Monthly Archives: September 2014

Salomon Series, Anglesea

Last weekend I did the final Salomon Series trail run for 2014.

It was at Anglesea, a seaside town on the way to Victoria’s famous Great Ocean Road, about an hour and a half drive from Melbourne.

Again, I was doing the long course, which this time was 23km – a couple more than last month’s long course of 21km at Olinda in the Dandenongs.

And what a spectacular day it was for a run.

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The morning was cool with a chill breeze but the sun was shining and the sky was clear and blue.

It didn’t take long to warm up when the race started.

The first six or seven kilometres were along the firm compacted sand of the beach under tall cliffs topped with bush that we’d be running through on the way back to the finish.

The ocean was calm and the gentle breaking of the waves on the beach was a steady, hypnotic soundtrack that was a nice distraction from my huffing and puffing as I jogged along.

The course went over a set of rocks that slowed things down a bit as some runners were a bit unsure of the uneven, sharp surface, and then up a headland that took us into coastal scrub and along twisting, turning single trail.

I’m not ashamed to say but the first big climb was a tough one and I fast-walked much of it.

The course then took runners up and down through the bush until the final few kilometres had us running along the top of the cliffs we’d run under at the start.

The view out over the ocean was spectacular. The water was a deep blue and completely calm and flat. Anglesea’s houses in the distance were a magnet to the finish.

Finished!

Finished!

I crossed the line in two hours, 15 minutes and 19 seconds – faster than my time in the Olinda run, which was a couple of kilometres shorter, but hillier. I finished around the middle of my category.

Anyway, now that the Salomon Series is over, I’m kind of left wondering what to do next. I’ve got all this fitness now and need to do something with it.

A friend is suggesting the Melbourne Marathon in a few weeks. Hmmmm, maybe.

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Some of my favourite multi-day walks

A few weeks ago Australia’s Outdoor magazine published a list of the top ten multday walks in the country.
I was quite chuffed to discover I’ve done six-ish of them – Queensland’s Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island and Fraser Island Great Walk and Tasmania’s Overland Track (a couple of times), Eastern Arthur Range (I’ve done some of the Eastern Arthurs walk – into and up Federation Peak and out), Western Arthur Range Traverse, and South Coast Track.

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The list made me think there’s plenty more walking I’ve got to do and also about what would be on my list of top overnight walks.
So while the ones I’ve mentioned above are certainly in my list of top walks, here’s a few others that have made an impression on me and I’d recommend.

1. Mount Remarkable, South Australia – Walking through the eastern side of this park presented some beautiful landscapes that, for me, are the picture of what I like to imagine the Australian bush is. It’s a romantic picture but one I like to daydream about. Open spaces dotted with big old gnarly trees and massive blue skies overhead. If you time it right and go around when the area gets rain, the ground is covered by a blanket of green grass and the streams at the bottom of steep gullies are running.

Mt Remarkable National Park

Mt Remarkable National Park

2. South-west circuit, Tasmania – This was my most recent big walk and it was the subject of some of my first blog posts. It had everything – amazing coastal views, challenging terrain, beaches, mountain ranges, strenuous walking and the feeling of utter and total independence and being away from everything.

On the South West Circuit

On the South West Circuit

3. Mount Bartle-Frere, Queensland – This was the first overnight walk I ever did on my own. I had no idea what I was doing but it started a lifelong passion for the outdoors. I was living in Atherton, my home town on the Tablelands in Far North Queensland at the time, and walked from the western side of the mountain. The mountain is covered in dense rainforest. So dense that when I went off track for a bathroom break, I had a moment of panic when I went to return to my pack I’d left on the track and couldn’t find it. After some deep calming breaths and a careful retracing of my steps I found the track again. I don’t think I’ve felt a sense of relief like that since. The climb is a physical challenge but apparently the view from the top is worth it. The weekend I was at the top it was covered in cloud and I didn’t see a thing. Here’s a link to a map of the walk.

4. Walls of Jerusalem, Tasmania – One of my favourite places in Tasmania. Passing through Herods Gate into the walls is like walking into another world. You’re surrounded by high imposing peaks – King Davids Peak, The Temple and Solomons Throne are just some. Then walk down into the penicil pine forest of Dixons Kingdom and its old trappers’ hut and resident wallabies. Wonderful.

Solomons Throne

The Temple

5. Blue Gum Forest, New South Wales – Another early bushwalking experience that showed me the beauty of the Australian bush. A beautiful stand of tall blue gums in the Grose Valley in the Blue Mountains. It was saved from the axe by a group of bushwalkers who bought it in the 1930s to save for future generations. Inspiring bush and an inspiring story.