Big Hike 22   1 comment

Saturday, 29 March, 2014

I’ve just completed a marathon! Okay I walked it, but it’s still a marathon!

One of the guys at work, Phil, organises a hike every three months or so and this time round he arranged for us to join the annual Canberra Walking Festival 42.2 km walk around the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin. This was number 22 on his list and avid readers of this blog may have noticed that I’ve been on two or three of the more recent ones. Mind you, they are usually early starts and this one was no exception as we had to get ourselves to the starting point, near the King Avenue Bridge by 7am this morning. At least this time James and I didn’t have far to drive!

After meeting up with Phil, Tony and Simon (there are usually a few more participants, but I think the extreme length of this hike put some people off!), we confirmed our registration, collected our passes and maps and awaited the official start of the hike. This consisted of a short speech by one of the committee members who thanked everybody for coming along and we were off.

The first part of the walk was away from the lake and out towards Red Hill through the suburbs of Kingston and Manuka. Then before we reached the slopes of Red Hill itself, we turned right and skirting the hill itself, headed towards another of the older suburbs of inner Canberra, Deakin. Here we spotted an opportunity to grab a coffee in the local cafe, but unfortunately Tony and Simon had disappeared into the distance. When we couldn’t raise them on the mobile, the three of us who remained stopped of for a Flat White and a chat with some of he other walkers. By the time we rejoined the route, we were sure that we were right at the rear of the ‘train’ and this was confirmed when the ‘mop up’ man from the organising committee came along on his bike to pick up some of the directional signs.

The three of us continued on through Deakin, past the Prime Ministers lodge and over the State Circle that surrounds the massive Parliament House before dropping back down onto the lake side where we picked up the 28km pathway around the central, western and eastern basins of Lake Burly Griffin. By now we thought that we would have caught up with Tony and Simon, but they were nowhere to be seen and all attempts to raise them on the phone failed. We negotiated the 11 km of he western basin without any problems and were now thinking of feeding our faces, so we decided to head into the New Action precinct, where we could grab a coffee and sandwich from one of the many bars and cafes that have strung up there.

Taking stock of the distance we’d covered and the aches and pains we all had, we realised that the last 19km or so would be a bit of a struggle. However, after a 30 minute break, we set off again to complete the hike. Of course all the way round the planned route we had to check into various checkpoints to get our route maps stamped and it was at the next couple these that we started to catch up on some of the people who were clearly in front of us. The final checkpoint was at the far end of the lake and the helpful volunteers manning it told us that it was only a 7km slog back to the start/finish point where we could look forward to the free sausage sizzle. Wow, what an incentive!

I must admit that the last few kms along the Southern edge of the lake was murder and when we stopped for an extended toilet break, we all found it very difficult to start up again. Just as we were crossing the road in front of the start/finish point, the expected rain arrived and we dashed the last few hundred meters into the warmth and shelter, only to find that the sausage sizzle had finished. To say that we were pissed off would be an understatement and so all that was left to do was to collect our medals, pack away our gear and jump in the car to give Phil a lift back to Tuggernong, as Tony had left a message to say that he and Simon had finished about 30 minutes before us and gone home.

When we were dropping Phil off in the town centre, we decided to call into the Subway for a sandwich, it must have made a sorry sight for anyone looking on when the three of us got out of the car and tried to cross the road.

Still, 42.2 km in one hike, I’m pretty proud of that.


One response to “Big Hike 22

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  1. Pingback: Big Hike 23 | yermandownunder

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