Saturday, 31 March 2012

Day Seven……………….Mountain Rescue!
This morning it was hard for me to leave the Maui Mother Ship. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go running, I just didn’t want to go straight the way. Did my body know it was a Saturday Morning and perhaps just wanted the lie in? I wanted to just laze around sip my coffee and snuggle under the doona for a little longer, and when it started to rain, I really just wanted to do all that stuff!
I decided to take the Black Diamond pack, as it was a little larger and as the weather didn’t know what it wanted to do, I thought it might be safe to pack my rain gear, as well as some warmer base layers, as we were now official in the Alpine Country and the wind was chilly.
I plodded down the dirt road waving to Vickie as I do every morning looking for the turn off to the Australia Alpine Walking Track. The Garmin beeped and beeped for the turn off, but it was nowhere to be found. After about 10mins of checking out all the trees for a track mark, there it was the yellow triangles that mark the route for this trail. But, there was something not right. It just went in to solid bush no trail to be had. I followed the map on the Garmin for a while, but it was no good, it was a real bush bash and I had no idea where I was really going. As I studied the map, I could see that the track ran parallel with the road I ran down from last night’s camp and doubled back on itself. So, I decided to go back to the road run back to the camp and join the Australia Alps Walking Track from a track that was opposite our camp! The same distance just a long way of doing it!
Views from Australian Alpine Walking Track

Once on the right track the running was great, no hard or long climbs, just an undulated trail winding its way through the beauty of the alpine region. I was knocking off some K’s and putting a lot of distance away. If the trail stayed like this I could keep this pace up and finish the day a little early for a change.
I stopped for a sandwich at a cross roads at about 1pm with only 8km to go I could be done and dusted by 2pm. I left the main trail and headed down Middle Spur Track. It was one of those tracks that clearly hadn’t been used for a while and I had to watch my step as I ran through shrubs that had covered parts of it……and then more parts of it and then. Before I knew it I had no idea where the track was, but new if I was following the track on my Garmin then at least I was heading in the right direction.
After a while I could see that I had been going around in a circle, as my Garmin struggled to get a signal through the mass of growth. So which way was a supposed to be going? I tried getting a signal without much luck and decided that I would head down the side of the spur as that is where I thought I should be going and it would take me to a river which is always a better place to be if you’re a little lost.
I made it half way down the spur through the rich bush growth, tripping, Sliding falling and bashing myself up, before the steep downhill became a 100m cliff face! I had no way of getting down from here, but it gave me a view of the river and the road below where I needed to be. But how the hell was I going to get down from here?
More tripping, bashing and getting whipped and cut by shrubs and bushes, I couldn’t see a thing for thick bush. I thought of those Sunday afternoon documentaries where people go missing when taking a hiking trip, and as much as I want to get a lot of media attention for Run BNT, I didn’t want it in the form of a helicopter evacuation on Day Seven of a 5.5 month run!
Calm Richard, think about this, I just needed to follow that little line on my mapping device, 3 hours of bush bashing, bleeding from cuts and slashes I made the river. For three hours today I covered less than 3km, doubling back on myself and in fear that I might just have to push that big red button on my Spot Tracker GPS safety device! That really was the worst thing that could happen, I would just have to sit tight in the bush for a few hours before, and hopefully somebody came to the rescue. It was funny that I decided to take the big pack with a few extras this morning, luckily I didn’t need to use them, but it goes to show just how easy it is to get yourself in a pickle in this part of Australia!
I ran through the river up on to the road and gave out a big YES, then turned around and gave the mountain a big V sign, as if to say, “is that all you’ve got”
Just a 4km run up the dirt road to get to the finishing and the meeting point for the day. I met a couple of four-wheel drivers on the way back, looks like Vickie had been worried and was getting everybody to look out for me.
Over dinner tonight I found that she had a bit of a day herself, but I leave it up to hear to tell you about that one!
Day seven, nearly became Day Mountain Rescue, but finished as Day Seven Happy to be back in the Maui, with another story to tell the grandkids!

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