Monday, 1 July 2013

Winter has arrived ... June walks

Winter arrived with some much needed rain. We had just over 25mm to open the winter account. Unfortunately it made walking on that first Saturday a tad miserable.

Saturday 1 June

Hoping to get a number of ascents of Mt Taylor in with a lunch break in the middle seemed like a good idea. The weather was pretty ordinary with light drizzle. I suited up in my wet weather gear, including my hiking boots, and headed for Mt Taylor. It was a good chance to check the wet weather gear and the boots as well as learning how to keep things dry in the backpack. The top of the mountain was shrouded in cloud as were all the surrounding hills.

I started with what Trevor and I refer to as my track. Entering the Nature Park I follow a track across some meadows until it intersects with the Western Powerlines Fire Trail (FT). There is a steepish climb heading north along the fire trail before cutting across a meadow from the top of the rise. From here the track up to the trig point which marks the top of Mt Taylor variously meanders and climbs. In parts it is steep, in other spots it wanders over meadows or through thickets. It is definitely a rough track and care is needed to avoid tripping over rocks that jut out of the ground or slipping on loose material. Maintaining balance is a bit of an art, too. This certainly helps to strengthen the legs! The rain ensured that the surface was slippery in spots, particularly some of the rock which normally provide a firm footing. I managed the climb without mishap.

Next came a down ... and that was not just the rain although it was increasing in strength. Down the mountain I went on the most formal of all the tracks in the park - the one leading down to the Mannheim Street gate. I did pass a small number of hardy souls who were coming up the track, most accompanied by wet dogs. The views from the track were limited by the rain. A pity as I love looking out across the valley to the ranges. No such luck with the rain coming down.

Once down at the gate I turned around and trudged back up the same track. The weather was definitely giving my wet weather gear a workout and it performed well. The only issue was that my overpants were voluminous. I think a smaller pair is in order.

Up at the top, after my second ascent, I phoned Trevor and suggested that we meet at the Chifley shops for lunch. I arrived looking like a dripping scarecrow. The overpants came off as well as the coat and got dumped in Trevor's car.

Having divested myself of my protection I really didn't feel like suiting up again after lunch so called it quits for the day.

Sunday 2 June

The rained eased overnight and the day was fine. The wind was a bit lazy and rather cool but it didn't cause any real issues. I figure that I should complete what I had started on the previous day so headed off to Mt Taylor. I started with a walk along the southern side of the mountain until I reached Mrs Lowes Fire Trail. This is the trail that connects the Mannheim Street gate to the path up to the summit. So, up to the summit and back down. Continuing in an anti clockwise direction I reached the Chifley track which I had come down yesterday. This path to the summit is stepped and is probably the easiest of the ascents. In the most part its climbs are relatively gentle with only a couple of more challenging sections.

From the summit I headed down my track turning north along the Western Powerlines FT until I picked up the Old Kambah FT which I followed to the Colquhoun Street gate leading out of the park. From the gate it is a mere 2km home along formed paths.

Monday 3 June

For June I had set myself a number of targets. Firstly, I needed to get sufficient climbing under my belt so that I can be confident that I can comfortably tackle the climbs on the Coast to Coast. Equally, I need to keep up my distance walking for teh same reason.

Today I concentrated on distance rather than climbs. After visiting the gym, my shoulder and arms have been complaining about the amount of time I have spent bashing away on the computer so I need to work with them to both strengthen them as well stretch tight muscles, I walked home along the eastern side of Lake Tugg.

In the late afternoon I did a quick circuit of Mt Taylor, well walking 10+kms is never "quick" but I did do it in good time.

Then for good measure I did my 4km Marconi Crescent walk which brough me a grand total of 21km for the day.

Tuesday 4 June

On Thursday Trevor and I will be heading up to Queensland which will put a bit of a halt to some of my activities for a few days. Normally I wouldn't do Mt Taylor climbs on a Tuesday as having tired legs on Wednesday mornings when I front up to my PT session is not a great idea. Still, it was Tuesday or not at all.

I set out just after 11 o'clock once I had cleared up a number of swimming things.

