Saturday, 25 August 2012

Open Country and Opened Beers

Shade was something I was looking forward to, it seems that the country has really opened up and the weather is defiantly getting hotter, getting out of the sun has not not really been an option option.

I find myself trying to use the Maui Mothership as shade when I meet Vickie every 5km for a drink stop. It seems that Vickie can spend some more time with me yet, as the trail just keeps heading north on these lonesome roads in the middle of nowhere. Its great to have her as support considering the weather conditions. Running in a straight line seeing the 50km that you have in front of you is testing to say the least.

The Queensland part of the trail as I have mentioned before is flat and pretty open going and with the sun getting a stronger sting in it the further north I get, the more it drains your energy levels.

The ups to being out in the middle of nowhere is that when you finally come across someone, it seems they are as happy to see you as you are them, it seems these areas get to even the locals.

I was heading towards the Bowan River on one of the days renowned for it abundance of crocodiles. It was assuring to have Vickie ahead in the Mothership as to see how deep the crossing of it was going to be.

Vickie had passed the crossing when I got there, as there was a bridge and was parked at the pub the other side.

It is such a strange place to have a pub, I had only passed two stations on the 150km journey in nowhere to get there, and there was no town just this pub. and one house behind.

Its wasn't just the fact that it was in nowhere with no one around, but the fact it was 10 meters from the croc infested river, something you wouldn't want to fall in after having a few, and perhaps the reason there was no one else around.

We met with the lady in the house behind, in fact it was a Homestead for a 600 hectors cattle station only a baby compared to most. The owners were in the guide book and when Vickie had contacted them, they couldn't do enough for us and insisted we parked the Maui at their place.

It wasn't long before they had arranged the neighbours to come over for a BBQ, neighbours that were some 50km away. Seem like no matter how far you live away from the pub in these parts it nothing to make a one or two hour drive to the pub, and then another  three or four hours on the return!!

I knew my own journey the following day was going to be twice a s long as normal going by the hospitality of these people. Its had to say no when people are so friendly and welcoming. its even harder, when, they have already took the lid of the stubby and are shoving it into your hand.

Next thing i know its morning again and I have yet another marathon to get on with with a far bit of climbing as I would be going up and over the range, not something that would be totally enjoyable, while carrying a foggy head. Seems these days that its becoming a bit of a habit, but as I keep saying to Vickie, Its all part of the adventure and the journey north!

Friday, 17 August 2012

The 1000k Countdown

I was so tired this morning, I think it must of come from the heat of yesterday. It seems to be getting warm each day at the moment, with today being no exception with the Mothership displaying 35degs in the cabin!

It started out nice and mild as it always does here in the QLD winter, however come 11am the mercury is really starting to rise up and come lunch time its time to be well and truly off the trail. Looks like its only going to get warmer the further north I travel.

I was once again back on the dirt roads that seem to go on forever through the cattle stations. I was hoping to finish up at a station pub today, but it looks like its further than first thought. Its a pub in the middle of nowhere, like alot of pubs in Australia, however all that's at this place is a pub, oh and the cattle station that its on!

Looks like I will be passing it tomorrow as I head towards the range and the Burkin Dam the other side of it classed as the largest dam in QLD. I will be holding reserves myself when I get to that pub tomorrow, if the weather is like it was today. Plus we have the some celebrating to to as I am now officially down into triple digits!

As i left the tiny town of Scottville I was instantly once again back into the hart of cattle country and the rest of the day was spent there. Luckily I had Vickie for support today, making the weather more bearable and my hydration levels fully topped.

There were only two properties that I passed on route and I bumped into one of the owners as he made his way across his 100,000 hectors on his quad bike. He wasn't amazed to see me like most land owners are, in fact he had been expecting me after seeing me on the Channel 7 News the other night, the power of the media. We had a good old yarn for half hour, panicking Vickie who was waiting for me 5km ahead, and wondering why I was taking so long.

It was worth the wait. As I made my way to the Maui Mothrship I knew it was the 1000km to go mark. Vickie was waiting for me with a smile on her face, as I got closer I could see that she had put an official mark on the ground in flour!

I wanted to get on and get another 1km under my belt so I was quickly into those triple figures. Vickie went ahead again, and once again when I arrived she had yet another smile on her face. She had written 999km on her tummy!

It nice to have someone to enjoy these moments with, as for the best part I'm out there by myself, however, it seems that she has been there for all the mile stones and boarder crossings!

The rest of the day has been spent trying to get out of the heat, which proves to be difficult when in the middle of nowhere without trees!

It was nice to finish today, purely just to get out of the sun, but no real ending as we are still in the sticks.

Its a funny feeling, knowing that the BNT is drawing close to an end. In some ways it will be nice to complete the journey, but something inside of me wants it to just keep going, you never know I might just turn around and head back. Not that Vickie's up for it, perhaps I could become a running nomad?!

                                           Writing this blog while being observed by cows.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A Mixed Bag on the Way to the Home Straight

Flat trails, croc crossings and main highways with coalmine traffic has been the happenings for the last week. It's brought me past a small town called Nebo, a dam called Eungella and a mining town called Collinsville, continuing onwards on my journey north.

Long farm tracks that go for literally miles have been the staple diet for the best part of the BNT and in particular in Queensland.

It makes for some interesting running on my part. As much as I love the single tracks of the National Parks, the steep mountain climbs and technical descents in the wilderness, these dirt roads offer me some relief from the demands those things put on my body and mind.

However, when running literally in a straight line for hours at a time and able to see the up-teen kilometres ahead of you the mind starts playing its own games, the sun beats down and there is no shade to offer relief, you soon start to wish you were back in the thick of it, lost in the wilderness somewhere!
Heading towards the highway on a better dirt road.
But, it's yet another example of character building, another chapter in the BNT journey and some more learning about oneself.

Among the vastness of the cattle stations and the dusty ribbon of road that seems to never end, are the creek and river crossings. So dry, that there is no option of filling your pack bladder mid run, which can become a problem if Vickie and the Maui Mothership are not able to access the trail for support.

But the bigger problem is when you're able to get a refill at the full flowing rivers, why, because from here on in, every single river has its fair share of crocodiles.

Its not that I'm unable to fill my bladder; I have to cross these rivers! I just don't want to be waist deep anymore time than needed getting over to the other side.

How do you approach these crossing is something I'm still figuring out. Apart from the obvious which is having a good look and making as much noise as possible, I have been finding big rocks to throw in the river. Thinking that if there is to be a croc there it would soon move when being smashed on the head with a rock.

