ballina to byron bay

Today I walked my longest ever single day walk – 37km from Ballina to Byron Bay on the beautiful north coast of New South Wales, Australia.

I did this walk in 2016 but in reverse and a slightly shorter 35km version of it.

Even though I walked fast, finishing in less than five and a half hours, I still managed to take in the impressive scenery – I love this bit of coastline – nothing comes close.

a different side of flinders peak

I’ll always have fond memories of Flinders Peak in that it was my first tough mountain that I tackled by myself on my nature/fitness journey. I’ve got this week off work so I did a solo trip up mid-morning yesterday. I thought I’d check out the southern side of the mountain and discovered some great views south and back towards the peak that I hadn’t seen before. Refreshing.

 

bigger isn’t always better…

It’s easy for someone becoming increasingly interested in hiking to mountain peaks, not unlike a heroin addict, to desire a bigger and bigger ‘hit’. A few weeks ago it was Mount Tibrogargan at 364m, then Mount Beerwah at 556m, but over the weekend it quickly escalated (literrally) to Mount Barney at 1359m! The hike was 17.5km and over 1200m up!

I must admit I didn’t enjoy it, it was too rough on my body and reaching the highest peak for it to be fully covered in clouds was a major let down. But not enough of a let down to return and do it all again. It didn’t help I was recovering from a rather-nasty sinus infection which made me feel even lousier when I’d finished. I’ve learned from the experience that bigger isn’t always better, and that I should re-visit and appreciate some of the smaller mountains I have access to without constantly seeking a bigger and riskier hit.

mount beerwah

I hiked up Mount Beerwah on the weekend. It was definitely the most challenging hike I’ve done but I was with good company who helped me complete it safely. The views of the surrounding Glasshouse Mountains were fantastic.

mt beerwah - 1

mount cooroora

During our recent long weekend in Noosa I took the opportunity to hike up Mount Cooroora which has been on my mountain bucket list for some time now. Each July, the nearby township of Pomona hosts a 4.2km “King of the Mountain” race up and back down from the local pub, with the record being held by Neil Labinsky, 4th year consecutive winner, with a recorded a time of 22 minutes 43 seconds.

I loved the 360 degree views at the top and had the full length of the summit to myself.

Distance: 3km return
Time up: 25min
Time down: 25min
Elevation: 439m
Elevation Gain: 300m

 

walk the walk

“There are lots of things you could probably do to improve your life. You could make more money, for instance, or travel more, or write more, or be a better friend, or get one of those vacuum cleaners that cleans your house while you’re out throwing your head back laughing at after-work cocktails in a nicely ironed shirt, the sleeve of which you hitch up when your expensive watch reminds you to circulate so you can get home in time to do all the right things to be perfect again the next day.

On the other hand, you could just do this: go for a walk. Nothing quite like a nice walk to really turn things around. Okay, alright, it’s not going to fix everything. It might not fix anything. And okay, alright, if you’re crook or you can’t walk or are indisposed or it’s the middle of the night, it doesn’t even need to be an actual walk. Do the next best thing. Go to the window and look out of it.”

~ Lorin Clarke, Walk the Walk, The Big Issue #543

the only exercise…

“Many people – and not a few companies – like to think that they can somehow stretch the cognitive limits of their minds, that doings lots of Sudoku or using programs like Brain Trainer will somehow enlarge their capacity. They’re out of luck. The only exercise that seems to nurture, or at least protect our brains is aerobic exercise. Yoga, toning and stretching may make you feel good but, in fMRI scans, only aerobic exercise seemed to have a visibly positive impact on the brain.”

~ Margaret Heffernan – Wilful Blindness

mount greville

Five of us went up Mount Greville yesterday. We ascended via the South East Ridge and came down via the Waterfall Gorge. Stunning views, particularly from about halfway down the Waterfall Gorge path where there were open rock faces you can walk on top of and stare out at Lake Moogerah. It took us about 4 hours with plenty of stops. The views from the actual summit were so so but everything else made up for it. I will be back to try Palm Gorge next time (up) and probably South East Ridge down for those views.

mount cordeaux / bare rock

A mate and I headed out of the city first thing this morning to Cunningham’s Gap: a break in the Great Dividing Range of the East Coast of Australia where there’s a few trails to some of the peaks.

Today we tackled Mount Cordeaux and then Bare Rock which is an extension to the same trail.

It was sunny when we got to Mount Cordeaux but as we arrived to Bare Rock fog had crept up and over the mountain which gave us some great contrasting landscapes.

There was another little trail off the main track called Morgan’s Walk which was short but overgrown and not really worth it.

The walk was very graded and there weren’t any tough parts which was a little disappointing but the views, particularly from Cordeaux made the trip worthwhile.

Distance: 14.3km return
Altitude Gain: 610m
Time: 2:19 up 1:36 down (with breaks)

 

goolman lookout / rocky knoll

With a slightly cool change in weather this morning I decided to take an early hike to Goolman Lookout. This hike is part of the same conservation estate as Flinders Peak but leaves from a different picnic area known as Hardings Paddock.

The hike to Goolman Lookout was pleasant and not at all difficult. The trail was wide and accessible, with some steep sections but no climbing or scrambling required.

I walked back via the ‘Rocky Knoll’ Lookout which, true to its name, was a rocky knoll which you can only access by climbing over a barbed-wire fence 😳

flinder’s peak take two

I took my mate Mike up to Flinder’s Peak this morning to kick-start 2017. Even though we began the ascent before 7am it was still really hot by the time we reached the top and we were lucky to make a quick descent before it got crazy hot. We both carried about 2.5 litres of water which was just enough for the temperature which reached about 36 degrees Celsius.

It was great to have some company (I usually hike alone) and I hope I have piqued his interest in climbing some more mountains (perhaps when it cools down a bit).