Entering the Nature Park through the Colquhoun Street gate I walked along the southern side until I reached Mrs Lowes FT then did the ascent to the summit and back down. Once again I continued in an anti clockwise direction until I reached the Chifley path which I went up and then down. The plan was to meet Trevor and Woden for lunch and I was going to ring him as I passed the Chifley shops.Leaving the nature reserve the track goes through a reserve and finally comes out on Macfarland Crescent which I followed down hill towards Chifley shops and the Woden Town Centre.

Partway down the street was was surprised to hear a weak voice cry out "Help! Please help me!" and I turned around and found an elderly woman sitting in her garden with a pair of crutches beside her. It turned out that she had got sick of being inside and had decided to do a bit of gardening. She lost her balance and fell. Fortunately there was no damage, she was just rather shaken, however she was unable to get up. I got her to her feet, rescued the crutches, pick up the secateurs that she had dropped and made sure that she made it safely inside her house before continuing on my way.

In the end Trevor rang me to check where I was as he had expected to hear from me and I had not called him.

After eating lunch and doing some shopping I headed back to Mt Taylor and did two further ascents before heading home.

My final descent was down towards a rocky knoll that sits above the rocky path that leads out to the reserve running between the park and Macfarland Crescent. The track was a little vague when I had picked my way up it after lunch but not nearly as difficult as it turned out to be when trying to pick it out on the way down. At one point I found myself traversing a meadow, which had a 45 degree slope, occupied by a large group of kangaroos. The roos were variously just curious and watched me pass or took flight. Walking across the slopes was a hard way to finish the day and I was pleased to finally come across a track that took me down to the rocky knoll.

I'm not sure how I can explain this but according to my tracker I had gone up 846m and come down 893m. Considering I started and finished at the same point I find this interesting. Trevor and I have noticed that there are gaps in the tracking particularly on climbs. Gaps are not nearly as obvious when descending. Somewhere I had managed to lose at least 47m of climbing.

I clocked up almost 26km for the day and over 900m elevation gain. How does this look when viewed against the C2C stuff? there is only one day with a great elevation gain. Unfortunately, it is also one of the two days with 32kms to cover. Actually, I'm now pretty confident that I can manage whatever is thrown up on the C2C.

Perhaps I should wait until the morning to see how I feel after a nights sleep!

Wednesday 5 June

I felt pretty good when I got up. 

I made good time on my walk down to the gym which is usually a good indicator of how I am feeling. Even the return walk after my PT, always slower than the out bound leg, was pretty good.I have to conclude that the body has stood up fairly well to the excesses of the previous day.

Thursday to Saturday (6-8 June)

On Thursday morning we flew up to Brisbane and then drove to Toowoomba to visit Trevor's 95 year old mother. We were staying with Trevor's sister, Lynne, and her husband Barry for the three nights we were there.

We managed to get in a number of longish walks around Toowoomba except that I managed to sleep in on Saturday morning and missed my opportunity to walk for the day.

Sunday 9 June

We arrived back in Canberra just after midday.

After picking up the Swimming ACT equipment from CISAC I returned home and headed off for a circuit of Mt Taylor. I would have done some climbs but the light was failing and I didn't want to risk it.

Monday 10 June

Today was the Queen's Birthday holiday. Yesterday we (Trevor, Michael and I) had discussed doing the walk out to the Pearce Trig in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Michael had declined as he had a cold. Trevor didn't feel all that crash hot when he got up so we abandoned thoughts of doing the walk.

The day was a bit miserable early. It was chilly and overcast. By early afternoon the sun was out so I headed off to Mt Taylor.

On the walk to the entrance to the park I figured that I could possibly fit in four ascents and planned the order. To begin with I thought I would do an almost vertical climb up the southern side. There are a number of tracks that go up and most eventually intersect with the Mannheim path at some point. Most of these paths are rough and some are most probably kangaroo runs rather than regular human ones. I managed to pick one of the kangaroo runs as most of my ascent was spent picking a possible trail, stepping over fallen trees and fighting my way through black thorn bushes. I did eventually come across a more distinct track as I was nearing the top and this made the final bit of the ascent a whole lot easier. The climb from the Sulwood Fire Trail to the top is 156m. It took me 20 minutes which was good going considering the terrain that I was climbing through and the challenges posed by the lack of a formal trail for most of the climb.

To put this in perspective, the height gain from home to teh summit of Mt Taylor is 236m.

