Content here is by Michael Still mikal@stillhq.com. All opinions are my own.
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Sun, 22 May 2016



Potato Point

posted at: 18:21 | path: /diary/pictures/20160523 | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 11 Apr 2016



Exploring the Jagungal

    Peter Thomas kindly arranged for a variety of ACT Scout leaders to take a tour of the Jagungal portion of Kosciuszko National Park under the guidance of Robert Green. Robert is very experienced with this area, and has recently written a book. Five leaders from the Macarthur Scout Group decided to go along on this tour and take a look at our hiking options in the area.

    The first challenge is getting to the area. The campsite we used for the first day is only accessible to four wheel drive vehicles -- the slope down to the camp site from Nimmo Plain is quite rocky and has some loose sections. That said, the Landcruiser I was in had no trouble making the trip, and the group managed to get two car style four wheel drives into the area without problems as well. The route to Nimmo Plain from the south of Canberra is as follows:




    We explored two areas which are both a short drive from Nimmo Plain. We in fact didn't explore anything at Nimmo Plain itself, but as the intermediate point where the road forks it makes sense to show that bit of route first. From Nimmo Plain, it you turn left you end up where we camped for the first day, which is a lovely NWPS camp site with fire pits, a pit toilet, and trout in the river.

    The route to that camp site is like this:




    From this campsite we did a 14km loop walk, which took in a series of huts and ruins along relatively flat and easy terrain. There are certainly good walking options here for Scouts, especially those which don't particularly like hills. The route for the first day was like this:




    Its a fantastic area, very scenic without being difficult terrain...

                                               

    As you can see from the pictures, life around the camp fire that evening was pretty hard. One note on the weather though -- even at the start of April we're already starting to see very cool overnight weather in this area, with a definite frost on the tents and cars in the morning. I wouldn't want to be hiking in this area much later in the season than this without being prepared for serious cold weather.

       

    The next day we drove back to Nimmo Plain and turned right. You then proceed down a dirt road that is marked as private property, but has a public right of way through to the national park. At the border of the park you can leave the car again and go for another walk. The route to this second entrance to the park is like this:




                         

    This drive on the second morning involved a couple of river crossings, with some representative pictures below. Why does the red Landcruiser get to do the crossing three times? Well that's what happens when you forget to shut the gate...

                                                       

    Following that we did a short 5km return walk to Cesjack's Hut, which again wasn't scenic at all...




                                         

    I took some pictures on the drive home too of course...

                 

    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20160409-jagungal photo kosciuszko scouts bushwalk
    Related posts: Potato Point; Light to Light, Day Two; Light to Light, Day Three; Light to Light, Day One; Scout activity: orienteering at Mount Stranger

posted at: 00:17 | path: /diary/pictures/20160409-jagungal | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 01 Jan 2016



YA-90

      Ok, so now that I've rediscovered walking to trigs while pursuing my hobby of trying to kill Mr Carden, I am enthused to do some more urban walking.

      The only urban trig I haven't been to is YA-90 on Isaacs Ridge. There are also three geocaches along the way I'd like to collect to. I propose we stage a walk from Isaacs as there's plenty of parking and do this one some evening when its cooler.

      Total distance should be about 4km return, with about 150 meters of vertical ascent. It should take about an hour.


    We did this walk on a warm afternoon on new year's day. The walk is pleasant, with plenty of shade for most of the way. In the end we only collected two of the geocaches, as following the ridge line to the third was considered an exercise for another day. A very pleasant walk. A 4.2km walk with 169 meters of ascent.

                 




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20160101 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 11:43 | path: /diary/pictures/20160101 | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 29 Dec 2015



A year of being more active

    A little over a year ago I helped host a panel session at the Paris OpenStack summit. The panel was three telco people talking about NFV, but that's not the bit I really remember. The bit that really stuck with me was how fat I looked in photos from the event. An example:



    I weighed just over 110 kilos (240 lbs). I decided something had to change -- I have a new daughter, and I want to be around to see her well into her life. So, I joined a gym and started bush walking. My first walk was documented here as a walk up Tuggeranong hill. That rapidly became an obsession with climbing hills to survey markers, which then started to include finding geocaches.

    I can't give you a full list of the tangents that one photo from Paris has caused, because the list isn't complete yet and may never be. I now run, swim, ride my bike, and generally sweat on things. Its all fun and has had the unexpected side effect that its helped me cope with work stress much more than I expected.

    I've lost about 15 kilos (30 lbs) so far. Weight loss isn't really the main goal now, but its something I continue to track.

    I thought it would be interesting to list all the places I've walked in Canberra this year, but a simple bullet point list is too long. So instead, here's an interactive map.




    There are a lot more walks I want to do around here. Its just a case of finding the time.

