Sunday, 3 August 2014

July ... mid winter and fog

July commenced with a reasonably sunny day although it was rather cool first thing in the morning. Frosts had finally arrived. This is tolerable as a frosty morning is generally followed by a sunny day. Early on in the day it is just a matter of rugging up to keep warm. Alas, the same cannot be said for foggy mornings particularly if the fog hangs around for most, if not all, of the day.

The second day of the month was a foggy one. At 1pm the fog still covered the top 2/3rds of Mt Taylor. It did lift, sort of, in the late afternoon but was back well before 5pm. A truly miserable day. Not to be deterred I headed off to the gym on foot for my Wednesday morning PT session. It did take a while to warm up and I ended up needing to stuff my gloved hands in my pockets as the fingers remained stubbornly cold. Heading home a little after 10 o'clock there were quite a few people out and about even though the temperature had only nudged up to 5 degrees.

On Thursday (3rd) I headed down to Cooleman Court after I returned home from my session at the family history centre. It had been another cool day and the late afternoon air was still chilly and damp. Having done more shopping than I had intended my backpack on the return home was decidedly heavy. The sunset provided an interesting light show and distraction from the weight I was carrying.
 I was a little surprised to find this woman perched amongst the rocks when I reach the Stanhope Highway

The sky to the south (between the trees) was a soft pink

Friday was a lovely day with a glorious clear blue sky. There were lots of people out and about taking advantage of the nice day.

There was still some snow up on the ranges
A beautiful sunny winters day
On Saturday 5th I was busy doing some swimming stuff and did not venture out until late in the day. I decided to walk up and around McQuoids Hill and then along the Urambi Hills. The weather looked like it might turn nasty so I was prepared for rain which did not eventuate.

Some of the gates in the various paddocks are the worse for wear. Here is one I came across where the wire across the gate had taken a beating and the whole frame of the gate had certainly seen better days.

There was a sizable mob of roos grazing on the lower slopes of the hill. They didn't seem to be bothered by me as I made my way up to the summit. The following photos are views from the top of McQuoids Hill.

I came across a couple of flocks of small birds. They appeared to be Scarlet Robins and Yellow Rumped Thornbills. There were also wrens in a couple of spots.

Leaving McQuoids I picked up the Canberra Centenary Trail along Kambah Pool Road, heading towards the river. The track was decidedly wet and muddy in places. 

Fortunately the weather held and I had a very pleasant walk.

On Sunday afternoon I decided to tackle another part of the Canberra Centenary Trail. The final section starts at the Tuggeranong Town Centre, heads towards the Monaro Highway along Isabella Drive and then heads northish along Isaacs Ridge, past the Mugga quarry, across Red Hill and finishes at Parliament House. I did not set out to walk the whole section, close to 30km, but to at least do a fair bit of it before heading home. While the forecast was not brilliant with rain expected and dark clouds racing across the sky once again the weather held.

On leaving Tuggeranong, the path meanders along beside a pond and then a storm water drain which has been built on one of the local creek beds. This meanders along the side of Isabella Drive. About 5km into the walk I reached Fadden Pines. This is a pine plantation right in the middle of suburbia.

The path about to enter Fadden Pines

The suspension bridge across Isabella Drive over to the Chisholm Shopping Centre
Unfortunately for me there should have been a sign indicating a left turn prior to reaching the suspension bridge. Alas I did not come across it and I continued until I passed under the Monaro Highway, trekked north until I was able to get back to the highway and cross it at its junction with Isabella Drive. 

With the day rapidly coming to a close I headed back to my starting point in Tuggeranong and called Trevor who picked me up outside of Brother's Oven.

I can only state that the Canberra Centenary Trail has been a particularly frustrating trail to walk.

After a fairly miserable week with cold mornings, the odd wet day and freezing winds it was good to have a pleasant day On Sunday 13th. When I ventured out around 10 o'clock, later than I had intended, there was still frost about. Not deterred I drove to Tuggeranong, grabbed some breakfast and then headed off to do Section 7 of the Canberra Centennial Trail. This was the bit that I had hoped to do about half of last week but failed miserably in my attempt.

