A wonderful day for a run

The only reason I took my phone with me today was to take some photos to share. I didn’t take my GPS watch or wear my heart rate monitor.

Today I wanted to run free of expectations, goals, and self judgement.

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I threw in my luna sandals and drove to my usual start point to tackle the steep section first. There’s a few access points but this is the steepest and I like to start with this one. It’s also at one end of the hill so I can go up, along the top, and back down then along the access road to make a loop. I walked up this part and felt great so I didn’t need to pause halfway up for a breather.

The sun was getting pretty low by this point so I was greeted with it the moment I reached the top of this section.

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There was a branch over the path. This is pretty common, particularly in summer. Eucalyptus trees are well known for dropping branches when they are short on water or are otherwise stressed – don’t ever put your tent directly under one when camping! It was a pretty simple obstacle to get over though.

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I ran along the top, planning a quick half hour loop. But when I got to the next track down, I figured if just run a little more. Then when I got there, I thought that a little more wouldn’t hurt.

I stopped for a photo at an opportune spot, as I wanted to be all arty-farty and get a photo of the view and my shoes.

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by the way, that red band on my ankle is my Road ID. I don’t run or cycle or kayak or whatever without it. I’m kind of scared of finding myself a Jane Doe in hospital while Gary frantically searches for me.

Then I found I didn’t want to get up. I wasn’t tired – it’s just with the quiet, and the evening sun on my back it was perfect and just plain right to sit for a while and think of nothing.

So I did for a few minutes… Until my feet decided they wanted to run again. So I ran.

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I kept thinking “just a little further then I’ll head back. But I kept running. Then the sun started to set so I decided that was my cue to head back down.

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My planned half hour run became an hour and a half of running, hiking, and a little bit of scrambling.

It was fantastic.

P.S. I also saw some kangaroos but they were too far off to get a photo.

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Things that make me happy: Friday

I must make a confession. I’ve been keeping a secret from you all this week.

Over the past week we have had a couple of meet and greets and been organising ourselves to bring home a new family member.

Meet Ollie.

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He’s a 1 year old rescue dog. We met him on his first birthday last Sunday – coincidence? I think not!

He was surrendered as a lab x kelpie but there’s definitely something else in him as he’s quite big. I fell for him the moment I saw him.

And Zephyr gets along well with him.

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Mind you, she immediately claimed the new bed we got for him.

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He’s big, he’s clumsy and goofy, but he’s smart and loving. He slobbers all over everything, even Zephyr’s head because he’s so busy licking everyone who pats him. He’s wonderful. I can’t even imagine why he would be surrendered or why he was still waiting on a family but here he is and he’s ours.

Zephyr has been our only dog since we got her (she was direct from the pound) but she isn’t getting jealous and it’s hilarious watching them try and work out each other’s play style

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Dogs make me happy. Especially when it’s Zephyr and Ollie.

I’m aware that I’m supposed to be posting one photo a day for this weeks challenge but I couldn’t help myself.

Road trip with Clarisse along the Hume Highway.

A couple of days ago, Clarisse and I took a road trip to deliver her to her new home at my Dad’s house in Goulburn. Gary wasn’t coming as he had work, but I headed up to Dads for a Birthday visit.

Having made the trip quite a few times, and because Clarisse is a metal chicken, I drove while she sat there not doing anything and we made a few stops along the way at some of the more memorable landmarks.

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I did the driving, so Clarisse read a little

Our first stop was at Holbrook.

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The main reason people stop here is because it’s 4+ hours inland and yet there’s still a submarine embedded into the ground, which you can climb on, in, and around. For more information about it, this siteis a good brief history of why there’s a submarine in Holbrook.

Our next stop was Tarcutta.

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It may not look like much, but Tarcutta is the halfway point along the Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney. It’s the traditional stopping point for a lot of the truck drivers carting goods along the Hume.

There’s also a monument here, listing the names of Truck Drivers who have died along the highway.

It seems a little sad now that they have finished all the work on the Hume, and there’s now bypasses around both Holbrook and Tarcutta. We always drove through those towns on our way between mum and dad’s house as children so I’m kind of attached to them.

