Monday, November 30, 2009

November 23-29

For my own record later:
Mon: 3k swim with Animal and channel swimmer
Tue: run, standard AM home loop with BMMC
Wed.... swim I think at lunch?
Thur: run AM BMMC hill circuit,
PM 51min mini tri with refs at Penruf Lakes
Fri: cant remember, maybe nothing
Sat: 2hrs with Scam in national park, enjoyable yet achey morning
PM 1k swim
Sun: Beach swim and 2k run
PM 2hr run out to Grose LO,& down track for swim, 16:57 up stairs from Grose with Shogun, Dr Phil and Welsh Exchange student(Noted 5th late run from last 6 starts, but who is counting)

No structure to anything, and very heavy, trying to do something of an intense nature every 2 or 3 days as a minimalists way of maintaining the system, feeling "Fit, Fat" - a new fitness level term I just invented (Ok I stole it from someone else who said it).

Monday, November 23, 2009

BMMC’s 6 Foot Track High Altitude Training Camp

The BMMCs first training clinic in the lead up to 2010 was held last Thursday at the Kedumba High Altitude Training Facility (BMMC-KHATF).

The clinic was held in unhospitably hot & dry conditions last week, starting behind the old hospital and including laps of Kedumba pass. After a fast 38min group decent(according to Mister G) to Jamison Creek, it was time for a dip in the murky cool waters of the Jamison.

On the return climb up Kedumba, it was Prince and Princess Donga’s at both the front and tail ends of the main ascending pack. But it was Action Man who set the early pace, keeping the Prince honest on his climb right to the finish – or so I heard as I didn’t figure in any of this action.

Only narrowly behind this action, was the strong BMMC 6 Foot Femme squad working hard as a team to get through the climb together. This type of camaraderie I’m sure will shine through come March 13.

The heat, the hill, the lack of recent physical activity, and a few extra kilos around the waistline all contributed to tough climbing.

The flying Weslhmen, in true keeping with his recent form, made it for 3 consecutive late runs in a row – hitting the Creek after the murky waters had settled from the Bilpin runner’s and my earlier frolic.

J-Glen and Prince Donga being the only two runners who actually made more than one rep of Kedumba, with J-Glen still out there, alone in the dark, long after the Watermelon was finished off by the main group.

All up a good hot late afternoon run in beautiful yet tough surrounds. Thanks to the aid station volunteers and clinic organiser mister G.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Eagles Reach – Out of Reach, Yet Again

Trip Report: 14/11/09
Sleep Train
Scam Bullant

The Wollemi NP is half a million hectares of remote creeks, canyons and ridge tops. Apart from rare trees (like the Wolemi Pine) it also has some of the most significant Aboriginal rock art sites known to us. Locating these sites and then walking to them (for those who don’t own a helicopter) is a massive challenge. You could easily spend 2 life times walking around the Wollemi – and apart from seeing some of the most spectacular and rugged bush in Australia, find nothing but leeches, bruises and brown snakes.

So, it was with much anticipation that on Saturday I headed off into the Wollemi with two other BMMC members for a day of scrub bashing in search of the elusive “Dingos Lair” Indigenous rock art site, or, to make any other discoveries of ancient occupation of the Wollemi by its original custodians – the Darug & other tribes that regularly traversed the rugged Wollemi.

I've been looking for arguably the most famous Rock Art site in Australia known as 'Eagles Reach' that was first recorded in 2003. Eagles Reach has significant cutural meaning to the Aboriginals, along with potential global cultual significance due to the age of it. According to my own research and various assumptions, if I could find a cave known as 'Dingos Lair' I would possibly be in the right vacinity of Eagles Reach.... or so my theory goes.

I had deferred this quest in December 2008 when I became distracted with training for a marathon. But now I had some spare time to return to the Wollemi to continue my search.

It was fitting that I was joined by two of the most Senior members of the BMMC in Scam Bullant - a renowned local bush expert & leader of numerous groups on navigational & camping exercises in the remote Euroka Clearing – and the Six Foot Track Marathons own ‘Living Legend No. 2’ – aka LL#2 – a Blue Mtns archaeological expert (now), and the only BMMC member to have completed 24 Six Foot Track marathons so far.

The day started ominously at 6:30am when my MTB was unceremoniously ripped off the roof of Scams 4WD by a low hanging tree as we entered LL#2’s driveway at Faulconbridge. After I removed pieces of my MTB from the tree half of it was now hanging in, we headed off up Putty Road to our starting point on the Drip Rock Fire Trail.

Little time was wasted getting to the top of the designated Creek we planned to search. Time was 8:15am as we hid the bikes in the middle of the trail and charged off the ridge. In true ‘hardman’ fashion Scam had decided to go bare skinned in the scrub, leaving the long pants and long shirt at home.... time to get the skin acquainted with the serrated edges of Lawyer vine.

We had 6 creek junctions listed on our search map and slowly ticked off each one to no avail, except for the 5th junction where we noticed a series of small grooving marks on the edge of the unnamed creek we were following. The Darug made these grooves to sharpen their tools. However, we couldn’t find the cave known as Dingos Lair that has significant Rock Art. It could be anywhere, combined with any number of possibilities as to why we missed it, or were even in the wrong area completely, who knows? – but the searching is fun and a good excuse to go for a walk in the bush.

As the days temperature heated up we rested for a while for lunch on the creek. At lunch, the Scam promptly dosed off to sleep missing LL#2 regale me with his many training stories leading up to his 4th, 5th, 6th and 19th, 20th and 21st Six Foot track marathons. I’ve already been lucky enough to hear the stories from years 1, 2, 3 and 7 through to 10 previously – I guess I almost have the full set.

Story telling by aboriginal elders was a big part of their culture, and LL#2s story telling (one of my tribes elders) I felt was something the aboriginals who made the grooves we were sitting near, would of appreciated.

The humidity and heat under 7 feet of undergrowth is physically challenging, particularly when climbing with a small pack. Finally, we had to head back to the trail via climbing out of the creek, and then along a winding ridge for 4kms of scrub bashing. LL# 2 later stated he had no idea where we were when travelling this ridge, claiming he couldn’t believe we ended back on the trail? We then walked back to the bikes and rode to Scams car. Time was 6pm. 10 hrs up all with 7-8hrs of tough walking + 2 hrs of Mtn biking.

We were relieved to be out of the bush and enjoyed an ice cream at Windsor.

Coincidentally, the next day LL#2 calls to say there is a talk on Aboriginal rock art sites being held at Lawson by a full time archaeologist who is working on a project recording sites in the Blue Labyrinth, Kings Tableland and Dallawang Ridge area of the catchment.

I was blown away. The archaeologist, Michael Jackson, showed how he had identified over 1,000 occupation, art and grooving sites in his study area, including 140 sites he found on Saturday. It made our 1 small set of grooves seem insignificant and our skills of identification amateurish (which they are). He’d also been to some of the sites LL#2 and I had visited in the Wollemi in 2008, along with providing invaluable intelligence for future searches in the Blue Mtns and Wollemi.

LL# 2 may also now become famous for more than his 24 Six Foot Track completions. After the talk LL#2 took one of the archaeologists to a rock platform near his house in the bush that has a set of potentially very ancient ‘Emu Claw’ groovings. The archaeologist will now be doing a more extensive excavation of this site that LL#2 identified yesterday.