You will be pleased to know that I succeeded this week. I did start about 1.5km from the start of the section but made up for this by continuing past the end point to pick up a bus back to Tuggeranong and my car. According to the write up the section is 28km and people should allow 9.5 hours. Yes, 9.5 hours plus time for breaks!! I will confess that I didn't do the loop up onto Isaacs Ridge. Michael and I did that on a previous outing and I was concerned about my late start. Was I going to run out of daylight?

Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve

The track with evidence of the passage of bikes

Water lying across the track

As the walk proceeded I striped off layers of clothing. The day was warm and sunny and I was walking fast. At one stage a family of five riding bikes joined the trailed and I passed then 5 or 6 times before leaving them behind. Yes, they were on bikes and I was walking.

There are a number of memorials dotted along ACT roads commemorating road fatalities.

The track along Isaacs Ridge

Mt Taylor (on the right) as views from Isaacs

Looking up Mt Mugga Mugga towards the scars caused by the quarry
 I had been hoping to pick up a coffee along the route but no such luck. Having decided not to go to the Chisholm shops this time I thought that I should be able to get something at either the Red Hill shops or the Red Hill Lookout. No such luck. Both closed.

There may not have been coffee at Red Hill but at least I had company: Captain James Cook

A random seat on Red Hill

Looking down towards Parliament House and beyond from Red Hill
Waiting for the bus on Commonwealth Avenue at the end of my walk

All up I walked 26.96km at 5.8kph. It had taken me 4 hours 40 minutes and 05 plus 13 minutes breaks.

On one of my walks up Mt Taylor I came across kangaroos happily grazing near the track and completely unfazed by my passage.

After another week of fairly ordinary weather I was pleased to have a fine day on Saturday 19th. Trevor and I headed off to the National Library for lunch and then I walked home along the south western shore of Lake Burley Griffin before picking up the Canberra Centenary Trail. There was a section that I had done a very hit and miss attempt at following a few times and I thought that I would knock it off today. I can report that I did make it to the end of section 5 which is listed as Stromlo Forest Park. I could see the Park but the trail didn't actually enter the Park. The best I can say is that it followed the Cotter Road albeit on the other side of the road to the Park. So much for the naming of Sections!!!

Having achieved what I had set out to do I then walked along the top side of Duffy and picked up the track along Cooleman Ridge. By the time I was coming around Mt Araway the light was fading. A was a little surprised when a creature scurried across the track in front of me. Was I even more surprised when I realised it was a wombat. I have seen wombat burrows in a number of places but this is the first one I have encountered out and about.

The sunsets continued to provide some glorious colour across the month. Here are just a couple of shots.

Looking west from the horse paddock just south of Mt Arawang

This photo was taken on Mt Taylor at the top of the 2nd zag on the Richmond Fellowship Track
Views from the Urambi Hills trig point ... looking down onto Lake Tuggeranong
and looking across the Tuggeranong town centre

A rainbow brightened up an otherwise miserable morning as I walked to the gym

There was some extremely windy weather at the end of the month. These trees on the top of Mt Arawang would normally be upright

I was certainly in for a surprise as I walked around the base of Mt Arawang. The eastern side of the mountain was sheltered. These slopes were dotted with kangaroos and there were many more roos in the paddock between the mountain and the road. The difference between the sheltered eastern side and the rest of the mountain was dramatic as the wind buffeted those hardy souls who were out and about.

Then I cam across my wombat again. This time, rather than scurrying off,  he or she meandered down into the ditch beside the track and happily munched the grass while I took photos. The whitish patch of the side looks like it is clay caught on the coat.

Yes, there really is a wombat on Mt Arawang
On the 30th I managed to reach the 5 million step mark for the year to date. That was a bit of a "WOW" moment when I realised that I had achieved that mark.

Stats for the month of July:

Distance walked: 381.49km (an average of 12.31km per day)
Elevation gain: 6636m (with an average of 214m per day)
Steps: 775819 which was an average of 25026 per day

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