Sunday, 15 July 2012

Wellington Chase

It is not the warmest this morning, possibly less than 10 degrees, as Pat and I trundle off down the Burwood Highway, heading east to Lysterfield. This orienteering area has been out of use for a couple of years due to storm damage, so it should be a good turnout. 45 minutes later, we turn off the tarmac and head steeply uphill on a dirt track. This is ominous. I must get one of those fancy 4WD machines.

We drive in to the carpark as a wallaby lopes across in front of us and hides in the bushes. It is cold, almost thermals weather, but I determine to man up. A nylon top will suffice. I choose a course of 4.5km with 225m climb, which should be about right for me. Pat has not brought any trainers and resolves to repeat her success of last week, wearing her street shoes.

I start, and head into a technical section immediately, with boulders and bare rock - tricky. Control 3 gives me most trouble and I lose a couple of minutes while I thrash about. Running along the side of a marsh between 4 and 5, a chorus of frogs greets me from all sides. They silence as I approach, which immediately reminds me of radio orienteering. I toil up a steep hill to 8 and then stumble down again to 9. Avoiding the green, I head for the path to the north. It works, but it's tricky.

10 is at the top of a large hill and I decide to climb early. I meet two kangaroos, larger than me, who eye me curiously and then hop silently away. Straight down to 11, crossing a boggy open space. I find a path through the green up to 12 and continue on up past a pond to 13. This is hard.

Pat greets me on the run-in, so I try to make a bit of an effort. It has been a physically testing course, with some tricky technical controls. Pat has wet feet but has done well. She is fifth, I am sixth. A very good day out!

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