Sunday, 24 July 2016

Three Capes Walk - Day 2

So, we had a bid day today ... 11kms!!!!

With such a mighty distance to traverse, we did what any self-respecting bushwalker would do - we had a nice lazy breakfast and read the newspaper (yes, Anthony really did bring a newspaper to read).

By the time we'd got ourselves ready, everyone else was long gone, but we figured there was no rush to get going and just tootled around, before finally heading off mid-morning.

The first bit of the walk from the hut was very easy walking, and with the weather being a bit kinder today we were soon stripping off jackets and taking lots of pictures.

Then we got to the fun bit where the signs encouraged you to push each other off the cliffs ...

Unfortunately I was the only person who seemed to think this was what the signs meant, so instead of playing SURVIVOR: THREE CAPES we instead took a break about an hour into our walk at a little lookout near the top of the first climb and had a cup of tea while we watched the Young Endevour, or some similar ship, surf its way into Port Arthur on the large swells.

Soon after that we got to the high point for the day ... mandatory photos were taken ...

Then the rest of the walk just sort of 'happened' as we meandered along the track, stopping off at the various sculptures and rest points, and generally just enjoying the day.

We pulled into the next hut around 2 or 3pm, just as the group in front of us was returning from their walk out to Tasman Island, and in the Tasmanian way of things, we ran into several people we knew in the group.

This hut was pretty cool, with an amazing lookout (Deck chairs included)

And if I haven't mentioned it, the facilities in the huts are pretty darn good as well ...

However, despite the many phones above being charged, the mobile coverage here wasn't that great, alhough as promised by the local ranger, you could get decent reception in the third toilet along.

How's that for an insiders tip!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Three Capes Walk - Day 1

I feel I should start this post by noting that it was snowing when I woke up this morning.

Specifically, it was snowing at sea level in Lauderdale on the day we were setting off to hike the three capes track (like many other Tasmanian's, we were taking advantage of the half price winter rates to check out the walk  -  the one's that work out really well if the weather is ... fine).

By the time we arrived at Port Arthur (slightly stressed due to a late departure) it had stopped snowing and it was hailing instead


I also confess that as we were waiting to board the boat, I did find myself wondering if maybe I'd made a slight packing mistake choosing to squeeze in an extra bottle of wine in my backpack instead of my raincoat, leaving me with only my light weight marmot rain jacket and my lightweight winter jacket to keep me warm and dry for the next four days.

Notice all the hail on the floor.
Then, just to cap off our introduction to what was supposed to be a lovely scenic boat ride across the bay, followed by a short four kilometre amble to the first hut, due to the strong winds and tide, the boat couldn't actually pull up onto the beach meaning we had to jump out into the water and wade to shore ..

That water was cold, and I say that as a Tasmanian that doesn't usually feel the cold.

Then, just as we hit the beach it hailed some more.

Then we had a thunderstorm come through.

Don't think I missed anything there in terms of the winter experience - other than to note that by the time I had made it to the top of the beach, my feet were so cold they hurt and I was definitely thinking that the extra bottle of wine may have been a mistake.

OK, maybe I was thinking his whole stupid walk was a mistake, but lett's just stick with the wine story.

However, despite these little packing and meteorological misendevours, we survived our beach landing and once we had gotten our shoes back on and our feet warmed up again, all of the little stresses of getting ready and to the start point faded away and it was nice to just wander along and enjoy the simple pleasure of a heavy backpack, easy walking and some nice views as we strolled the four short kilometres to the hut.

OK, that's what I would have written if this were for some travel magazine.  In truth (between dodging thunderstorms and playing with hail) I spent most of the time puzzling through that odd phenomena that arises from walking a really short day.  Am I the only one that has noticed that really short activity days always seem to take much, much longer than they should?  You know the internal conversation: "Are we there yet?".  "Nope, we've only walked 600 metres".  "600 metres?!?!?, but we've been walking for ages".

Then two minutes later ... "Are we there yet?"

Expectations are a bitch.

Eventually (like it must have been nearly forty minutes) we emerged over a small crest and were greeted with our first nights accommodation, and it looked impressive ...

No - this is not our first nights accommodation.
This is.

