Wednesday, 21 August 2013

August ... countdown

With only weeks to go until we commence the Coast to Coast walk it is not the time to break oneself. So imagine how annoyed I was to slip on some stones, which were on a footpath, and end up flat on a road with skin off my right knee. Having walked over rough terrain in all sorts of light conditions and not had a mishap I was not happy. Fortunately, the damage was not too bad.

During the past couple of months Trevor and I have been trying to identify the many small birds that we come across on our walks. We have a variety of wrens (wrens, fairy wrens and scrub wrens), robins, thornbills and weebills. There are other birds that are still proving challenging. The small birds, with the exception of the robins,  tend to flit about and never provide sufficient opportunity to get close so it is rather hit and miss in seeing features that would provide clues to their true identity. It certainly makes our walks more interesting as we keep an eye out for these little feathered folk.

On Sunday August 3 I tackled a longish walk. Starting in Duffy I tracked through horse paddocks, negotiating electrified fences designed to keep horses in, and finally picked up the Cooleman Ridge circuit which also doubles as the Bicentennial National Trail, or BNT for short. The BNT is one of the worlds longest marked multi-use trails stretching some 5,330km from Cooktown in Queensland, through New South Wales and the ACT to Healesville in Victoria. It runs the length of the rugged Great Dividing Range through national parks, private property and alongside wilderness areas. The BNT follows old coach roads, stock routes, brumby tracks, rivers and fire trails. It was originally intended for horses, but is these days promoted also for cycling and walking. So I only walked a very small part of it. One day I might tackle a longer section. No, I don't intend to ever walk the full trail! The trail is not well marked and I managed to lose it a couple of times. I kicked myself for not having taken all the maps I needed to follow the trail. I finally diverted from the trail and headed along the Urambi Hills ridge. This was challenging as the wind was gusty and strong and I was almost blown off the ridge top. Now, that would have been difficult to explain!

The Murrumbidgee valley looking south from the Urambi Hills trig point

Looking north along the Murrumbidgee valley from the Urambi Hills trig point with the ranges in the background
Monday (August 5) was a bit of a miserable day. The wind had a chill to it and by late afternoon it started to drizzle. Still, it did not keep either of us indoors and we both managed a good number of kms for the day. Regardless of the weather conditions we encounter in England we will still have to complete the days stage so getting used to walking in whatever conditions are thrown up is good practice.

The weather for the remaining part of the week was expected to be pretty awful and Tuesday did not disappoint. The temperature got to 10 and then dropped. The wind was frigid and the rain, while not heavy, was chilly. I only walked 6km for the day. Pathetic.

On Wednesday (6th) I managed to do almost 20kms of walking. Rain threatened throughout the day but held off. Not surprising, given the weather conditions, none of the small birds were out.Sensible creatures!

Thursday saw me do a circuit of Mt Taylor in the late afternoon. The mountain was relatively quiet indicative of the fairly unpleasant weather conditions. Still, it was not raining ... just cold with a freezing wind.

Saturday turned out to be a glorious day after the rather ordinary weather that we had during the week. Although complete madness as I had a schedule that was almost impossible to achieve I decided to do a circuit around Mt Taylor in the middle of the day. It was very pleasant and relaxing and great to be out with the sun shining and the sky a brilliant blue.

After my circuit of Mt Taylor the rest of Saturday was frantic. Trevor and I had an enjoyable interlude at a baby shower for Danielle and Joel Anderson who are expecting their first baby next month. It was lovely to finally meet Danielle's parent and sister having heard so much about them over the years. After the baby shower was a frantic shopping expedition for supplies for the D Squad day camp being held on the 11th. My first stop was Fyshwick Markets where I stocked up on fruit and veg. I didn't have much time before the stalls closed so it really was a bit hit and miss. Next came a huge shop at Costo. The only times I have been there are for swimming catering. Finding things isn't always straightforward and I tended to waste qhite a bit of time looking for things that I never found. Still, I did manage to get most of the remaining items on my long shopping list. A trip to Woolies finished off the acquisitions. By then my card was so full of stuff for the D Squad day that I really could not for in anything else. This meant that I returned home rather later than expected with nothing organised for dinner.

I continued with preparations for the D Squad day late into the night and finally dropped into bed about 1:30am. I was obviously anxious as I kept on waking up and when the alarm went off at 5am I had finally dropped into a deep sleep.

I'm not sure why I do large scale catering. I'm sure that there are easier ways to spend a weekend. After a got up I spent just on an hour grating carrots, slicing tomatoes and other salad items and preparing to make 120+ lunch rolls of various types. Firstly I did the ham and salad rolls. This was followed by the chicken ones and finally it was cheese and salad. By the time I packed the last of the items into the car I looked like I was moving house and intending to live in my car for the next few months!

The day involved a lot of walking but nothing that I included in my Runtastic stats. I managed to rack up over 30,000 steps for the day just running around like a chook without its head!

Monday August 12th started off as a really miserable day. With heavy cloud, drizzle and a freezing wind, which meant that the morning felt particularly chilling, it did not bode well for a good walking day. Trevor and I were attending a funeral out at Cootamundra in the afternoon so allowing for the drive out and back, a little over 2 hours each way, left little choice but to fit a walk in during the morning. I headed out to do a circuit around Mt Taylor. I only came across one other person in the reserve. The kangaroos were in evidence and appeared to be looking at me as if I was very strange indeed. Parts of the track were very sloppy particularly the areas with a high clay component. I certainly needed to keep a close eye on the track in order to avoid potential disasters. I did manage to do 10kms by the time I got home, did a quick change and jumped in the car for the trip to Coota.

Tuesday 13th was a glorious sunny day. What a pity that the wind was freezing cold. Trevor and I lunched at Woden. A visit to Kathmandu to get a pair for by sole walking pole was unsuccessful as they had no poles in stock however they did determine that there was one, actually a match for my existing pole, at their Belconnen store. After walking home from Woden I drove over to Belconnen and purchased their last remaining pole. Now when I tackle the Pennine bogs I will have poles to assist me. At least that is the plan.

In the late afternoon I did a circuit of Mt Taylor. I didn't see any small birds. They were obviously sheltering from the cold wind. Sensible creatures. The kangaroos were clustered in sheltered areas, too.

This week is looking like a slack walking week. Wednesday I walked down to the gym and back. The weather was warm and sunny on the outward journey. On my return I was buffeted by a gusty wind which had a frigid edge to it. I was pleased to get home. All up it was 13.88km.

Then came Thursday when I squeezed in only a short walk - my Marconi Crescent walk. Gosh it has been ages since I did this particular walk.

By Sunday I had managed to average over 20,000 steps each day for the week.  I was pretty pleased with this as it meant that for the last 8 weeks my daily average across the week had gone over that mark. It had been a year since I last had 8 continuous weeks of 20K+ daily averages. Will I get to nine? Time will tell!

On Tuesday 20th I had a meeting down at Woden and I headed off with a little time up my sleeve as I was hoping to see some of the little birds as I made my way around Mt. Taylor. I was not disappointed. There was quite a gathering of Weebills going ape on the wattles which were in flower. It was fascinating watching these small birds clutching the stems of the bushes which were laden with yellow flower balls. Getting a photo is another thing entirely.

As the week rapidly charges by I am conscious that we will be flying out on Sunday. If at all possible I'll do daily posts starting on Sunday so keep an eye out for a steady stream of posts across the next six or so weeks.

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