Anyway, we continued on down the road and got to Gundagai. Gundagai is a well known location in Australian folklore. I like it for a couple of reasons. One is the long bridge (seems like about 1.5kms) across the Murrumbidgee floodplains outside the town, and the second for the reason most people know it.

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the dog sat on the tucker box. And the chicken walked on by, uncaring. Because she knows it best not to get involved in such things.

The question of why there’s a dog sitting on a tuckerbox (lunch box) can be answered with the following poem.

Bullocky Bill

As I came down Talbingo Hill
I heard a maiden cry,
‘ There goes old Bill the Bullocky –
He’s bound for Gundagai.’

A better poor old beggar
Never cracked an honest crust,
A tougher poor old beggar
Never drug a whip through dust.

His team got bogged on the five-mile creek,
Bill lashed and swore and cried,
‘ If Nobbie don’t get me out of this
I’ll tattoo his bloody hide.’

But Nobbie strained and broke the yoke
And poked out the leader’s eye,
And the dog sat on the tucker-box
Five miles from Gundagai.

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Some sources credit this to Anon, some to an otherwise unknown poet using the pen name Bowyang Yorke. Whoever it was, the poem has been a part of Australian lore for a while, and has been immortalised in Song and with this statue outside of Gundagai. It’s a tribute to the pioneers and early (white) settlers of Australia and the coins people throw into the water are all donated to the local hospital.

We hopped back in the car and headed off. Our next stop was to have a look at the rather impressive wind farms at Gunning.

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There’s something very impressive about these massive wind turbines. They are huge. And they just sit there, on the hill, creating energy out of the wind to power 23,250 homes between them. (I looked that up – have a look at this site for some information about the specs for the farm.)

Our final stop was at the big merino in Goulburn.

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The big merino is an icon of Gouburn. It’s often said that colonised Australia was “built on the backs of sheep”. This is particularly true of Goulburn, which had a strong merino wool industry and calls itself “Australia’s first inland city”. For more information on Rambo, the giant concrete sheep, have a look here

And thus concludes a rather silly way to share some of the landmarks along the Hume highway between here and Goulburn!

A lovely day for a ride.

Me, posting twice in one day? Crazy!

Just wanted to (briefly) share my bike ride today.

Yesterday Gary and I rode together. We got 4kms along and this happened:

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Due to some unfortunate glass Gary got a flat. He switched his spare tube in, and the valve broke. So I rode with him while he ran his bike home, then he got on his mountain bike and took off for the hills for a bit.

By this point I didn’t feel like riding anymore so I did a bit of yoga and stretching.

This morning I definitely felt like a ride. It’s a lovely warm day, almost too hot really but what can you do? (It was around 30 when I left home).

I headed out with no real direction in mind, but as I made my way I decided to ride up monument hill. I rode up the front first and took a photo at the top.

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yes I did put on a lot of sunscreen before I left. Remember the title of my blog?

Then I thought to myself “why not do that again?” So I rode down, followed the road around the hill and climbed up the back of it to the top again.

Then I did a little more rambling though Albury, and took a photo of the rather charming and historical Albury train station.

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If I remember correctly, Albury station has the longest platform of any station in Australia. Albury and Wodonga are twin cities, with Albury on the New South Wales side of the Murray, and Wodonga in the Victoria side. Back in the day NSW and Vic had different gauges of tracks, so people traveling between Melbourne and Sydney had to swap trains at Albury. That’s why it’s so long – to allow room for all the trains they had to have there.
I could be wrong on that, but I’m pretty sure that’s the reason

So anyway then I trundled home again.

35 kms, two ascents of monument hill, and almost 2 liters of water.

Good times.

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zephyr demonstrating how I felt after – please, just let me lie somewhere cool and then maybe rub my belly.

More New Zealand photos

I’ve been playing around with the theme and layout again. I’m a little happier with this however I couldn’t find one I liked that could fit my preferred header image in… I will ponder some more and maybe change it again in the next week or so.

I guess if I really wanted I could go all the way into custom themes but I don’t really want to at this point.