It turned out that there were only 11 people (including the four of us) doing the walk, which meant that couples and individuals could basically break up and take a room each which was kind of nice.  I suspect it's still nice when there are 48 people coming through, but our small numbers really added to the experience for me.

I also have to say that I was extremely impressed with the whole setup, especially as I sat in the nice warm kitchen, sipping a hot coffee while looking out the window towards Cape Raul as 60km/hr winds buffeted the building.  I couldn't help but think that this was my kind of camping.

That night, Kim and I had some nice big steaks and veggies with a nice gravy, washed down with red wine for dinner.

Not bad at all ... though I still can't figure out why short days seem so long.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The boy who harnessed the wind

I seem to be doing more of this lately ...

Walking the dogs

Than this ...

Riding in the East Risdon area

And I definitely seem to be spending way too much time doing this (sitting in front of a computer writing), but there is an upside this ... I have started to discover the joy of audio books and podcasts ...

My audiobook adventure started some months back now when I went to the State Library and got "The Martian" out on CD (all 8 CD's), copied them onto my computer and into iTunes, and then started listening to them as I walked the dogs ... and I got hooked.

Seriously the movie, The Martian, is crap ... listen to the book.

I guess you could read it as well, but this blog is about listening, not reading, because listening creates a whole new world of opportunities - an audibook turns a 45 minute walk with the dogs into 45 minutes of reading time (with some low level exercise).

Plus the dogs love it because I don't notice as they go running off everywhere chasing things ...

After 42 years, I've finally found something I can multi-task at!

Like, any new experience, I've hit some speed bumps.

I listened to Chris Hadfield's "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" which was like wading my way through an economics text book at University, especially as it was again a multi Cd download from the library and for some reason, it kept resetting itself on my ipod so I'd spent the first 10 minutes of any walk trying to find out where I was in the book.

Fortunately, around this time I also discovered that the State Library of Tasmania website also has ebooks you can download, so I next found myself being transported along on Scott's expedition to Antarctica (another brilliant book), and most recently I have listened to one of the most beautiful stories in the world ...  The Boy who Harnessed the Wind.

I cried and I cried as I walked around my various doggie circuits listening to this book.

Unfortunately, like downloading CDs,  the library audiobook collection is frustrating - the selection is limited, the searching, browsing and App integration is beyond painful and I never seemed to be able to listen to a book in the required timeframe requiring me to go through the whole process of checkout.

More recently, I began exploring podcasts.  I started with one of Fat Cyclists podcasts interviewing Jill Homer, but to be honest it was so horrible I couldn't bring myself to go back and listen to any more of those despite them being my two favourite bloggers.

I have however discovered ted talks radio, freakonomics and just this week, Revisionist Histories which I'm loving, not so much because the podcasts are good (in fact I've found the first two podcasts of Revisionist Histories rather weak in their argument and detail) but what I enjoy is that I'm listening to things I would never have actually taken the time to read.

In the last month, I've become particularly excited about my foray into audible (Amazon's audiobook service), but mainly because of the future it represents.

Long time readers of this blog know that I have lots of kindles (most of which don't work). I am kindle addicted.  I was reading a book the other day (like a real, old fashioned, paper book) in bed and decided I was enjoying it - so I logged into and bought the kindle version (for $15) because I wanted to read it on my kindle.

Similarly, I was at my mum's the other day and noticed the book "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed sitting on the coffee table.  I had watched the movie recently and really enjoyed it, but mum insisted that the book was so much better and detailed and offered to lend me the book.  So I took it home, read a few pages ... remembered how much I dislike reading books, and downloaded it onto my kindle for $3.99.
It was at this point that I was offered the opportunity to download the 'audible' version of the book for another $3.99 ... and being newly converted to the discoveries of audiobooks, I clicked "buy".

I'm about 90% of the way through this book (it is about 12 hours long I think), and I've probably read about 3% of it and listened to the rest, but I love the fact that I can listen to the book, get back to my house and pick up my kindle and it just syncs back up to the page I was listening to and I can then continue reading.

