Mt Juliet

5ish months pregnant, and I thought I had one more mountain in me for the year. I thought I’d do something with a well defined track, something that didn’t involve bush bashing, and something relatively short. So last week I had a day free and I thought Mt Juliet would fit the requirements. If you’re reading this and you’ve done Mt Juliet, I can hear you laughing.

So it is a well defined track, there are no sections where you have to go off trail, and it is very short. Only 4.5km up, then 4.5km back down. Easy, right?

You start at Road 3, which is a management vehicle track just off the main road out of Healesville. If you’re looking to do this one, this is the 5th management vehicle track on your right after the last street heading out of Healesville. I think this is the only one that allows walkers. There’s a small number 3 marked, so you can’t miss it if you keep an eye out for it.

So you start there, and it’s an easy incline up to the start of the walking track bit. Then the incline increased a bit. No worries, I’m big and the heart rate is high, so I planned to take it super easy. Bonus: It looked like the track had been recently cleared:)

Mt Juliet, Vic

After a while, I came across a huge fallen down tree. You can’t tell the size in the pic, but the width of the tree base is taller than me.

Mt Juliet, Vic

As I went further along, the amount of fallen trees increased. It was no longer a matter of just climbing through a few branches here and there.

Mt Juliet, Vic

Sometimes the path was just a bunch of fallen down trees and slippery bark.

It was getting really steep. I was on all fours for most of the top bit, holding onto rocks, small trees, or just the bare ground to help pull me up the hill. Doing this with a big tummy is not very comfortable!

Mt Juliet, Vic

The trail is through there.

At some point a thought kept nagging at me: How the fuck are you supposed to get down from this?

And I realised, it wasn’t going to get any better. There were almost no sections clear of fallen trees. And to top it off, it was CRAZY steep. I knew that to get down I’d have to slide down on my bum. And the further I kept going, the more bum sliding I’d have to do later.

I got to a point where HUGE trees were EVERYWHERE across the trail. I was too short to climb over one, and too fat to crawl through the split in it:

Mt Juliet, Vic

And then I thought Stuff it. I was probably only 500m or so from the top – but that may have been 30-60 minutes for all I knew. That would be maybe up to an hour of uncomfortable crawling, followed by almost as long bum sliding down.

So then I realised that this trail is not built for people with a big tummy. It was going to have to wait until next year😦

So I slid down for about 40 minutes, holding on to young wattle and eucalyptus trees.

Mt Juliet, Vic

Then it was steep, but at least upright, going for another 30 minutes, before getting back to much more manageable terrain:

Mt Juliet, Vic

And then the easy management vehicle track back to the car.

I have finally come to the realisation that I can’t be trusted with new adventures for the rest of the year😦 Everything else will have to be tried and tested easy stuff, and probably with other people, so that I am definitely forced to choose easier, more comfortable options. I am not very good at doing the same route twice, and I am not very good at deliberately taking it easy, so we’ll see how that goes…

Lerderderg – Southern Gorge Walk

It’s been a while since I’ve done a new route, but I found someone who likes doing silly things, and who also happens to take most of Fridays off for silly things.

She’s training for a 250km race and wanted something on the longer side of my fat pregnant capabilities, yet she had to be at a certain place by 3pm. So I picked the shortest thing I could think of. The Southern Gorge Walk is marked as around 8km… but I told her it would feel like the 15 she wanted. I just knew that anything I chose would probably involve bush bashing, making up the way, an undetermined number of river crossings, and lead to running overtime.

So we started at Mackenzies Picnic area. It was pretty enough, and after 5 seconds we came to the first river crossing, with nice stepping stones laid out so we didn’t get our tootsies wet.

It was very pleasant going, with a little bit of running, and walking at the slightest incline.

I’d always avoided Lerderderg because all the walks seem to involve river crossings and hills that look like they go on forever. At this point, I decided I had no reason to avoid the area.

We made it to Graham’s Dam, and started heading along the east side of the river. But it got very steep and cliffy very suddenly, and I thought we should’ve just been following the river, but it was kind of deep. So we backtracked, and decided to do the loop in reverse. We crossed over to the west side, and after a little exploration, found Link Track Number 1.

This was a steep steep hill! This west side of the river was dry, rocky and sparse. The trees were short. It was the wild west!

Lerderderg

Views near the top of Link Track No 1

We found our way to Link Tk No 2 and very slowly descended, holding onto rocks and trees so we didn’t fall over.

Fat pregnant arse managing to go down the hill without falling over

Fat pregnant arse managing to go down the hill without falling over

I think we did pretty well, except at some point we were so busy focusing on just putting one foot in front of the other that we lost the orange arrows marking the trail. Not to worry. All we had to do was go down to the river.

View down Link No 2

View down Link No 2

We found a pretty creek bed which took us to the river.

20140815_113301

And from there it was river river river. In the river, across the river, next to the river. My feet were FREEZING in the river. It felt like that water had come straight off a mountain. Every time I went in the river, my feet got so numb I couldn’t tell if I was stepping properly on the rocks, I didn’t know if my shoes were gripping right, and I just had to get out of there. When I got to dry land, it took several minutes for my feet to regain feeling.

We found where Link Tk No 2 met up with the river, and I was hopeful there’d be some slightly more obvious ways to walk. But no, it was just more river, and rocks, and debris, and shrubs, and prickly things.

We saw a couple of campsites by the river. Who are these people that walk along a river with a backpack to set up camp? That is just crazy thinking.

After a long while, we found a track. Yay! Smooth sailing from here on!

But the track would disappear, and it would be more river, then the track would reappear briefly, before disappearing and we’d be in the river again.

But finally we came across a track that was on nice smooth fairly even ground with easy footing, and a sign that said it was only 30 mins back to the start. Phew!

We couldn’t relax too much though. Because that hill cliffy bit at the start we saw and decided not to do? Well that was up next.

20140815_130958

At that point we decided to turn around and find a shallowish bit in the river to cross. The other side was nice and rocky – in the nice rocky sense rather than the rock climbing sense, and I knew it would lead back to the start of Link 1.

So we found the shallowest bit. It wasn’t that shallow. I secured my phone in my pack, and we slung our packs over our heads, and walked across the waist deep river.

But the rest was exactly as I thought – easy rocky bits, and even a bit of a shuffle back to the car!

Totally doable, although pretty challenging at times. And as with all my adventures – it took way longer than expected.

Strava link: http://www.strava.com/activities/180818347

Kinglake

Walking Blitz

It’s been a long time since the last post so although I’ve been getting out there for a few trails here and there, I haven’t explored any new trails and haven’t even been doing anything crazy lately.

Since the last post I got preggers, married and honeymooned. The doc said I could continue doing what I was doing without change, and at some point my body will force me to slow down. Well, I decided I didn’t want to lift weights for now since it’s only fun if I’m pushing the limits, and it’s only fun pushing the limits if there’s a competition at the end of it. It’s also annoying having every second person tell you not to pick up anything heavy. By heavy, I mean like some books, or maybe our broken dishwasher.

So I’ve just been running a bit, and doing the usual trails. This week was Kinglake – Sugarloaf/Mason’s Falls circuit and also up Glasgow Track, Mt D.

I thought Kinglake should be pleasant enough. I did it a few months ago with a friend and we ran most of it no problem. Of course, having a higher heart rate, and being 5kg heavier didn’t do me any favours. My heart rate got to 180 just walking up a hill, and I realised it will be a long time before I attempt running that route again.

Kinglake

Then I did Glasgow Track, Mt D, a few days ago. I’ve done this quite a few times in the past few months. You park near the Channel 10 towers, zig zag your way down to where the houses are, then walk in a straight line up Glasgow Track. I think you have to do it uphill, because if you approach from the top, there’s a sign saying it’s a regeneration area. And also I think you’d just fall over going downhill, although I always see more people going down than up.

Glasgow Track was very slow going. I had just done it 2 weeks ago, no probs. And this time I decided I will do it without taking any breathers. Well it was just so so so so slow. I have never walked so slow in my life. Stupid heart rate.

I seem to have an obsession with steep hills, so I will continue to be a hill-seeker for as long as my body will let me. It will just be very slow going. Fingers crossed for some snow soon so I can do Mt Donna Buang😉

Ada Valley

Yesterday I went for a wander around Ada Valley, which is in between Warburton and Powelltown.

It’s a decent drive along some rough gravel roads from Warburton along Smyth Creek Rd that’s fun to test your car’s handling.

I started at Starlings Gap and headed along an old tramline. It’s a pleasant enough walk, although in the distance I could hear machinery and trees falling down, so not quite the nature trail you expect. There are a few old mill sites along the way, although you don’t really notice any remnants until about 8km in at Ada No 2 Mill Site. Here there is a lot of old milling equipment to be explored.

click any pic to enlarge

click any pic to enlarge

ada mill 2

ada mill 3

 

From there you head north. It’s supposed to be a loop around about 13km. My book says at some point the trail kind of disappears, and the trail doesn’t exist on other maps, but you just continue along, avoiding logging roads, and you’ll end up on the road back to your car. There was some mention about maybe having to change your route if there’s logging in the area, but I took that as more of an afterthought. I mean, why would they be logging an area that even the DSE say you can walk around?

ada mill 4

I was pretty excited to see a sign pointing towards Big Creek Road, which is the road back to the start. I thought it was pretty good that it was a legit track for walkers, so there’d be no problems with logging.

As I got closer to the road, I heard a big logging truck slowly make its way around the corners.

I got to Big Creek Road, and was happy to know it’s all downhill and hopefully just about 3km or so to the car.

