Saturday, 4 April 2015
This walk was steep. Almost unrelentingly steep from just a few minutes into it until we reached the top about 2 hours and 20 minutes later. We rested every 30 minutes on the way way up, so the total walking time uphill was just under 2 hrs.
Mt Strzelecki forms part of the legendary 3 peaks race, a race where teams must sail to nearby ports then disgorge their undoubtably seasick runners to run to the top of one of three peaks and return, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. Jon's dad competed in the 3 peaks race in the late 80s, when he was team mates with legendary ultra marathon runner Yiannis Kouros. Unfortunately I can't seem to find out how they went that year as there aren't many results on-line, however to even complete the single run on Flinders Island which constitutes about 58kms of gravel road, with the 3k ascent with 736 m vertical climb thrown in at the half way point, is very very impressive.
Today we were walking with Andy, Alexa and young Lyra who had arrived safely the night before. We are so close to the airport that we can actually hear their plane taxi along the run way. Luckily there are only two flights a day!
Anyway, as I mentioned this walk goes straight up, it's also rocky and rugged underfoot - similar in terrain to Mt Amos but with less smooth rock faces to negotiate, just rugged steps and roots. The trail is listed as taking 4-5 hours but I was a bit worried that we might take up to 7 hours given how much slower we were than the advertised time the day before, and the fact that two out of the previous three walking groups in the registration book had taken over 6 hours!
Zali on our way up.
The trail went through all types of vegetation, from tea tree scrub, to gums, to stunted alpine shrubs, as well as passing by gorgeous steams and beautiful waterfalls. Right up at the top there was intermittent cloud cover which was occasionally eerie until it cleared and gave us great views down below.
Celebrating on the top!
The cloud sweeping across the sky
Back at the bottom we drove to Trousers Point which was just a few minutes away and went for a quick swim in the almost deserted bay.
On our first break about 30 minutes into the walk we could see way down to our car and we noticed a car had parked behind us. We were going reasonably slowly because of the kids, so I thought to myself that it would not be long before we saw those walkers come past us. Surprisingly we didn't see them at all until we were on our way down, having spent a good half an hour savouring the top of the climb, and being already 20 minutes into the descent. The other group looked like it contained two parents and two teenage children. They must have slowed up even further as their car was still parked at the bottom after we had spent more than an hour swimming and playing on the beach. I guess that's the sort of pace which makes the walk take more than 6 hours and I hope they made it back ok! All of our kids really did well today - as it would have been their steepest walk ever. Lyra had her ups and downs which was fair enough as she's only 9 and it was a great effort to finish. Zali was stoic despite getting a blister on the sole of her foot early on, and Jett just bounced up and down it with no problems at all.
Another spectacular day on a spectacular island!
Tomorrow I think we will be giving the walking a miss as we've allowed the kids to design the day. First up will be an Easter egg hunt, which will be followed by a day of Killiekrankie diamond hunting! I'm looking forward to it!