Anyhow, I decided to post another New Zealand photo

I swear there's a beautiful view from here.

I swear there’s a beautiful view from here.

I picked this one for a couple of reasons.

First, because the weather in NZ was a huge mix – plenty of beautiful weather (like the day we went to Edoras), gale force winds that brought down trees and powerlines around us (driving from Greymouth to Fox Glacier), and storms that dumped a few metres of snow on Tekapo while we were in the rain on the coast.

Second, because rain never stops us from enjoying our holidays.

This was the first day we had our hire car. We had spent a few days in Christchurch, and then took the Tranz Alpine train across to Greymouth. On the advice of the lady in the fish and chip shop who cooked wonderful veggie burgers for us, we drove up the coast to Pancake Rocks. The road was great – one of those windy coast roads through dramatic scenery where you have to keep stopping to take photos because everything is amazing.
It was dramatic and grey and raining and all meloncholy and it was awesome. I love rain. It makes me either energised, or all snug and content. Either way rain never makes me sad because I don’t let it stop me doing things. We walked all over Christchurch in the rain. In fact it made our city tour so much more personalised because nobody else ventured out into it. Same went for the coast. We booked a river tubing tour which took us down the river, into a cave filled with glow worms, and then tubing back out of the cave in the darkness again. We were the only people there and it was so much fun, AND it included a spa and a beer at the end so that was great.

Anyway we made it to Pancake rocks. They are odd columns of what looks like flat rocks stacked all together, and there’s a few blowholes there as well.
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It was pretty impressive. We were undecided if we wanted to go, especially because we were running out of sunlight, but we figured we were on holidays and we might as well go for the drive to check things out. My photos didn’t all turn out great because it was getting towards dark and it was already overcast, but the rock formations were fascinating.

So yes, it was raining, and yes it was kind of cold, but I’m so glad we did. Scenery often changes with the weather, and I’m glad we got to see the West Coast all wild and stormy.

Besides, how could I not enjoy it with Gary by my side?

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if you want more information about the pancake rocks and Punakaiki (where the rocks are), click here

Some photos, part 1.

There has been a pretty big delay, I know. However, here’s some of our holiday snaps. It’s hard to pick out my favorites, but I guess here’s some highlights. I’ve gone through my photos while in Kathmandu and the first couple of days trekking and picked out a few to share.

colourful dyes at market stalls, Kathmandu

steps through abandoned shrines at Pashupatinath,which is a holy site with a river running through it. This photo was taken behind the main area, with the shrines that are no longer used. The main area has much more going on, including cremations and funeral celebrations, and was crowded due to the day falling on a festival day in which people honoured their ancestors.

holy man, outside a small shrine. There’s a prayer wheel there with him, and people were inside playing music and singing.

Bodhnath Stupa, one of the largest buddhist shrines in the world. It’s pretty impressive, but it was also pretty crowded with tourists!

Another temple! This one was the monkey temple. We caught a taxi there and arrived just on dusk. It has a great view over the city, and plenty of monkeys running around. There was also a rather healthy and friendly looking dog who joined our party at the base of the steps and accompanied us most of the way up to the top.

family of water buffalo in a pool in the middle of the road. This was our first day of trekking.

houses along the way, on our first day of walking

We climbed a rock!
This was at our first lodge, at Syuali Bazar. The lodge was by the river, and so was this rock.

I loved this sign. Who counted the steps?

having the first tea for the day in Gandruk. this was the second lodge we stayed in, and the first realisation that we really were up in the mountains of Nepal.

after this warning at a teahouse (i.e. “buy our stuff because it’s the last you’ll get for 2 hours”), I was so amused I regularly referred to getting “sneckers for trekkers”.
as a side note, snickers when you’re trekking are amazing.

this is when we started to get into the harder stuff, above Tadapani (fourth day of walking). It was steep, with narrow paths, and I had a tendancy to get a bit dizzy if I looked around without stopping, just because of how much you have to concentrate on where you are walking.

So that’s some of my photos, which makes a good start. I’ll try and post some more tonight. There are way too many to post all of them, and about 50 million of the same mountain from different angles and light, but I’ll pick them out and see how I go!