Then its the mad dash to the other side. If you have ever tried running through water waist deep you would know that its not that easy, and it fact its just as quick to walk, but that's never going to happen! I must find out some more about the croc crossing thing, I don't want to be hopping the last 1000km.
This one I was told was croc infeasted

The trail took me past the Eungella Dam, yes past, which makes a change after tackling the other one with a jetski ride. It was an odd place, both beautiful and Gray and dull at the same time. The network of roads that are around it are for the best part four wheel drive, and the lack of traffic was nice, but meant if anything went wrong then help would be along way away.

These roads in the middle of cattle land, seem to go on for ever, but then today, it came to an end, and I was on the complete opposite, a highway.

It wasn't like the last highway I was on, as that was a tourist road, this was a mine highway, meaning that every type of vehicle that passed was of the over sized variety, 57 metre road trains were the norm even the road signs said so.

If I though i was a speck in the vast wilderness and the almighty mountains, then they had nothing on this. I had to run in the bushes to stay as clear as possible of the road until I came to bridges.

There was no option of taking the bank down to the rivers, they were either to0 deep to cross or full of crocs as mentioned before.

There were three bridges on this 20km section of highway I needed to run, and all three of them had no hard shoulder or place to escape if a truck came or worse, a road train.

It reminded me of the movie Stand By Me, when the kids are on the railway bridge and a train comes. I made it 75 metres across one bridge before I could see a truck coming towards me and another behind, I set a new 25 metre record getting off that bridge and I didn't even touch the ground.

The run ended in a small town called Scottville and that's where I will be starting again from tomorrow. Tonight we will be in the mining town of Collinsville 10mins down the road, where everything is at miners prices!

Tomorrow will also see me drop below the 1000km mark, which means I'm on the home straight.......well in the scheme of things anyway!

This is where I come too and realise that the river Im in could easirly be croc infeasted, could this get any worst?

We all know that if you take you mind of the trail for just one second that you will go A over T! But never would you think that letting your mind wonder for a while for the first time in 4000km you would have the string of events as above, I would have been happyer with a single trip!

I backed right out of that river prepared to tame the bull and handle the snake, looks like they were smarter than me and had stayed well clear of the river, leaving me thinking that this river most certainly had crosc in.

I dropped some big rocks in, in the hope of scaring any off, but really I was just scarering myself.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Day 132............Running out the Cobwebs

It was too hot to be running with a hangover, what had I done to myself? It was going to be a long 40km along the top of the ridge all day without shade, only the views and the fact that I had Vickie in the Mothership for support were going to keep me on the move today. Water was going to be the key, and lots of it!

It only took me 5km to get into it, my headache had been shook off and I was enjoying the undulation and broad views of the ocean in the very far distance.

20km in and I come down the trail to find Vickie with all the Maui tools out at the side of the trail. Flat tyre number three for the trip! Lucky she was spending the day with me, we had the wheel off and replaced in no time. I was back running the trail soon enough.

We then came across a four wheel drive coming the opposite way. It was the lady who owned the next station down, on her way to the city to take her daughter to a Grease musical some 3 hour drive away.

We were then met by another four wheel drive, it was the Lady's mother in law to pick up our tyre to get fixed back at the property. She had kindly called ahead and organised it with her husband who sent his mum to grab it from us. It was very kind of them, and we were lucky as we were in the middle of nowhere on top of this range.

We made it to the Maryland's Station homestead, where I was met by two backpackers as I ran in, this was getting interesting!

They were working on the property teaching the owners children, we would have dinner with them that night and park the Mothership out the front!

It was a long day out in the full sun, no shade for the whole day. It was amazing that we were out in the middle of this vast station only to bump into so many people, which lead to a chain of events in getting our tyre fixed, getting a hot shower, and joining some others for a great meal and a bag of giggles.

This run continues to amaze me, there are so many great people in this country!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Day 132...........60 Plus Year Olds are Trouble

Back on the trail heading towards the range. Today would take me once again through some private stations before climbing and then taking me across the top of the range for the rest of the day.

It was hot early, I knew it was going to be a hot day and pretty open going through cattle country.

I was just about to head out and two dirt bikes pulled up. I wondered what they were up to and headed over, looks like they were following the BNT too, well at least what they could of it, and they raced off up the road leaving both me and Vickie in a cloud of dust.

I made my way up the track enjoying the glorious weather and the views of the range.

An hour later the bikers came racing down again. Looks like there was no road for them to follow at the top end as the trail took off over farm land. They had chatted with the farmer who informed them that no one had been through for a long time it would be overgrown with Lantarner and the whole place would be a swamp after all the rain that Queensland's had received early in the winter.

Obviously a no go area for a dirt bike, but what would it hold for a runner?! I continued on to where the road ended, It was a swamp it was a swamp that was chest height completely over grown with thorny bushes and lantarner, and root and logs under foot. I quickly realised that I would be going like this for another 8km and the way things where going I would end up with an injury, or worst still, a snake bite, it was there territory.

I decided that it would be safer to go back, I called Vickie, luckily having reception, so she could meet me back where she had dropped me off, meaning I could still run the distance.

We drove back into Saint Lawrence where we had camped the night before and would drive out to the far side of the range the following day to start off where I should have finished.

We heard that the local pub was cooking up a BBQ and decided to go down and meet some of this town of 50.

We got chatting with two lovely older couples who were doing the caravan thing around QLD. After hearing the BNT story to date they kindly brought us dinner and donated to SANE, what a very kind bunch of people.

Well at least I thought!
A lot of trouble!

The next morning I awoke with what you call a headache. They wouldn't let me buy a beer all night and ultimately I got a little drunk! It wasn't just the bunch of beers I had at the pub it was the few cans I had back at the caravan with them that polished me off.

People of trouble, for a man who is attempting to run the length of the Great Divide! I was looking forward to the marathon mountain run ahead on this super hot day!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Day 132.................Back on the Road :(

The trail turned in to highway today, the Bruce Highway to be exact, known also as the National Highway, a big name and a hell of a lot of traffic!

It runs from Brisbane to Cairns some 1700km, does that mean once I finish up this run I have ran the National Trail and National Highway?

There are many complications when running highways, much like in the mountains, but where there is highways there is traffic, something I haven't really needed to contend with this last four months and something you never get in the mountains.

With traffic comes road kill and I have spent the day dry reaching every 10 minutes at the stench of dead something. Then there's the sight of what ever poor animal happened to be crossing the road at that time and they come in all types and sizes and varying degrees of squashedness. I was making my way up the road hoping there wasn't going to be the smell of a rotting ultra runner in the near future.