Then I came across a sign that said “Public Safety Zone.” I thought this was great, because I would be safe here and there wouldn’t be any chance of trees being chopped down. Because it’s safe for the public and stuff.

But I read the sign properly, and it really meant that it was a public unsafe zone, and everyone should stay away. The sign was stuck to a tree though, with some bark covering it, so I pretended I didn’t see it and continued on.

Then I passed a couple of these signs:

ada mill 5 danger sign

And when I spotted some machinery around the corner, and remembered that earlier I heard trees being chopped down, I decided I didn’t want to come across any angry loggers telling me to get the hell out of there. Are loggers angry people? I don’t know, but I imagine them to be. Especially if you’re not supposed to be there.

Well, there was nothing I could do really. I had passed multiple signs telling me to go away, and that trees were being felled across the road. All I could do was turn around and go back the way I came.

By then of course, my stupid ankle was hurting, so I couldn’t go very fast. And I really wanted to get off that road quickly, or at least get passed all the danger signs I had ignored in case a truck drove past and an angry person told me off.

There was no apparent short cut to take. I was walking/hobbling as fast as I could. I swear the last 3km took forever. I was increasing my pace in an effort to get back to the car by 4pm. I wasn’t in a real hurry, but I do like to get home by dinner time so I’m not starving.

I made it back at 4 on the dot – my watch said I did 22km in 5 hours. Driving back along Smyth Creek Rd, I saw another Public Safety Zone sign. No way was I going to find another way out of there. I drove that way in, so I presumed they could not have started chopping down trees along that road in the space of a few hours!

Looking at the map, you can see how wildly inaccurate GPSs are under tree cover. Mine has never been so bad before, but it is getting old and slowly dying. Before the turnaround, I was on the road you can see, although the route recorded is quite off. Google took the photo in 2010, and you can see patches of new plantations.

map

I’m happy to note that my endurance hasn’t suffered, even though I no longer do any endurance racing. If it wasn’t for my stupid ankle, I could’ve run the whole thing. I’m hoping to get a mountain bike at some point so I can cover more ground faster😀

 

Powerlifting Comp 16/2/14

Yesterday was the first powerlifting comp of the year. I realised I wouldn’t make nationals this year as it is not based on qualification this time, but is invite only in order to have fewer competitors and get it done with quicker. So I decided I should do the February comp to see where I’m at.

With the crazy hot weather we’ve been having, a week or two of getting sick, and then a little more hot weather, my training was average at best. In fact, up until yesterday’s comp, I hadn’t even bench pressed a barbell for 2 or 3 weeks.

I was not feeling particularly well prepared this time. The evening before, I realised I’d lost a deadlifting sock, so had to dash up to Kmart to buy a new pair of socks. On Sunday I was woken up a little earlier than I wanted by the cat throwing up. Then I was running late because of cleaning up. It wasn’t until weigh in that I decided what my opening lifts and warm ups would be. The Chocolate Diet had been going so well (down 2 kg in a 2 weeks) that I decided to have some chocolate for dessert the night before. On Sunday morning I stepped on the scales and realised I was pushing it a bit too much. Many trips to the toilet, not eating or drinking, and removal of shoes and pants got me smack bang on weight with not a gram to spare. On the upside, my belt fit well. It’s never fit well at that weight before, so I figured something must be going right.

I decided to open with a 105kg squat. I knew that would be fairly easy, as I recently hit that number in training for the first time. It felt so light! I got 1 red light for depth. Next I went for a PB – 112.5kg. I got 3 red lights for depth. This one felt heavier, so the primal instinct not to go too low kicked in. 3rd attempt I nailed it for 3 white lights:)

During bench I like to have a drink and a bite to eat because I don’t feel sick when benching with a fuller tummy. Of course, I knew that I couldn’t eat too much in case my belt didn’t fit for deadlifts, so I just had one muesli bar and a bottle of water with BCAAs. For bench I opened with 62.5kg. Got it, but it felt heavy, and very unstable. Second attempt was 65kg. I was kind of expecting to get that, as that is my previous PB from December, but I could not even budge it. I failed it again on my 3rd attempt. I was disappointed in this, although I really should not have expected it considering my training lately.

When it came time to warm up for deadlift, my belt fit fine without the suit, but once my suit was up I just couldn’t do it up! In the past I’ve asked a few different guys to help me do it up. I always assumed that guys are stronger so they could do it. But they were never able to. I think they are too gentle with a girl. So I got a champion girl to help me and she could do it easy:)

I opened with 135kg – very easy, although I thought I hitched it a bit, I got 3 white lights. Then I went for 142.5kg which is my PB from December. It felt like a grind, although looking at the video, it went up much quicker than it felt. My 3rd attempt was 145kg. I had never attempted this weight before, and I moved it a few inches off the ground, but that was it.

So my average training gave me average results. It’s a good indicator of where I am, and I’ve already made a plan to move forward!

Funny thing: My body is always sore in different places after each comp.