Published on October 4th, 2011 |
by Daniel Boyle
A bit of a walk
We’re into our last week in town in Canberra now, next Tuesday we will take the bus to Sydney, and it’s not many more days and we will be bound for Chile. I decided to do some walking. Some time ago Jonathan and I somehow came up with this VM Challenge. The concept of VM came from the German word for World Cup or World Championship, weltmesiterschaft, which the Germans pronounce vee-emm. Our original challenge was to run up 5 mountains, going by bike between each one.
We never made it to any of those mountains running, but I decided the better idea would be to do the full challenge, walking. I told a couple of others about it and they were keen too, especially if the walking challenge was fuelled by beer. Of course, it never happened, but I had most of a day to kill, and didn’t want to spend it standing in lines.
So the original plan was to go Mt Majura>Mt Ainslie>Black Mountain>Mt Painter>The Pinnacle. Some may argue that The Pinnacle is not a mountain, but none of them really are, and this run made the best case for not having to travel too far between destinations.
Anyhow, I had already walked around 10km before I started my “real” walking, which could explain why I didn’t get to the end. I stopped in Weetangera for a pie, what a weird combination of shops they have there. No supermarket, but they have a publisher…righto.
From the shops I cut across the backstreets and made my way to The Pinnacle. Up a few steps, no worries, there we go. A fairly easy start. So as to not go through any private property, I took the loop track right back around to the main entrance and went on to Mt Painter. I had been up there once before, but it was a bit more of a climb coming from the bottom end. When you come from Cook, the parking area is already some way uphill. It wasn’t too much effort to get up there, however the part that always had me wondering about this trip is where to go between Mt Painter and Black Mountain. I wasn’t sure if it would be better to go through the suburb or Aranda, or to cut through the Aranda Bushland area.
I came down the mountain and decided to head for the bush. This turned out to be the right option, as soon enough I was on the Old Weetangera Road. This must have been one of the first roads heading further out of town. There is a little house just behind the stadium, which is called Weetangera Homestead. This old track, though it is now interrupted a few times by major roads, begins there.
In a previous expedition to Black Mountain I had come across that road, so I knew I was on the right trail. Heading up the Black Mountain trail was a lot more strenuous than my previous efforts, and with the sun on my back, I was definitely feeling the effects. I had to stop for a while and this photo shows a pretty accurate description of how I was feeling.
What a looker…
So at the top I contemplated whether I would pay the entrance fee to go in the Telstra Tower. I decided not too, and just sat on a chair and rested for quite some time. Heading back down I was reminded of what must have been the first time I walked up Black Mountain. Coming down, almost back to the road, there was a bloke with a t-shirt, and absolutely nothing underneath. That sure was a weird sight!
I had never been into the Botanical Gardens before, as most of the times I’ve taken the track has been outside of the garden hours, so I popped through the gate. The Gardens have the largest collection of Australian plants and trees in the world, but in Australia, are gum trees etc all that impressive? The rainforest section I was much more impressed by though, Canberra doesn’t really have a climate that produces rainforests.
Whilst I should have carried on to the final two mountains, instead I headed in to the city for a beer stop. What my explorations showed though, is that the challenge is definitely achievable. I guess I won’t have time this time around, but maybe some time in the future.