I subscribe to lots of magazines which I never read (in fact many now I never open).  I have piles of books I never get around to reading and yet every day I spend hours walking dogs, driving in the car and riding my bike where I could easily listen to these publications if only the technology were available (and I could find a safe way to ride and listen to a book).

The exciting thing is, we're on the cusp of implementing this technology.

Somebody is harnessing this wind already and I can only see it getting better ...

Saturday, 25 June 2016

It's been awhile (again)

So, it's been awhile (again) and that reflects what is perhaps a loss of excitement I now hold towards blogging in a world where I seemed chained to a computer six and a half days a week keeping up with work and other obligations I've taken on because they seemed fun at the time.

But hey, I'm here typing now, so rather than complain, let me bring you up to date on a few things I left hanging ...

Remember that assignment ...

Do you remember that Uni thesis I blogged about back in February?  The one where I essentially researched and wrote a 10,000 word post-graduate thesis in a single day and promised myself, I would never, ever, ever do something like that again if only the gods allowed me to pass ..

Well I passed ....

In fact I got 68%, which means I can now add a Graduate Certificate (Public Sector Leadership and Management) to my C.V.

But that's only the beginning of the story ...

At about the same time that I completed this assignment, the State Government released their "Agenda 2016" plan of work for the next year which included the preparation of a Draft Cycle Tourism Strategy.

That may not excite you, but writing something like that is a dream job for me.

I so wanted to be involved, so I set off to find out who was doing it (with my assignment under my arm as evidence of my knowledge in this area) to see if I could be involved somehow ...

The story from there is a bit boring and convoluted, but the end result is that part of the reason why this blog and are looking a bit unloved at the moment is because I may have gotten my wish ... and am now a little bit involved.

So there you go ... that was a day well spent doing that assignment.

Oh ... I should also mention that in a true demonstration of how little I learn from these experiences, I've gone and enrolled myself in yet another four day post-grad short course (this time in public transport planning).   Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but god help them if they start talking about pre and post course assignments.

Remember that Trek Frame warranty ...

Remember my broken Trek 520 that I wrote about back in January?

The one where I was attempting to get a replacement for my thirteen year old frame under Trek's lifetime frame warranty after it snapped on a ride into work   ...

Well, it was a bit of a palaver having to strip everything off the frame, but kudos to Trek, they honored their warranty and I have a new bike.

Well actually, I have a new bike frame ...

... and I have a lot of old parts which I'll probably never get around to putting back on this new frame.

I did get a price for a new groupset for the bike, but the price came in at $1,150, plus around $150 to put the bike back together.  So $1,300 all up.  Given that I can buy a brand new carbon bike with a 105 groupset for around $1,500 at the moment, that just seems a little expensive to me and so it's all been bundled away into a part of the garage I seldom enter to gather dust.

So a chalk mark in the win column for getting the new frame, and a chalk mark in the lose column given that I'll probably never do anything with it.

For those of you who follow my tassietrails facebook page, you'll know that I had my road bike stolen back in April which was kind of upsetting.

But, if you let these things get you down, then ... well, you'll be down.

So I didn't let that happen.  I wished the thief all the best with his/her new bike and then embraced the opportunity I had to buy a new bike without having to increase my 'N' quota and more importantly getting too close to that S-1 barrier (if you have no idea what I'm talking about read rule 12 here.

A few days of shopping later, I was the proud owner of a new gravel grinder ...

I even went and got a professional bike fit down ...

Which turned out to be a complete waste of time because after having my seat and handlebar height and angles tweaked by half a millimetre here and a full millimetre there, after a few days of riding I ended up lifting the seat about 2 to 3 centimetres higher than the bike fit had set it ...

A story, by the by, that every other cyclist I've talked to has also done.

But after a bit of adjustment, I'm loving the new bike.

Finally, that Strava challenge ...

Remember the 100km per week challenge I set myself this year.

Well with the combination of my bike theft, needing to pick up and drop off kids before and after school and work travel commitments reducing my cycling commuting opportunities, and to top it all off, some very painful periods of gout which have prevented me from putting on cycling shoes ... well there is a big (and growing) gap between where I am and where I'm meant to be ...

A 474km gap to be precise ... which is probably a good segue for me to end this post and go out and get on my bike ...

I'll write again soon

Or not.