My first descent was straightforward. I managed to find a trail down that was fairly well used and easy to follow. It was still challenging as it was rough. The surface had loose sandy material along with loose stones and rocks so it did require reasonable attention to foot placement to prevent slips.

Once down to the Sulwood fire trail I headed east to pick up the Mannheim path and do my second ascent up that well used formal trail. I encountered a lot of people, and dogs, using this path. Climbing Mt Taylor was obviously a good Queen's Birthday holiday activity.

Once at the top I headed down "my track" - the one on the western side that goes down to the Western Powerlines fire trail. Trevor had thought that the condition of this track had deteriorated over the past year but I'm not convinced. It seems pretty much the same as when I first used it. It is rough and rocky with loose, sandy soil in places. I still enjoy using this track as the terrain changes so much over the course of the walk. When I reach the Western Powerlines fire trail I turned north and walked along it until I reached the Old Kambah fire trail. This adds a little to the return climb.

On returning to the summit along my track I had now completed three climbs. Times for a break. I headed down the the formal path that intersects the ring path above the Torrens exit. I continued along the ring path and exited the park at the reserve that connects the Mt Taylor nature park to Macfarlane Crescent. From there it was all downhill to the Chifley shops.

There is quite an extensive play and BBQ area at these shops and today there were heaps of people taking advantage of the facilities and the pleasant afternoon. The supermarket was doing good business with their takeaway coffees and other goodies. When I ordered my coffee I realised that I had not had lunch and it was getting rather late so I indulged in a piece of cake which seemed to be one of the few things left in their display cabinet. I guess that I could have got some fruit but the cake did have apple and pear!

Suitably refreshed I headed off towards Mt Taylor and my fourth and final ascent of the day. From the Chifley shops to the summit is a height gain of 230m. On reaching the summit I headed down the Mannheim path. The day was quickly drawing to a close and the light was fading fast by the time I reached the park sign at the bottom of the path. I didn't have a torch with me as the batteries in my torch had gone flat and it had decided not to work when I replaced them. With no torch it would have been dangerous to walk the paths within the park so I headed out and down Mannheim Street, along Summerland Circuit and finally down Marconi Crescent and home.

All up I had walked at least 20.13km. I say "at least" as my tracking program misses bits when you are climbing mountains and you end up being credited with a straight line distance between points when in actual fact you may have covered two, three or even four times that distance as you track up the mountainside.

The recorded height gain for the day was 804m which is a bit of a worry as the loss was 837m and I started and finished at the same point. So, all up I had to have gained at least 837m. Either that or I am suddenly 33m underground.

Today I wore a top that I had purchased a while ago at Katmandu. It kept the wind out and me warm. It is light and comfortable to wear so has to be deemed a success and will go with me to England.

Tuesday 11 June

I actually pulled up pretty well after yesterdays effort.

Today Trevor and I lunched at Woden before going to Katmandu and picking up a couple of thermal tops each and another pair of hiking pants for me. The only additional clothes I need are some more hiking socks. A couple of extra pairs won't go astray.

I walked home via Mt Taylor which included an ascent and a circuit and a bit. It was a pleasant day and I was entertained by the kangaroos which kept on popping up in odd spots.

Before retiring for the night I did the Marconi Crescent walk.

All up I walked just over 16km with an elevation gain of 410m.

Wednesday 12 June

PT day ... so it was off to the gym. It was quite cool and overcast and I was rugged up for the walk. I averaged 6.55kph on the way down so was pretty pleased with the time.

By the time I finished at the gym it was raining and not just light rain either. I did have my rain jacket but the bottom part of me was soaked by the time I got home. Still, I had made good time on the return trip averaging over 6kph which is very good considering the session I had had at the gym.

In the afternoon I decided to check out my wet weather gear as there was a lot of water lying around and it was still raining off and on. I hadn't tried the new overpants and I really wanted to check them out so out I went in boots and rain gear. I decided that a circuit of Mt Taylor was be a good test of the boots in wet and muddy conditions and they certainly passed the test. I did make some adjustments to the overpants so that they provided some protection to the top of my socks.

Today the kangaroos appeared to have decided that the rain would keep the pesty humans and their companions away as I came across roos in places that they are rarely seen. Some were not at all concerned about me while others were wary and hopped off to put some distance, and some of their mates, between me and them.