Being hit by a large truck would be one thing, but a road train another, if the truck itself didn't kill you, the half dozen or so trailers behind surely would, and if you were still lucky, or very unlucky more to the point, then the trail of Gray Nomads and there caravans behind would defiantly do the trick!

What were all these people thinking as they made their journey up or down the highway, seeing me tinkering up the road on my own two feet. I could see the amazement on some people faces, going to show just how close they were! I was half expecting the news to rock up or worst the police, but this is the 30km section that the BNT takes along the highway, so I was meant to be there.

After turning off to make my way towards the range I stumble across this fella, who had been hit on a side road. This was two kilometres to the meeting point so Vickie was around to see him too.
Not something I would normally take a picture of, but never get to capture the wild pigs live in the bush. Yes, a pig! that's how big they are around here.

Looking forward to tomorrows climb up the range, it seems a while since Ive had something to really get me swearing!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Day 131 - I'm a Cowboy

I wonder how many people would become a vegetarian while running the BNT, well you would have to run it first? But, how many cows can a man see?

It seems lots, what I have noticed about the good old Australian bush is that we have a lot of cattle, even through some of our national parks, and they come in all shapes, sizes and breeds.

I had this fear of cows early on in the piece, well I think it was the fear of actually being chased by bulls early on that gave me a nervous feeling every time I entered a field with any type of cattle......are they teats or balls??

These days I'm not bothered by either, even bulls run away when I come tumbling through the bush in my signature Arcteryx orange t-shirt. Today for example I was again in the middle of nowhere, not a road or farm track in sight, I could only follow the cattle pads and aim for the general direction of where I needed to be going, there where alot of gullies and a little tree coverage, not the vast open fields that we are used to seeing cows grazing in.

The humped cattle, white all over or Brahmans as I now know there called, had the biggest fright seeing this sweaty man in orange, bashing through the wilderness with his teeth gritted, going hard up and town the gullies. They would be lucky to see people in general let alone this one!

I propose that we ditch the horses, quad bikes and helicopters that the farmers use to muster up their cattle come market day, and get a bunch of trail runners in to do the job, bigger impact, but doing what we love to do which is running through the wilderness!

Its been a little like that over the last week, lots of good cattle country and me mustering up the cows on the way through. It says in the guide book that this section for some can be a little boring and monotonous.

I think completely the opposite, the trail is diverse that's what I love about it, and I'm running trails through some of Australia's best country, its a little welcomed break from tackling mountains as the terrain seems to be alot softer and flatter. The views are still amazing I'm either looking at mountains or I'm in them, I have been on the trail for four months and there hasn't been a day where I have found this great trail to be boring, funny how some people think, I often think that it could be worst......I could be sitting in an office!

Little sight of people or even properties this past week, just a vastness all to myself, even the railway line that I followed for most of yesterday, didn't have a train on it, a great time to reflect on the run and panic a little as I think of it coming to a end!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Day ???...............What Day is it??

I thought that being an ultra runner was hard work. I mean running for hours each day, then stretching for more hours, needing that much important sleep only to repeat the process over again. Finding it hard to socialise and spend time with your loved ones and friends...unless their running friends that is!

Then I come up with this great idea of running the national trail that would still have me running for hour each day, while spending time with my love one and sharing the adventure with my friends, leaving me lots of time to do the other things that I have in my life and still have time to stretch and sleep well.

Well how wrong was I?

My time on the trail has been more than amazing so far, and spending that extra time with my partner Vickie great, though challenging at times, spending so much time in one another pockets quit literally in the small space that we call the Maui Mothership, is sometimes not the best of moods, can be a bigger challenge than running to Cooktown its self.

Still not really a problem as such, we are getting to know so much more about one another, after we thought there was no more to learn.

You would think that sharing the journey with friends and family would be easy these days with the likes of Facebook, twitter, Skype and the like? But this makes life more complicated swallowing up bags of time, downloading photos and videos to post about what happen each day but really happened days ago!

I find it so hard to keep up as to where I am at. Days turn into weeks, weeks months and all I know is the distance I have left to reach cooktown and how my body's feeling. Should be simple right?

But, then theres this Blog. You would think it would be as easy as finishing my day, doing all the things necessary to help me bounce back the next day, Social media stuff, blog writing, sleep and repeat, I wish!

I have found out today that our Charity SANE Australia use a media monitor to capture all print media that we do along route with papers etc. What I found out is that we have averaged 40 per month, that's right 40! That's on top of the 22 ABC Radio interviews I have done the Three Channel 7 News and One channel 9 News interviews, plus radio interviews with the Sports day Radio every months, as well as features in Outer Edge Magazine, Men's Fitness Magazine, RM Williams Magazine and the BNT's very own Track Magazine, plus school talks! and I'm wondering why I find it hard to write a Blog? This says it all!

Now I have told you my excuse for not writing something up sooner, let me begin.

So, I finished up last time with a jetski ride over the Paradise dam due the river being high adding KM to my already long day, all done in the pouring rain....that's right nothing new there this is the BNT its never that simple!

That took me to Mount Perry a nice little town in the mountains. The weather had become beautiful and I enjoyed my day running through the foothills away from the new mine site on the edge of town.

The trail passed through many stations on its route to the Boolboonda Tunnel ( I bumped into one of the land owners as I made my way down the spurline to the dirt road below.

Some interesting story's these guys of the land have to tell, and its always a highlight when having the opportunity to have a good old Australia yarn with them.

The tunnel itself was a little freaky, and I was glad that Vickie could meet me there to experience the spookiness with me!

The following day I would be running 60km in to Kalpower, sound like something out of Batman! The day was flat and straight, just a dirt road heading north through some farm country. Vickie had to take the long way around as the road would be to rough.
There was only one thing that happened the whole day, and that was a guy ran down his 500m driveway to ask if I had been down his driveway?? Go figure? I asked him way and his response was that he just wanted to know who was around his property, something to hide a reckon?!!

Kalpower wasn't even a town it had nothing. Vickie had slipped $10 into my pack knowing that her route would take her longer than it would for me to run there! I had to go starving, even the smallest of towns in Australia have a pub, but this place was lucky to have people, It was like a ghost town!

The next day was spent trying to work out the best way to tackle the Kroombit Top National Park it wasn't so much the 60km day I would have to run, but where I would be going. Its the only NP in Australia that I know of that doest have any maps of the trails or roads within it. Making it very hard to map out the direction I needed to go.

There was more complications after Vickie spoke with Parks. They would be shooting feral pigs the day I wanted to pass through and would be finished until 1pm making it a short afternoon to be running 40km mainly uphill in the middle of no where, with no idea on the route.

I arrived at the park gate early and waited until 1pm and started the climb into the park. I bumped into the rangers about 10km in, who informed me that the trail turn off was hard to find and that the distance from where I was now was going to be another 50km until I reached the far end of the park where I would be meeting Vickie.

Not only was I going to struggle to find where I was going, but the terrain was steeper than I had anticipated and my day had now turned in to 80km with 50km to run in 3hrs before it became dark.......not going to happen, but I pushed as hard as I could for the afternoon.

I was still making my way down the spur line when the sunset. I had phone reception for a while as I was up high and communicated with Vickie my whereabouts and how long I was likely to be!

It was pitch black when I crossed the creek at the bottom of the spur and chest deep. Not one star in the sky and no moon to be heard of, bringing me to a walking shuffle. Stupidly I had packed everything but my head torch. I used my mobile phone to shed just a little light on trail...nothing.

It was a long a painful 10km to the pickup point, and poor old Vickie had been worried sick!

Luckily safe and sound another lesson leaned and another story to tell!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Day 113……………………………Dam and Dogs.

Of course it was still raining when I got up this morning, it had been raining all through the night as well and I could only imagine what the river was doing at the end of the road. Today was the day I would be practicing my kayaking skills and would be surfing the white wash to get to the other side of the river.
Rod the farmer was up and about already and was in his garage, I suspect getting the gear ready for my paddle over. But Rod had been having second thoughts about me kayaking across as the rain just hadn’t let up since having the idea to paddle across the day before. Vickie had also been up during the night worrying about me making the crossing too. It was after all, not just raging, but full of branches and logs getting washed down from upstream.
I was excited about the new idea of getting to the trail the other side; it wasn’t half as dangerous which makes for a poor video on YouTube, but was going to be way more fun! Rod opened his garage door and there on the trailer was a supercharged jet ski. We would drive 4km up the road to the dam I passed yesterday, he would then take me over and I would have to run an extra 2km back down to the river crossing, a small detour and added mileage, but well worth it I thought.
Still raining we launched off from the boat ramp at one hell of a speed, leaving Vickie in a white wake of water with the still camera in one hand and the video camera in the other, I waved her good bye while clinging on tight as we raced across the dam.
30 seconds later I was jumping off at the other side, thanked Rod and waved him off as he left me in the same wake as Vickie got. It was now time for me to get on with my 55km day, now made 57km with the added detour.
JetSkiing the BNT
The track on the opposite side made its way up to the top of the range a fairly steep climb. It then went up and down for almost 4km before I made it to the junction where I would have come to if I had crossed the river. Now a 59km day I needed to get moving as time was getting on and I had a day running through the network of tracks that made up the Good Night Scrub National Park.
I got onto a nice little single track that made its way up in to the forest, it was still raining heavily and visibility wasn’t great. I saw some movement up ahead, as I got closer I realised it was three dingos. After over 3000km and warnings of wild dogs and dingos all the way along the route, this was a first and I didn’t really know how to tackle them. I’m sure that a “sit”, “Fetch” or “down boy” wouldn’t do the trick, so I picked up a giant stick not so they could chase it because I’m sure that wouldn’t work either. I yelled out and whistled, two of them ran straight away and the other hung around for a while, so I waved the stick and made more noise and he was off then too.
The trail I was on wasn’t even on the map or my Garmin, but I had seen a BNT maker so knew I was heading sort of in the right direction.
The trail then took a steep descent to a T intersection, where I needed to turn left, no marker once again I had to head towards where the Garmin would have popped me out if I hadn’t come down the unknown track. I couldn’t really work out where I was, I seemed to be going around in circles, something wasn’t right with my map, either way I went I was going in the wrong direction. I decided that I would take the most logical way, meaning that if the trail isn’t marked at a junction just go straight ahead. It was a mistake, because 10km later I didn’t see another maker and was heading well away from my waypoint for the end of the day.
I had two choices head the 10km back to where I had been and hope that I could figure out where to go from there, but this meant that I would be adding another 20km to what was a 57km day already and it was getting late in the day and still pouring down. Or, and this is what I went with, run the 30km to the highway the way I was already heading and get picked up by Vickie there. That way I would still run the distance I had set myself for the day just in a slightly off course direction.
I sat in the Maui disappointed that I hadn’t taken the exact route, but looking at the hard map I was only a little way off ending up close to where I should have been. It looks like it was a blessing in disguise I later found out that the trail was now missing as there was a new mine site, meaning that I would have had to make a detour around it anyway. Funny how things turn out?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Day 111.....................Mixture of All Sorts!

Rain, Cranky Old Wemen, Mandarin Oranges, No Markers, Spanish lessons, Unpassable Rivers, English House sitters and Prawns???

That’s what the BNT dished out today, what a bizarre mixture of things to have on a trail run. As a trail runner, I have seen my fair share of oddities along the trails of Australia, but it’s not until running on Australia’s National Trail that I have come across all things odd, and people tend to be heading it.

Rain; something not so different, living in Melbourne and originally coming from the UK, I have had my fair share of rainy days both on and off the trails. The difference now is that I have ran 3000km across this great country with three rain days before hitting Queensland, where at this time of year it shouldn’t be raining at all. Here’s me thinking I’m leaving the worst of it behind me and heading into the sun, and Queensland decides to do what it normally doesn’t and piss it down!

Cranky Old Wemen; I have come across plenty of these in my time and not all of them old. But, today’s came in the form of a Grey Nomad. In fact it was Vickie that got hit up first over something as simple as laundry. Old people annoy me, well not generally, but when retired, touring the country with plenty of time to do the things you like, you would think that they would be happy. Not the case when you use a washing machine that they always use on a Saturday at 8am, you really don’t want to upset their schedule, because they don’t have all day to do things like that, yes, I am being sarcastic.

Mandarins; I’m not talking about the people, but the massive supply of oranges that we have on board the Maui Mothership as present. I’m sure the fuel consumption will go up. The first load came this morning from a lovely older lady at the campsite we stayed at last night, clearly the opposite of the above. A carry bag full of juicy ones that they had been given from some guys that worked on an orchid near where they stayed the night before, it funny how people like to feed you up, they send you on your way with all manner of foods, lucky for me this time it was a healthier option. Then tonight we met the owner of an Orchard and yes, just one that so happened to grow mandarins! Looks like I should be right with my vitamin C for a while!

No Markers; Nothing new here either, but today I learnt that the station I have been through has been taking them down straight after the coordinator had put them up. Obviously this makes life difficult, even when using a GPS it’s nice to see a marker now and again so you know you’re defiantly heading in the right direction. Some of these stations are massive, it’s not unusual to be running through what can be thousands of acres without any type of road or trail to follow. Some of these station owners don’t like people coming through their land for one reason or another, hiding something no doubt. But, by taking down the marker, they have travellers all over their land looking for a way out, rather than just following the markers. Simple!

Spanish Lessons; Its funny, I had this idea of learning Spanish while running the trail. The idea was that I would carry an iPodCDs buy a farmer called Rod and his wife who’s property we parked out the front of last night. We only when in to ask if it was OK to be camping on the trail that passed straight passed their place. Next thing we know, we are having cups of tea in front of the fire, I had a great hot shower and we got some local knowledge. Just as well we did get the inside scoop as to what was going on locally, as I found out the bridge was washed out that I would be supposedly crossing in the morning.

Unpassable River; Unpassable due to the bridge being washed out many years ago. Rod explained that normally you could make your way across easily, but with the nonstop rain that we have been getting the last week, things were a little different down there. It had become raging rapids due to the over spill of the Dam 5km up river. I tested the waters while Rod was there, but I only made in two meters from the banks I was waist deep and had no footings. Rod said we would sort it out in the morning with me kayaking over and him pulling it back when I was over.

English House Sitters; he front of the farm looked a little like a campsite with our Mothership parked up next to another caravan. We later found out that the English couple in it were going to be house sitting the farm while the owners when away, looks like we were lucky meeting them when we did!

Prawns; 3000km hit! What an achievement getting ever so close now to the finish in Cooktown. Vickie surprised me with a seafood delight, a large plate with beautiful fresh prawns and all the trimmings that go with it, how does she do it, and why am I so lucky? It’s always a surprise when I hit the 1000’s mark and I still have another couple of them to go, what will she come up with next?

3000km is a long way through the great divide. I didn’t really know how far I’d come until looking on the map. I find it hard to believe I have come that far on foot, especially with the terrain, weather and wildlife I have had to contend with. In some ways it feels like Australia isn’t as big as I first thought if you can travel such a long way in a relativity short amount of time, and it’s not like the trail heads straight north, it’s pretty indirect at times. Looks like all these 40, 50 and 75km days soon start to add up, when you running them daily.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Day 110................Rain, Rain and More Rain.

It rained all day yesterday, in fact in rained the whole night before as well. I lay in bed that night wondering if we would have the Mothership bogged and have to spend the day trying to get her out.
We had camped at the side of the track in the middle of nowhere, where we seem to be most of the time, the BNT rarely goes through any towns, and the one’s it does you couldn’t really consider to be.
It was a warm morning wet a humid; I was tossing up whether to bother with a rain jacket knowing that it would be coming off within the first 10mins. But then there’s the possibility of it cooling down, me being soaked through and then getting cold. Anything could happen and I was going to be out there for some time with 55km to cover through the overgrown state forest where I would be spending most of the run.
I decided to cover all bases as a true professional should, stop laughing those who know me! The morning would have me climbing up and around a mountain that I can’t remember the name of!
It poured, none stop, even the trees were offering zero shelter, and I was soaked within minutes of being out there. The long grass and shrubs added to the wetness as I brushed by and through them.
I was popped out the other side of the forest on what they call the Old Coach Road, it was old and a road, but of course no coaches these days!
I was welcomed by yet another BNT sign.

For the last 200km or so I have come across these great signs. It’s a really good way to showcase the trail and it’s the first time I have come across anything like it since being on the trail. It baffles me why no matter which sign I come across the distances seem to be the same, not only that , but the overall distances don’t add up to the 5330km that the BNT is advertised at!
Once on the Coach Road I though the rest of the day was going to be easy following it through to Biggenden. The Coach Road turned to trail 5km later and had me bush bashing for another 10km before finding the other side of it.
Still raining, I made my way through the forest on a four wheel drive track. I was feeling pretty good mentally considering the rain was relentless. My knee had the odd feeling of not being fully functional, and this was really noticeable on some of the steeper descents.
The final 20km was on a farm track through a huge staawtion. Looks like the farmer wasn’t happy with the Dingo’s on his land as a sore a couple hanging up in the trees that had been shot. Not a nice sight on any day of the week, but with it being wet and soggy it wasn’t pretty.
I was soon back on a sealed road and making my way in to town. I was looking forward to the finish of today, getting dry and eating!
We checked into a camping park last night. We needed to get some things washed and dried, including myself. It was a change to be having a shower with some space and not timing myself to save water! It rain again all night, and the days not looking to bright at the moment. But, its warm and I’m going running again today so I’m all smiles.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Day 107.............What the....Queensland Weather?

Its been a funny few days for many reasons. Firstly the weathers been a bit all over the place with it raining, being gray, then sunny, then cold, then to hot...sound much like a Melbourne day, but for the best part its been warm.

Vickie mum Linda and her husband Trevor came out for a few days to join us on the BNT, and it turn out to be the worst few days we have had in QLD.....Not because of them! It was great to see them, in fact them being here over that period was a good thing, as the weather was dreary the media meetings a little non magical and the scenery not very pleasing to the eye, typical when you have guest, right?

There has also been this feeling of unfriendliness in this area. Its not that we haven't come across any great people because we have. I had just one of those great people track me down quite literally by using the SpotTracker., so he could shake my hand and donate $50.00 to my cause! Simple Amazing, people on this trip are amazing!

But, the people on route in some more remote parts of the countryside have been less friendly and a little odd!

I bumped into one such guy on the top of a hill in the middle of no where, where he had built his house (well shed really). It wasn't until I reached the top that I realised there was a property there and a very unfriendly dog to go with it.

After a few #$%$ &^#@( &^&$ words with the dog it backed away and the came the owner who had a few of the same words in return to me, watched on by his 7 year old son! Not a nice thing to be witnessing.

To cut a very long and swear ed filled story short. He didn't want anybody coming through his land and was either going to shoot them or have his dogs chew their legs off! I tried to defuse the situation a little, then I got the response "would you like a Mandarin from my orchard" strange I know, so I joined him for an orange some more complaining, before he decided that he would wish me luck and explain the way through his property. Bazaar to say the least, but it would be an adventure if people were always so nice!

It was nice to have some new and familiar faces at the end of each day. We didn't do much really the whole time Vickie's mum was here, but I think it was good for them to take time out of their busy work life to spend some time just relaxing in the Maui Mother Mothership so we called it!

Its been warm today, wet, but warm, and the forecast for the next few days are the same with the sunshine coming back on Saturday, in time for the weekend that makes no difference to me!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Day 104............Hard Start, Strong Finish.