    Tags for this post: blog fitness health weight canberra bushwalk
    Related posts: Recumbent bikes; Small improvements; Non-budget funded work; Drugs; Bigger improvements; More on Robyn

posted at: 17:34 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 28 Dec 2015



Mount Tennent

      Ok, so I want to do Mount Tennent from the "wrong" side (Apollo Road up the fire trail). The reason for this is that there is a series of 20 something geocaches along the route that I'd like to tick off as well as walking to Tennent.

      I think the total route should be about 13kms, with about 800m of ascent. I propose we leave at least one car at the Apollo Road car park, and then drive the rest to the start point at the Namadgi visitor centre. We can then do the walk, and send one car back to collect the others while we wait under a tree (or something like that).

      Naismith's rule says this walk should take about 5 hours.


    I've been meaning to do this one for ages, but finally got around to doing the walk with a few friends. We went up Tennent from the Namadgi visitor's center, but walked back down on the far side of Tennent which seems less common. The far side is less scenic, but less steep as well I think. Along the way we collected 23 geocaches along the way, and a lovely walk was had by all.

    Just over 1,000 meters vertically, and around 16km horizontally.

                                   




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151228 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 12:28 | path: /diary/pictures/20151228 | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 23 Dec 2015



Mulligan's flat

    I went for a post lunch geocache walk in Mulligan's flat this afternoon as I wind down towards the Christmas break. A good time was had, and a cool wool shed found. I really like this area, perfect for cub walks!

                                 




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151223 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 12:43 | path: /diary/pictures/20151223 | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 22 Dec 2015



Street Orienteering

    I went street orienteering for the first time with my little brother the other day. It was super fun, and a good way to get a run in as well. We even came first in our division (team b grade)!




    Tags for this post: blog orienteering
    Related posts: Scout activity: orienteering at Mount Stranger

posted at: 15:13 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 15 Nov 2015



Mount Stranger one last time

    This is the last walk in this series, which was just a pass through now that the rain has stopped to make sure that we hadn't left any markers or trash lying around after the Scout orienteering a week ago. This area has really grown on me -- I think most people stick to the path down by the river, whereas this whole area has nice terrain, plenty of gates through fences and is just fun to explore. I'm so lucky to have this so close to home.




    Tags for this post: blog canberra bushwalk

posted at: 12:20 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 09 Nov 2015



A walk in the Orroral Valley

    Last weekend was a walk in the Orroral Valley with a group of scout leaders. Embarrassingly, I'd never been in this area before, and its lovely -- especially at the moment after all the rain we've had. Easy terrain, and a well marked path for this walk. The only catch is that there's either a car shuffle involved, or you need to do a 12km return walk.

                             




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151107 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 19:13 | path: /diary/pictures/20151107 | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 16 Oct 2015



CBC Navigation Course

    This was the GPS followup to the previous map and compass navigation exercise. A really nice walk, apart from crazy horse lady. The walk also included another visit to Forster trig. I'm not sure if its the time of year or the direction of approach, but this ascent was much nicer than my previous one, we seemed to avoid most of the prickly things. It would be interesting to recce the other side of the hill and see if I just got unlucky last time, or misread the contours.

                         




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151010 photo canberra bushwalk trig_point
    Related posts: Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches; Oakey trig; Harcourt and Rogers Trigs; Taylor Trig; A team walk around Red Hill; Urambi Trig

posted at: 03:30 | path: /diary/pictures/20151010 | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 15 Oct 2015



Geocaching at the base of Mount Ainslie

    I have a bit of a backlog of posts about recent walks which I am working through. Last week I found myself in Ainslie for an appointment which ended at lunch time, so I figured I'd go for a walk. There is a series of geocaches near Campbell Park West (a set of office buildings for non-Canberrans), so off I went.

    The cache series was nice, but the most exciting part of the walking in this area was all the unexploded ordinance (UXO) warnings. I'm sure the area is totally safe, as many people walk through it each day, but it certainly adds an air of adventure to the walk.

    You can find a list of the UXO reports for the ACT on the Department of Defence website, I must say that its not very impressive that the Department has contaminated so many sites around Australia without remediating them -- there are heaps in New South Wales for example. The ACT gets off relatively lightly with only three contaminated sites.

    Its also interesting to note that a suburb very close to me was used as a bombing practise range in World War Two. I'm not aware of anyone in my circle who knew that.

    Anyway. Nice terrain, nice caches, lots of fun. I'd say this would be a good walk for cubs, but I am sure the risk management paperwork for a walk in a UXO are is complicated.

       




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151009 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 16:40 | path: /diary/pictures/20151009 | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 07 Oct 2015



Lunchtime geocaching

    So, I didn't get to sleep last night until 4:30am because of a combination of work meetings and small children, so today was a pretty weird day for me. I was having a lot of trouble concentrating at lunch time, so I decided a walk was the least worst thing I could do with my time. I decided to knock off some of the few remaining geocaches in southern Tuggeranong that i haven't found yet.