All up I had walked 22.44km with an elevation gain of 280m and my wet gear from the morning is still drying out!

Thursday 13 June

The rain had eased up overnight although there was still the odd bit of drizzle. It was chilly with the temperature hovering down around 10 degrees.

After I got home from my session at the Family History Centre I got stuck into some swimming stuff that needed to be completed before the end of the week. As a consequence I didn't go out for a walk until after 4 o'clock and the heavy cloud meant that it was already gloomy. Circuits and climbs of Mt Taylor were out of the question so plan B it was. This involved a long circuit through Kambah which I managed to stretch out to 11km with a modest elevation gain of 175m.

I had considered going out later in the evening, too, but decided against it as I was fairly stiff from the excesses of yesterday.

Friday 14 June

Some days just don't go according to plan.

When I woke up this morning it looked like a nice day. The sun was shining ... well it was on the west ... so I was surprised when I got to the kitchen and it looked like rain to the east.

Today I had a heap of swimming stuff to tackle. Meet 2 in the 2013 Winter Development Series is being held on Sunday and the program needed to be prepared and printed. The flyer for Meet 3 needed to be prepared, too, as well as the table of break times being used this winter. I actually had a pretty good run and was ready to drop the program in to Officeworks by 1 o'clock. A quick lunch at Brother's Oven was followed by a pleasant walk home.

I needed to go over to Sports House to pick up shirts that people had been told would be available on Sunday. A pity that I had not been informed about this undertaking before I left the Family History Centre as it would have saved a drive over to Hackett today. On the return trip I picked up the printing.

About 4:30 I headed out for a walk with some climbing included and went up the Colquhoun tract to the top of Mt Taylor. The heavy cloud meant that the light was quickly lost once the sun went down and I needed my torch to safely negotiate the path down the mountain, this time using the Mannheim track, and along the southern side of the park. I arrived home shortly after 6pm and jumped in the shower and quickly dressed as we were attending the CRUIZ swimming club's presentation night.

Distance walked today: 14.63km with an elevation gain of 324m.

Saturday 15 June

Much of the day was taken up with swimming stuff.

At a little after 2 I set off for a walk. The weather was overcast with just the occasional patch of sun. The wind had a bite to it. Event the kangaroos where sheltering from the cold today. I did two ascents of Mt Taylor, the first up and down my track then I walked around to the Chifley/Torrens track and climbed it and went down my track and home. All up this was just under 12kms with an elevation gain of 461m.

While dinner was cooking I did the Marconi Cresecent walk bring my distance for the day to 16km.

Sunday 16 June

Today I had a development meet and I needed to get the results sent out to the participating clubs as soon as (in)humanly possible as entries for the ACT Winter Championships are closing on the 17th. Consequently, no specific walking was done today. I did clock up a little over 8Ks of steps ... but none of this was logged walks.

Monday 17 June

The early part of the day was devoted to swimming stuff. I did a run over to the office to drop off money and various other bits and pieces as well as collect stuff.

When I eventually got home and cleared the critical emails (those relating to the Champs) I did a walk to Tuggeranong, did a session in the gym to ensure that my shoulders and arms don't seize up over the coming days, and then walked home.

It was good to get out and away from the computer!

Tuesday 18 June

This morning I was out of milk which was a good reason to go for a short walk. The weather was miserable with dark, threatening clouds which didn't do much more than sprinkle from time to time across the day.

Once I completed the program I delivered it to the printer and Trevor and I went to the National Library for lunch.

Once home Trevor set off for a walk while I dealt with some emails before also going for a walk. I started off with my rain jacket on but found it too warm. Off it came. Then the rain started and on it went only to come off again once it stopped. I'm still work out what items of clothing will work best in what conditions. I am certainly expecting some wet days during our Coast to Coast walk hence the effort being put in to determining the best combination of clothing when there is rain.

All up I did 17km today with an elevation gain of 430m.

Wednesday 19 June 

It was a chilly morning as I set off to the gym. I made really good time on the walk. Sue, as usual, had a range of challenging exercises for me. I did make good time on the way home, too.

We lunched over at Cooleman Court which gave me a chance to get in another 6km walk before Astrid arrived for her afternoon with Grandma and Grandpa. She arrived just before I got home.

Most days when Astrid visits we do a walk to the Village and have a coffee while Astrid has a babychino.Today was no different although the cool weather meant that we did not go to any of the playgrounds on the way home.

Today I managed to do 21.84km with 270m elevation gain.

Thursday 20 June

Thursdays reamin a challenging day as far as fitting in walks go. All I managed today was one Marconi Crescent walk.

Friday 21 June

Astrid came over this morning while Nic was doing birthday party preparations for someone's second birthday. I wonder who is turning 2? After Astrid and I had made another batch of Honey Joys I took her down to Adventure Playground which is 2km from home. It was a rushed trip as I had a hair appointment at 11:30 and had forgotten to take account of the time when we left home. Oops.

Just after 4 o'clock I headed out to do a circuit of Mt Taylor. It was rather cold and I had some sore muscles from pushing the stroller to the Adventure Playground and home earlier in the day so it was not a quick circuit. The kangaroos were scattered all around the base of the mountain and I kept coming across them in the oddest of spots.

I managed to get in just over 14km with an elevation gain of 204m for the day.

Saturday 22 June

Today was Astrid's 2nd birthday and also the first day of the ACT Winter Championships.  I slept badly probably because I was worried about the champs as I was only going out until they got going and it was a little understaffed. Added to the lack of sleep was a glute that was giving me periodic shots of severe pain. I suspect my fast walk home from the Adventure Playground pushing the stroller may have caused this injury. It certainly troubled me all day.

I went for the slowest 2km walk I have done in a very long time. I kept hoping the pain would not return but it did so the walk was one which attempted to ease the problem.

Hopefully it will be much improved tomorrow.

Sunday 23 June

By the time I got home from the pool following the ACT Winter Championships and did the initial processing of the results for distribution the afternoon was quickly drawing to a close. I opted to do a very tame walk through the core of Kambah as far as the Athlon Drive underpass and back. I wasn't sure how my glute was going to hold up and it certainly took its time warming up. The first couple of ks were exceedingly slow.

Monday 24 June

We had been promised rain over the weekend and it finally started this morning. The temperature remained low and the rain continued steadily for much of the day.

This morning I walked down to the Village as I needed milk. The traffic was quiet and not many people were out and about.

At lunch time Trevor and I want down to Brother's Oven. I walked home in the increasingly colder and colder rain. Once again the first k was very slow but my pace steadily increased the longer the walk went.

If you have been following my walk blog you should have seen the Mt Taylor Circuit post that I put up today. I have some more photos that can be added sometime when I get the urge.

Tuesday 25 June

The rain cleared overnight and the day was fine if a little cool.

In the late morning I set out to do a circuit around Mt Taylor. I wore my hiking boots today as I expected the surface to be muddy in places. It was particularly in the areas that were graded last week.

I was surprised by my first kangaroo of the day. A half ground, charcoal coated youngster took off up the slope near the rock run. A little while later I was surprised by another roo as he bounded across the track in front of me and continued up the slope on the side of the mountain. I don't know what he was worried about as I didn't know there was a roo nearby until he took off. The rest of the roos I saw on my walk didn't seem at all concerned about my passage and simply ignored me.

I went over the the Swimming ACT office this afternoon and on my return I headed out for a gentle meander around Kambah. It is a pity that most of the lights on the internal paths seem to be out. It makes it hard picking your way along some of the paths. I know - I should have taken the headlight or at least a torch.

All up I managed to clock up 18.62km today with an elevation gain of 243m.

Wednesday 26 June

Wednesday is my PT day and I mostly walk to and from the gym. Today was no exception. The glute was still a bit troublesome so I allowed extra time this morning for the walk to the gym. I made reasonable time all things considered.

At lunch time we dropped the Swimming ACT equipment in to the storage room and I walked home from there via the Village as I needed some supplies for my cooking session with Astrid.

The weather was fine and warm so we took Astrid down to the Village for a babychinno and returned via the underpasses and the Barritt Street playground.

Distance today: 17.48km with an elevation gain of 126m.

Thursday 27 June

Thursday are a bit of a mixed bag as far as walks go. After I finished up at the Family History Centre I banked money for Swimming ACT and then went in to the office to check emails and mail.It was 4:30 before I set out for a walk. Given that the glutes were still a little problematic I opted for a circuit of Lake Tuggeranong. It was well and truly dark by the time I got home made darker by the lack of lights along a 2km stretch of the path.