I was nervous this morning. I was worried about my knee playing up on today’s run. Yesterday’s last 8km was hard work due to the consent pain. It started off only when I was running downhill, then up hill, and of course just when I ran.

Vickie had spent the evening putting me through more pain in the hope to get things back to normal, if there is such a thing when running as far as I am each day?

I spent the morning back on the roller, and yet more pain. Sometimes I feel like the only time I escape some sort of pain on this trip is when I’m sleeping, but then there’s the odd nightmare.

I was saved by the pain when Vickie received an early call from SeaFM part of the AusStereo Network, for a brief interview for their show on Monday, funny how these radio stations work… “We now cross live over to long distance runner Richard Bowles, as he takes time out from the trail to chat with us”…. No you’re not, you just playing a recording from three days ago, that we did over the phone, I love how they jazz things up, like what I’m doing already isn’t a little different anyway!

The first 24km of the day would take me over rolling countryside through the cattle stations. Vickie could go ahead a little for this part as it was made up of sealed and dirt roads, leading down to Macumber Station, where I would be bush bashing the next 15 plus K’s to meet with her the far side of the valley.

It was a quit day with plenty of sunshine and a breeze that made you shiver a little, but, perfect for running.

The knee was alright; I could run, just not as well as I would normally. I shuffled between meeting Vickie for a drink and a pick me up.

We finally got to Macumber Station, and I made my way through the farm gate and up through the first field. I was hoping to be meeting Vickie between 1.5 and 2 hours later, you just never know when there is no trail to follow.

When on the top of spurlines or deep within tree field gulley’s, you realise just how insignificant you really are, just a speck on the planet. I climbed up to the top of the first spur after scrambling under numerous barbed wire fences to get there. I was hoping for some sort of perspective on things, but this is when I realised how massive some of these stations are and how quickly you are removed from civilisation.

It’s the first time I have felt like that since being in QLD. I think I have got way to comfortable with the easy access and navigation that QLD has had to offer so far. However, this was only 15km of navigation, compared to 75km which I have done before.

 8km in and I pick up an old track and there was the first BNT marker for the day. The track behind me lead its way in to a disused mine that they used for mining gold many moons ago. It was eerie, there were no warning signs or signs of any life for that matter, I could have just walked right in to the mine site, just out here in the middle of nowhere. But, this also meant that I could be confident that this track would be cut right the way up to the road where I would be finishing for the day.

 Some sections of the trail where overgrown and I kept picking up spikes from the weeds that covered the track, the tops of my socks look like a porcupine.

I kept coming across these black birds with a red saggy neck that looked like turkeys, perhaps they were wild ones I had heard about them. There were also more wild pigs out today, but one of them took some convincing to clear off, and I made all manner of noises to shoo him away if anyone was around they would think I had been smoking something!

 The trail climbed steeply toward the turn off point, but when I got there the trail was completely grown over and for the 6km I had to go I knew I could be out there for hours as it dropped down in to a gulley.

 I decided that my best chance would be to stay on the trail I was on and take the turn for the forestry road that ran almost parallel with the trail I was meant to take and would only add 2km extra, but 2km in better than getting caught up and lost in a over grown gulley.

Once at the road I tried my luck with the mobile to find I had a full signal, I called Vickie to let her know my new plans and 30mins later I as finished and eating sandwiches that Vickie had made.

On reflection of my day I realised I had ran the last 15km pain free. I’m not sure if getting of the tarmac had anything to do with it, but I’m guessing my bodies telling me to stick to pure trail, its what I do its who I am.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Day 103…………………….Why Run Long?

Yet another late start to the day, normally it bothers me to be leaving so late in the day, I like to get out there and knock off the set mileage for the day with plenty of day light up my sleeve and the option to add a few km’s if I’m feeling good. But, this morning I must have needed the sleep in as both me and Vickie missed the alarm clock and it took me a while to get myself together.
I was awake by the time I got off the foam roller…no prizes for guessing why!
Once out on the trail, I was back out what I like doing. There hasn’t really been a day where I need to really motivate myself to get out of the Motheship, Even on mornings where I really can’t be bothered; I still want to go run, just not first up. But what I do know is that if you don’t just get up and get on with it, time quickly disappears or tiredness sets in.
The motivation thing comes up a fair bit, I’m always asks what motivates me to go out there every single day and run a marathon plus over the mountains, rain, hail or shine, and trust me Ive had all three! There is a simple answer…..Because I love it.
Its easy to do something you like doing. No one has to motivate themselves to eat chocolate or go to the pub on a Friday night for a few beers. Why? Because you like doing it. Running is one of those things that the best part of the population do, because they feel they should, rather than for the pure love of it, there isn’t many of us like that, but the few of us that run for fun are the ones that take it to the extremes and go run regardless of injury, weather or family commitments.
Today’s run started with a climb up in to the hills at the back of Nanango with views all around. The trail then headed towards the State forest, which I hugged for the best part of 15km.
The rest of the day would be spent in the undulated country side through huge cattle stations and on to Elgin Vale, which is marked on the map as a town, but Vickie past it on her way in to find me and said it was just another station.
I was happy to see Vickie as I was tired. I started out great, but come the afternoon, I was struggling a little.
My days out on the trail seem to be very different in terms of how I’m feeling. It’s not always due to the terrain either, it just seems that some days I’m on fire and others flat, no real pattern, but I’m happy to say that for most days I’m loving every moment of it!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Day 102..................Eagles to Poems.

Freezing start to the morning, by QLD standards anyway!

The first 10km was on a sealed road out the back of town, just nicely undulated through the trees and towards the valley that would take me to Nanango.

Once at the start of the valley the trail took a steep and rough decent, which made it fun to be dodging the giant boulders and huge cracks that made up the trail.

Once on the valley floor I followed a very rough four wheel drive track that offered some magnificent scenery with its gentle walls, tree filled and long grass that changed colour depending what angle you looked at it.

The creek was up and the crossing was more like a river crossing as the water came well above knee height.

An eagle flew over head and followed me for about KM, I watch trying not to trip as he left his shadow in front of me.

I would scare red deer know and again and they would run up the valley sides and disappear into the long grass before I could get a picture of them.

The end of the run was a climb out of the valley and then a sealed road in to town where I met Vickie for a late lunch, before knocking out another 10km to make up for what I missed yesterday.

Then in dawned on me that I am now over the halfway mark!! No celebration as in only realised  that I had crossed over that mark as we were working out what we were going to have for dinner.

So, as our usual evening celebrations go we went to the local RSL tonight for a dinner and a couple of beers!