    This walk was odd -- it started and ended in a little bit of Theodore they never got around to actually building, and I can't find any documentation online about why. It then proceeded through a nice little green strip that has more than its share of rubbish dumped, Cleanup Australia needs to do a visit here! Then there were the Aboriginal axe grinding grooves (read more) just kind of in the middle of the green strip with no informational signage or anything. Finally, a geocache at an abandoned look out, which would have been much nicer if it wasn't being used as an unofficial dump now.

    That said, a nice little walk, but I have no real desire to revisit this one any time soon.

                                       




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151007 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 00:58 | path: /diary/pictures/20151007 | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 01 Oct 2015



Garran green strip

    When I was a teenager my best mate lived in a house which backs onto this smallish reserve and we used to walk his dog here heaps. I had a few spare moments yesterday, so I was keen to do a quick explore and see what its like now. The short answer is that its still nice -- good terrain, nice mature trees, and a few geocaches. I think this one would be a good walk for cubs.

               




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151001 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 14:35 | path: /diary/pictures/20151001 | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 29 Sep 2015



Wandering around Curtin

    I decided to go on a little walk on the way home from a work lunch and I don't regret it. This is a nice area, which I was exploring for geocaches. I probably wouldn't have come here at all, but it was the second part of the "Trees of Curtin" walk from Best Bush, Town and Village Walks in and around the ACT that I had done the first half of ages ago.

    I am glad I came back for the second half -- to be honest I was pretty bored with the first half (a bike path beside a major road mostly), whereas this is much more like walking around in nature. The terrain is nice, no thistles, and plenty of horses. A nice afternoon walk overall.

    Now back to reviewing Mitaka specs.

               




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150930 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 23:23 | path: /diary/pictures/20150930 | permanent link to this entry


Second trail run

    I went for my second trail run last night. This one was on much rockier terrain, and I ended up tweaking my right knee. I think that was related to the knee having to stabilize as I ran over uneven rocks. I'll experiment by finding a different less awkward trail to run and seeing what happens I suppose.




    Tags for this post: blog canberra trail run
    Related posts: First trail run; Update on the chickens; Boston; Chicken run; Random learning for the day

posted at: 15:06 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 28 Sep 2015



Old Joe and Goorooyarroo

    Steve, Mel, Michael and I went for a walk to Old Joe trig yesterday. I hadn't been to Goorooyarroo at all before, and was quite impressed. The terrain is nice, with some steep bits as you get close to the border (its clear that the border follows the water catchment from a walk around here). Plenty of nice trees, not too many thistles, and good company. A nice morning walk.

    We bush bashed to the trig straight up the side of the hill, and I think there were gentler (but longer) approaches available -- like for instance how we walked down off the hill following the fence line. That said, the bush bash route wasn't terrible and its probably what I'd do again.

    I need to come back here and walk this border segment, that looks like fun. There are also heaps of geocaches in this area to collect.

                                           




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150928 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 15:34 | path: /diary/pictures/20150928 | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 22 Sep 2015



First trail run

    So, now I trail run apparently. This was a test run for a hydration vest (thanks Steven Hanley for the loaner!). It was fun, but running up hills is evil.




    Tags for this post: blog canberra trail run
    Related posts: Second trail run; Update on the chickens; Boston; Random learning for the day; Chicken run

posted at: 17:26 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 21 Sep 2015



Camp Cottermouth

    I spent the weekend at a Scout camp at Camp Cottermouth. The light on the hills here in the mornings is magic.

       




    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150920 photo canberra bushwalk

posted at: 18:21 | path: /diary/pictures/20150920 | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 16 Sep 2015



Exploring for a navex

    I feel like I need more detailed maps of Mount Stranger than I currently have in order to layout a possible navex. I there spent a little time this afternoon wandering down the fire trail to mark all the gates in the fence. I need to do a little more of this before its ready for a navex.




    Tags for this post: blog canberra bush walk
    Related posts: A Walk in the Woods; Walking to work; First jog, and a walk to Los Altos

posted at: 15:15 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 13 Sep 2015



On running

    I've been running for a little while now, but I don't mention it here much. I think I mostly don't mention it because I normally just post photos here, and I don't tend to stop and take happy snaps on my runs. The runs started off pretty modest -- initially I struggled with shin splints after more than a couple of minutes. I've worked through that and a couple of injuries along the way and am consistently doing 5km runs now.

    That said, my longest runs have been in the last week when I did a 7.5km and an 8.1km. I'm building up to 10km, mostly because its a nice round number. I think ultimately trail running might be the thing for me, I get quite bored running around suburbs over and over again.

    Its interesting that I come from an aggressively unsporting family, but yet all of my middle aged siblings and I have started running in the last year or two. Its a mid-life crisis thing perhaps?




    Tags for this post: blog running fitness sport
    Related posts: First jog, and a walk to Los Altos; A year of being more active; Martin retires from his work netball league

posted at: 13:46 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry