Saturday, August 25, 2007

Trailblazer Training

Our first official training hike for October's Trailblazer Challenge - 50km from the River Torrens in the city to Mt Lofty Summit. Today we tried out the first half of the challenge, Pinky Flat to Montacute Road.

We set out from Pinky Flat, Coleen's car safely parked behind a large tree, obscuring it from potential golf ball misdemeanors from the adjacent golf course. Although, now that I think about it, the North Adelaide golf course is quite a good one, I can't imagine too many newbies being able to get out onto this course on a Saturday.

We hiked the 18km to the entrance of Ambers Gully, along the River Torrens Linear Park. Easy walking, all on bitumen walking/cycling paths. Gotta watch out for those lycra-clad cyclists though, they seemed to be under the impression it is a veloway. Coleen was correct in surmising they should have signs up at all the track entrances - 'No lycra-clad cyclists (please use your nearest raceway). Other cyclists and walkers welcome'. Being bitumen walking though, it is hard on our feet. Something I think Coleen felt the most, having decided to wear her hiking boots, whilst Jenny, Tim and myself had opted for shoes. It took us 3.5 hours, we did it without a break, so that's about 5km/h. Lots of people out walking and playing with their kids, even one industrious mother with the child on the back of her bike and the dog on a lead off her handlebars. Not so many people though as we pressed on further towards the hills. Tim was impressed by what he saw, never having been this far up the park before, I can agree, very nice area, lots of hills and views and parks.

After a half hour lunch, which was perhaps poorly timed, as we immediately hiked up the steep 1.5km section up Ambers Gully. It was on this incline that Kate shared her distress during a recent hike, and I did not share my distress. But this time, whoa, it was tough and hot in the sun (forecast about 26 degrees), I felt a bit sick, but we had climbed hard and fast. After the climb it was an easy walk across the top of Black Hill, and back down to Montacute Road. I think we finished at 3 (?), so this 6km section had taken us about 1.5-2 hours.

The section from Ambers Gully to Montacute Road is 6km, bringing our hike to a total of 24km. All of us could have hiked more. With our busy schedules in the next few weeks, we made tentative plans to hike the second 26km section from Montacute Road, through Morialta, Norton Summit and Horsnell Gully up to Mt Lofty Summit.

No google map for today, you can check out the map Start - CP1 and Start - CP1 on the Trailblazer Challenge website. I have also recently purchased a GPS unit on ebay, but it hadn't been delivered yet, but should make calculating walk times, speeds, distances and maps easy.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Here's Hoping for Summer

Saturday was a clear, sunny day. Last weekend was hot. Obviously (?!), today would be likewise, so out with my really small backpack, shorts and a t-shirt. Not long until summer now, but was I getting ahead of myself?

The Lavender Federation Trail
Day 2: Monarto to Preamimma Mine

Well, it was, luckily, hot cos with my small backpack I hadn't packed anything much extra to keep warm, no rain stuff either. Everybody was rugged up when we met, ok, the morning was cold, but they all set out on the hike like it - jackets, beanies. And me? Shorts and t-shirt. Yes, it was cold in the shade, but not for long. Soon, everyone had those jackets, jumpers and beanies off, it was a clear, windless, sunny, warm day. Although someone did remind me it was, in fact, still winter, and not really that close to summer. But there was me longing for the hot summer days. Can I make summer come sooner by dressing summer-like? I think so (you may not).

Starting at the entrance to Monarto Zoological Park, we followed an old rusty railway. Yes, I've seen the Don't Play with Trains tv ads, clearly the railway could still be used, but it wasn't in too good a shape, so I walked along the tracks whilst the others walked along the track next to it.

Surprisingly, there were lots of photo opportunities today as we walked along little-used dirt roads and across paddocks and along creeks. Good views from Highland Road in both directions - to Mt Barker and over to the River Murray.

We walked across a paddock, past a sign that left us in no doubt we were not to wander off the trail at all, and hiked past the remains of Preamimma Mine, complete with a chimney, ruined buildings and some tailings. But we couldn't have a closer look, which was disappointing. Looking in the Google Map (map view) below you can see that the trail at this point is following a public right-of-way, but as is often the case with these trails, no actual road. Bev said she had read somewhere that this chimney was somewhat unique because of it's square base. From a quick google search, the remains are considerable, and it was an arsenic mine in 1854, 1862 and finally in 1899.

An easy walk, but surprisingly scenic. Looking forward to future hikes along the Lavender Federation Trail, the next scheduled one is October 21 (2007). Pity they aren't more regular, I heard murmurings that perhaps George would seek to schedule some extra ones in during November.

  • Distance: 15km
  • Duration: 4.5 hours (9.45am - 2.15pm)
  • Weather: 17 degrees, clear, sunny (hoping for summer!)