The state of origin was on and the place was busy. We met a very kind and generous guy from NZ who was interested in our story and passionate about the work we are doing with SANE.

A long story, but, his daughter is having a struggle with mental health at present and he is terminally ill. We sat and listened as he shared his story, and thanked us for what we were doing for others.

As we were living he gave us this poem about the things he had learnt from us in such a short space of time.

Why do people from the coldest place always have the happy face? people like kiwis, us who care I wish you people were everywhere.
Just because I'm dying, please you people don't stop trying, just like birds to a feather, I hope your guys stick together.
Even tough we have had some laughs, please (forest) run your path.
I guess people like me need to go, for people like you that need to grow. xx

Its a wonderful feeling knowing that your making a difference in the world, it sometimes feels like your doing nothing while you are out there pushing forward out of your comfort zone. Its little moments like these that make it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Day 101......................Tough By Their Standards

The BNT has many coordinators that look after different sections of the route. I understand that it is their job to make sure that the trail is marked and cleared , as well as liaising with land owners and campsites that the trail runs through or passes. They are an amazing team of people that give up their time for free to take care of the trail just for the love of it!

These are the same great people that welcome us into their homes, make sure we know where we are going, give us gifts of homemade fruit cakes and the like, and just all round great people that are passionate about what they do and  care for others.

However, and yes, there is just one thing that most of these wonderful people have in common. They all think that their section is the toughest!

Toughness is hard to measure, for instance; I like to run mountains, lung busting glute pumping ascents that make your calf's want to split and then the roller coaster technical single track that terrifies you on the steep descents from the top that if you tripped you would brake everything!

Now, that to me isn't tough, just fun and what mountain and trail running is all about. A 15% incline on a dirt road isn't a climb in fact it isn't worth noting as a slope, as with a few loose pebbles on a steep decent, it isn't high risk stuff.

Its great that people want to look after your welfare, but comments like "Its going to be some tough going up there" and "its a real steep decent, please be be careful its hard taking a horse down there" just dont need to be made.

Firstly horses and humans or trail runner for that matter are different. I have learnt this first hand after my run with the horses through Canberra. I'm faster than the average horse, I'm not scared of steep drops on loose ground and I certainly don't get spooked at a passing car.

The BNT is full of life threatening terrain and situations, but these are the same places that many of the coordinators havnt traversed themselves, even if its there section!

Queensland has had more of this talk, about it having some "toughness". The truth is that since arriving in QLD the trail so far has been easy going or at least relative to some places I have been, and there is still such a long way to go and anything can change.

But listen up people, I have crossed rivers up to my neck, 43 times in a day in one place, scaled rock walls to avoid obstacles, bashed my way through harsh scrub down steep spur lines, gone under, over and through electric, barbed wire fences and been chased by all manner of wildlife as well as getting lost for hours at a time, all this on top of running high mileage days. Dirt roads are not a challenge, neither are sealed ones of any degree!

Ok, enough about me being the Pat Farmer, Bear Gryls crossbreed if there was such a thing.

What happened today. We slept in the FoodWorks carpark in a town called Nanago as we had a media gathering there at 7:30am

Marnie the store manager had organised a bunch of great things. They had the local radio broadcast live at the store where I had an interview and asked people to come down and support us with the gold coin donation BBQ that the store had also put on.

Then it was a interview with the towns local paper, followed by another radio station where I crossed live and then another paper that was regional, busy morning meeting the locals and giving FoodWorks, the trail and SANE a plug, and after the photo shoot the day before I was tired before I had even headed out on the trail for the day!

Vickie took me to the starting point of today's run. The first section would have me following the rail trail from Blackbutt and then over the valleys to Nanago. It was a great afternoon, sun shining but not overly warm with nice flat easy going.

It was all good until once again K's were being added. The first section was meant to be 15km but after and hours running with 12km still left to go I knew of course it had to be much longer, typical of BNT, it always has something to through up.

Just after that section and heading into the second part of the day, my right knee decided to play up again. I say again, as its been coming and going for a number of days, but I have seemed to have managed it with the good old foam roller. But today I couldn't shake it.

This sums up the ease of QLD so far in three points.

I called Vickie. Firstly there is phone reception. She was going to have to pick me up so I could spend the afternoon knocking this little niggle on the head, secondly, she could just drive to where I was and pick me up. I decided that I would end my run there for the day only knocking of 25km or so and would add the remaining mileage to my 40km run tomorrow, and finally I'm able to just add one day to another, because I know the goings easier!

So we have found this little campsite that is free in a great location with hot showers and power, I have rolled my ITB to bits and we are going to snuggle up and watch a movie together, something else that takes some of that toughness away.

Until tomorrow anyway.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Day 100...............................Who am I????

Day 100...............................Who am I????

Since crossing over into the sunshine state of Queensland, the trip has become more social. I don’t know if it’s because people are extra friendly here or the fact that the trail makes its way through many more small towns on its route, or at least for now anyway.

We have been extremely busy having dinner with section coordinators, meeting land owners that the trail passes through and having events with our sponsors, it all fantastic and can only benefit all involved but for us it’s been a tiring week or so, more so than banging out K’s on the trail, which or course I have been doing still every day.

So where have we been and with who?

When arriving in Kilarney which is the town just over the QLD border we bumped into a lady called Sonia, who we heard was the town runner, she often runs to the next town and back the locals told us. We caught up with her at her work place at the Saw Mill and Vickie arranged to run with her early the next day while I slept some more. She was training for her fist marathon at the Gold Coast where we heard she ran a 4:27. Well Done Sonia!

From Kilarney, the BNT route went through the Condamine Gorge. Its was nice easy going crossing over the Condamine River 15 time or so between huge walls of rock and bush scrub that made up the gorges sides.

I was then met by Ben from TRAQ (Trail Running Association of Queensland) as well as Danny and Russ his team mates for the up and coming Kakoda challenge in QLD. It was nice to have some company for a change, just a shame that the trail wasn’t as amazing as it had been, but beautiful none the less.

Next, was being met by the Toowoomba Chronicle when running on the town’s fringe for a photo shoot and story. It was a wet day, as was the previous two, something that has rarely happened on this run so far!

It was nice to reach the town of Toowoomba, it was like being in the big smoke from where we have been since leaving Canberra, and they had traffic lights something we haven’t seen for a while!

We would have a busy few days here. We stayed with the Section Coordinators for this section Pauline and John Dewyer, who spoilt us rotten with great meals and let us feel like we were at home, well, the Maui feels like home these days.

The follow day saw us at the ABC studios early for an interview, before heading off to yet another FoodWorks store visit in North Toowoomba for a sausage sizzle and a Q&A with the local community, which happened to be a lot of people as we broadcasted it when having our interview on the ABC that morning.

That night we had dinner with yet another coordinator at Murphy’s Creek, where we were once again spoilt with goodies, these guys owned a chilli chocolate business and Lyn and her son Jack made sure we had enough chocolate to last us the trip, as well as making us two fruit cakes and a bunch of chilli condiments which will really be spicing up things on the trail.

The following afternoon we met with another one of our sponsors Nacap Australia. Mark the CEO, as well as Vera and Susan stopped and had a coffee with us on their way back from a bit of a road show in the QLD bush.

Then, and yes there is more. We met with a guy called Mushgang a fellow trail traveller, but I will come back to that later……..

Last night we met with more BNT coordinators Bruce and Beril and had dinner at their home with some fellow POM’s that happen to be their neighbours.

……and today we had Tim Miller out from DreamSports Photo for some trail shots for the RM Williams Magazine story that’s coming up! And then there’s been the running of back to back marathons in-between all that, sometimes it’s hard to remember that’s what I’m here for with all this other great stuff that comes along.

Meeting with BNT coordinators seems to be a regular thing for us; many travel the trail with horses, knocking off 15 or maybe 20km at a time and taking months to get through each guide book. But for me, I’m doubling the distances and sometime tripling the distances each day, turning the year plus journey into 5.5 months!

This leads me to Mushgang……

Born in the mountains of Switzerland and arriving in Australia in 1978, Martin which is his real name has been on the BNT for the past 6 years and still isn’t quit half way. When arriving in Australia he went and lived in the north with the aborigines’ where he learnt his bush skills and they gave him the name Mushgang. He then moved closer to civilisation for a while where he got his builders licence, before heading out on the trail with his two horses, Fritz and Oskar. That’s his story in a nutshell, but living on the trail is what he’s been doing for all this time now and not just living on the trail but living off the land too, using his bush skills that he learnt all those years before.
Me and the legend thats Bushman Mushgang.

That said, we had wild pig for dinner the night we met with him, cooked of course in a camp oven on a fire. He’s been living in one of the many huts along the route for the last few months getting over some sickness before continuing his journey south. Amazing story and even more amazing guy, If I didn’t have a deadline to stick to and a beautiful girl friend to look after, I would probably go and do the same as him, and be the Cabello Blanco of Australia, running up and down the trail and living off the land!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Day ????? Running, Streaching, of course Eating, Social Media, Diary, Radio Interviews, Paper Interviews, Video Uploading.........Blogging.

I’ve been slack on the blog front for a week or so now, not so much slack, but have been really concentrating on the running as that’s what I’m here to do, and have been doing day in day out for nearly 13 weeks. It’s taken me well and truly over the 2000km mark and the last crossing over the border and into Queensland. I also worked out that over that time I have run 58 mountain marathons on average, which blows my mind, so how non-runners or social runners get there head around me doing that every day over some of Australia’s toughest terrain and with a full pack, I do not know.
The day after the 73km bush bash and river swims of The Guy Fawkes National Park left me 38km away from the 2000km milestone. I was sore that morning and tired from what was a difficult day out running that 73km section.
Vickie was energetic and was pushing me to get me moving and reach that 2000km mark where ever it may have been. Me, I wasn’t really that bothered, I was stiff, sore and tired and it wouldn’t have bothered me if I reached that mark the next day.
10km in and I hadn’t warmed up, my quads where repeatedly asking me to stop, but I was this far in so I carried on.

It was great that Vickie could spend the day with me and take the burden of my pack for the day, leaving me to just plod away in my own thoughts, thoughts of wanting to curl up with a latte on the Maui sofa.

30km in and Vickie had organised all the campers at the site I was passing to come out and cheers me on, a great little booster, just what I needed, she must of known I wasn’t my enthusiastic self!
8km of climbing would have me hit that next 1000km and see me in the pub celebrating on another milestone of this massive run.

Celebrations were cut short as the following day I was back it, it was going to be a short run though after having a late start and the weather wasn’t the best, raining, well drizzling really for only the third time on the trip!
I was in a great mood and joked and giggled all afternoon as I ran in the rain.

We set up camp in the middle of the farm track we were on, as I could just step out the van early the next morning and just get on with the next day, I tell you, there’s no rest on this run.
The next day the weather was better, overcast and no rain and a good opportunity to crank lout some KM.

15km in and I come across Vickie parked up at a farm gate talking with a local cattleman. The next section of the days run would take me through Ben’s land and over into Washpool National Park and through a valley of yet more private land and a huge cattle station.
That night Vickie cooked up a storm at Bens place, and I enjoyed a few beers with him learning a bit about what goes on in the world of the cattleman. It was nice of him to let us into his place for a drink and a chat and we ended up camping out the front of his place after turning down the offer of sleeping on the sofa in front of his log fire, not sure why we did that!

Late start again the time we had finished up brekkie and said our good byes to Ben.
Today I would be running through Washpool NP before spending the day running through some very remote private land.

It was a hard day to navigate, the trail was non-existent which made it fun, getting lost, crossing creeks, jumping fences both barbed and electric, as well as getting my shoes full of grass seeds due to the length of it around these parts, which made me think of snakes more so than I have before. It wasn’t until I reached the four wheel drive track towards the end of the day until I saw one, and only the third of the trip.

Not bitten, but a little beaten up from scrub and slippery sharp rocks, I made it to the finish for the day some 54km later.

The next day was only 30km from one main road to the next, I only needed to go over three valleys for the day, it was much of what the day offered before which made for a longer day than expected, but fun all then same.
Boonoo Boonoo National Park……..what a name. The run today would be on a dirt road that went straight through the middle of Boonoo x 2 NP. It was another opportunity for Vickie to join me for the day and for me to have a break from my pack. The day would finish in a tiny town called Liston. I say tiny as most towns out this way in Australia can sometimes only have three houses, but liston had one!

The following day would be border crossing day. Queensland here I come! I would be taken the dirt highway to the border before heading along the rabbit proof fence, not in Queensland and not in New South Wales, just a sort of no-mans land. This would take me across more private land before finally crossing the border for the final time of this trip and in to sunny Queensland…….and it was.

Since the hop skip and jump into QLD it seems the trail has become way more accessible with the Maui Mothership. This has made Vickie very happy, but it means for me as a trail runner some unhappy days out there on some sealed roads, and as I have mentioned many times before its not where I like to be, but it seems to be good for knocking off some distance....