Total distance: 13.31km with an elevation gain of 62m

Friday 28 June

The day started with breakfast at the Hyatt with Di. It was a pleasant setting and an unhurried start to the day. I was meeting a friend for lunch over at the Street Theatre cafe which gave me time to do a longish walk. Starting at the Hyatt I did the walk around the western end of Lake Burley Griffin, stopping for lunch and then continuing on to the Hyatt to collect my car.

I completed the pre-lunch section, 14.36km in an average speed of 6.57km/h which equated to 9:08 minutes per km - definitely motoring!

In the late afternoon I walked home from Cooleman Court. That was a fairly fast walk, too, as I was racing fading light. Heavy cloud meant that there was very little twilight.

Total distance: 22.89km with an elevation gain of 380m.

Saturday 29 June

Today has been a gray day with light drizzle at times. It didn't stop me doing a circuit of Mt Taylor. I did don the hiking boots rather than wear my runners and I was thankful that I did as it was muddy in places.

Distance today: 13.06km with an elevation gain of 190m

Sunday 30 June

By the time I got out of bed this morning it was bright and clear with the day promising glorious sunshine. I was not disappointed.

Yesterday, an expedition had traveled to Sydney to acquire a bed for Astrid. She is to be promoted from cot to bed! One side is down on the cot in preparation for the this major step. With the sun shining, and knowledge that Astrid had instructed "Daddy, make Astrid's bed", hopefully with a "please", Trevor and I ventured forth to Duffy to inspect that bed. None of the humans were at home but we did see the bed. It looked rather short. Child sized, perhaps. We will await Astrid's assessment.

I decided to take advantage of the lovely day and did an extended walk around Narrabundah Hill and Cooleman Ridge. Beginning at the northern edge of Narrabundah Hill I walk down the lane that runs along the edge of the reserve. The cacophony of sound eminating from the birds along the track kept me alert to the many birds in the area. There was a surprising number of kookaburras and a pair of these interesting bird accompanied me for quite some time moving from tree to tree just ahead of me. Eventually the bird life fell behind me and I was left to enjoy a tranquil walk in glorious sunshine with a clear blue sky and just a few small, fluffy clouds hugging the horizon.

I arrived at the southern end of Eucumbene Drive about 4km into the walk. I had intended to walk along the southern side of Cooleman Ridge and decided to go along the road that goes into the Canberra Equestrian Centre as a way of picking up the back trail. Although I had passed the centre entrance many times I had not been into that area before and was surprised by just how far it extended. Most of the way through the ECC I was able to walk along tracks next to the road so I didn't need to worry about vehicles speeding along the narrow road. I eventually ran out of roads and cut up through a paddock towards the ridge. Getting through the fences required a bit of care as they all appear to be electrified to keep the horses in.

The paddock I passed through hosted a mob of large kangaroos along with a few horses. The roos didn't appreciate my presence and departed the area.

Reaching the ridge I came across trail signs and was initially stumped by Cooleman Ridge BNT. What on earth did BNT stand for? I eventually worked out that it was Bicentennial National Track or Trail.

I did a bit of zigzagging across Cooleman Ridge before I picked up a newly created tracked through the reserve. The surface was a bit soft as it has not had time to settle and the rain of the past week had been absorbed into the loose surface. It certainly wasn't the only point on my walk that was muddy or mushy.

 When I sighted the trig point I decided that it was worth climbing up to it to have a look at the surrounding area and did. It was not much of a climb as the trig point only sits at 727m.

The backside of Cooleman Ridge provided some lovely views across to the ranges and was a pleasant walk. When I reached Mt Arawang I cut across to the Stanhope Highway and down to Cooleman Court where I met Trevor for lunch.

All up the mornings walk was 14.49km with an elevation gain of 290m.

Just before 4 o'clock I headed out to do a circuit of Mt Taylor with an extension. The late afternoon was very pleasant and generally warm in the sun. All up I did 13kms with a 201m gain.

Statistics for the week:
Distance: 121.18km an average of 17.3km per day
Elevation gain: 1557m

June statistics
I walked 414.36km during the month. No wonder my shoes are wearing out so quickly as most are rated as good for 600km! The daily average was 13.8km.

Elevation gain: 7580m

Calories burnt: 17,876

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