Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The lazy half of July

Having put in such a tremendous effort during the first half of the month I felt that it was best to keep up a reasonable level of activity ahead of the Coast to Coast walk.

Saturday July 13 saw me helping #1 son with pruning of his many fruit trees. Having had a sluggish start to the day the afternoon was strenuous and involved a lot of stretching upwards as well as twisting. Needless to say I felt pretty stiff on Sunday morning.

After I got home from the pruning I did a slowish walk through our suburb. It is easy to find walks of around 10km on paths with reasonable light and I took advantage of this.

On Sunday afternoon (July 14) I walked down to the gym, did a session to help relieve the stiff bits and walked home via the Village. All up I did a little over 14km. Not bad for an easy day. The right glute is still a bit of a pain from time to time. I'll have to be careful to stretch the glutes at the end of each days walking to prevent it from becoming a real problem. On the last few days it has taken me the best part of 3km to warm up. I need to do better than that so will need to work on management strategies and try them out over the coming weeks and there are only six weeks to go before we leave.

The drizzle of Sunday returned overnight and Monday was a grey, damp day although it never really rained. I booted up and put on my rain jacket, but not rain pants, and did a leisurely 7km walk. At least today there were no body bits that talked to me.

The rest of the week continued to be damp and I spent most of the week wearing my boots. There were puddles across paths and muddy spots, too, so the boots were a better option than runners.

All the birds are making mating moves. The fairy wrens are colouring up and the scrubwrens have been very active. It won't be long before the magpies start on their annual swooping campaign as they protect their nests and their offspring.

The forecast for the weekend was for miserable weather. This goes along with the rest of the week. However, by the middle of the day on Saturday (20th) the rain had cleared and the sun had come out and the few clouds were white and fluffy. After lunch I decided to take advantage of the improved weather and headed off to Lanyon Marketplace, a 6km walk from the Tuggeranong Town Centre, my starting point. I made good time and arrived at my intended destination just before the heavens opened up and a heavy shower hit. It was a good time to take a break and grab a drink. Once the rain cleared I headed back to the town centre. There was an occasional shower however the wind proved to be more of a problem as it was gusty into my face and bitterly cold. A stop at the Tuggeranong Hyperdome allowed me refuel and put my jumper back on under my jacket before walking the final 6km home. All up it was an 18.74km walk with a modest 126m elevation gain.  

The forecast for Sunday (August 21) was for snow down to 700m. Fortunately the day was not as miserable as the weather forecasters had predicted. The wind had a sharp edge to it but otherwise it was not too bad as long as you were rugged up. After lunching at Mawson I headed for Mt Taylor, a climb up and down the Richmond Fellowship Track, and then home. Nearing the top of the track I came across a number of small birds, some that I had not come across before. I did have my newly acquired camera with me, with its 10x zoom (I probably needed 100x zoom to get photos of these flighty little creatures) however the birds were not co-operative and I didn't manage to get any shots of them. I did take some photos of the ferns and mosses and lichens that are prevalent on Mt Taylor.

As for the bird life ... well that needed to wait for another day.

Monday July 22 was another miserable day. At times the sun shone but the wind remain blustery and fridged. Still, rugged up against the cold wind the day could be viewed as pleasant.

Starting out from Woden I headed towards Mt Taylor past the Chifley shops. I walked clockwise around the mountain until I reached the Richmond Fellowship Track and climbed up towards the summit at a fairly slow pace as I was on the lookout for birds, particularly elusive, small ones.

On the way up the track I came across a couple of tiny wattles that were already in full bloom.

On this eastern part of the mountain Weeping She Oaks are prevalent.

Here is an example of one of the more mature She Oaks that can be found on Mt Taylor.

Here is a younger She Oak, buffeted by the wind, with Woden Valley in the background.
She Oaks can be recognised by their leaf form and their cones (see next photo for more detail of the cones)

As for the birds that I had seen in the She Oaks ... they proved to be difficult to capture. Perhaps next time I will have more success.

Trevor and I continued to keep an eye out for the small birds however they proved to be elusive. Large birds were certainly in evidence but not the little ones that we were trying to identify.

With only a month to go before we leave on our walk we have both continued to get in as much walking as we can with elevation gains thrown in. 

During July Trevor and I have done some bird spotting. Ignoring the bigger birds, the magpies, carrawongs, crows and various parrots, it has been the little birds that we have set out to identify. The little devils keep popping up and just asking to be considered. Easier said than done. We have both been out with camera at the ready in the hope of getting a photo or two of these smaller feathered offerings. As the small birds tend to flit around much more than the larger birds this was challenging. In the end we have identified various wrens, fairy wrens, scrubwrens, robins and weebills. These small birds have turned up in a variety of places, including our street!

On Sunday 28th I refereed a swim meet. That effectively cut out any walks for the day. The 14.7km I walked on Monday went a little way towards redressing the lack of walking pm Sunday.

After such an impressive start to the month I did continue to put in a number of reasonable days walking. In the end my stats for July look pretty good.

Distance: 500.51km
Caolories: 21,807
Elevation gained: 8951m

Yep, not bad.

I hope that this has put me in good stead for the Coast to Coast walk which only a month away.

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