Perry Drive and then you have a reasonable climb to get on to the Stanhope Highway. Part of the path is stepped with about ten or so sets of steps varying in number from 6 to 9 in the group. After the steps comes some roughish tracks and finally you come over a ridge with great views taking in the ranges to the west. In many ways the views are better on the homeward trip as the vistas change before you as you walk in an easterly direction.

Kangaroo spotting has become quite a game. On Monday I was convinced that there was a kangaroo convention on Mt Arawang. I had never seen so many roos on the mountain before and they were spread over a wide area, too. On this walk we only managed to spot four roos. At least we saw some.

All up this walk was almost 14km. I think this is longer than we will be doing on any of the days in the Flinders Ranges. The only difference is that there will be additional elevation gains on at least one of the days: the day we climb St Mary Peak.

On Wednesday (yesterday) I walked to the gym for my PT session and then home again. This is just on 12km for the trip. It is fairly flat and certainly not that challenging and it is a walk that I do a couple of times a week.

After he had had lunch Trevor set out to climb Mt Taylor. He drove to the Manheim Street entrance to the reserve. After he left I figured that I, too, would tackle Mt Taylor and headed off on foot. These days I walk to the base rather than drive. It provides a heap of options and I'm not restricted as to where I have to exit as I don't need to return to the abandoned vehicle.  Once inside the reserve, entering via the gate just off Colquhoun Street, I called Trevor to see where he was. Aren't mobile phones useful? He was on the top of the mountain. I figured that I could make the top in around 20 minutes and he agreed to wait for me. Yes, I did do the climb in just on the indicated time. I really belted over the meadows and up the slopes, always mindful of the terrain and the need to watch my footing, particularly as my left ankle was still a little tender. I was so intent on the trail that I almost bumped into my first kangaroo of the day!

From the top we walked down the stepped path that comes out to the north east at the back of Chifley/Torrens. When we got down to the base track we parted. Trevor went south to rescue his car while I went north towads Chifley and on to Woden. I actually beat Trevor to the Plaza ... who said it wasn't a race!

After I had lunch and Trevor a cup of coffee it was back home - Trevor by car and I on foot.

I really love walking through the Mt Taylor Nature Reserve. Coming around the base and then along the Old Kambah Fire Trail is always pleasant and you never know when you will see kangaroos. On this traverse I came across kangaroos occupying the track that I was walking on and they seemed quite unconcerned about my presence. They did eventually move off the track but just off it and then watched me pass.

By the time I threw in an evening walk I had done over 40,000 steps for the day. It had been a big walking day.

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