Sunday, 10 June 2012

Seeds and Storms!

Lots of grass seeds, lots of rain and lots of fun! That about sums up the "Just Bluffing" rogaine event.
In true rogaining style, everyone who ventured out enjoyed the course and the experience, and made the best of a damp situation.

On the down side, a lot of people didn't hang around. They wanted to get  out before the hash site turned into a swamp and Ivory Creek covered the little bridge that everyone had to cross to get out.As it turns out, it never did, which was good for fellow organiser, Bruce Jones, who was camped right next to it!
If we were able to get a camp fire going, it would have cheered the place up.But it was just toooo wet!
Mind you, Peter McCallum, our logistics Guru, helped with team morale by bogging the truck in the middle of the hash swamp. It was a good laugh watching the remaining rogainers push it out Sunday morning .

Still, you know the old saying... Rogainers march on their stomachs. As long as you provide them with a good feed, they'll endure just about anything. I'm sure all present would have agreed that we did just that. A big thank you to our caterers, Chris, Megan and Linda and kids, who served up a treat, despite the slightly damp working conditions!
Congratulations to our winners,in particular the three teams that stayed out all night:- Overall winners, and rogainers extraordinaire- Richard Robinson and Tamsin Barnes, the intrepid duo,Gregor Wilson and Paul Guard, who won the mens open, and the evergreen Walter Kelemen and Sue Clarke, our super vet champions.. all pictured below.

A big thank you to my team over the weekend- Peter McCallum,Mat McGuire, and,of course, my partner in crime, Bruce Jones, here seen imparting his pearls of wisdom on an unsuspecting novice.
By the way,it was Mat who hung the punch up out of reach at Water point 1, as proved by the following photo.He'll say I told him to do it, but don't believe him!

But seriously, Mat was a great help running the navlight system on the computer for us.
Thank you also to Ben Hiley and Kevin McDougall who helped us set up the hash site on the Friday afternoon.
By the way,have a look at the hash site a few days after the event!
                                                    The 100 knot winds had the final say!
All that now remains is to collect all the flags and punches, and say a few farewells to the landowners and property managers. Without their cooperation and assistance, we just wouldn't have these events. In particular, I'd like to thank Mark Gelhaar, the Eskdale manager, who slashed the hash, dug the bog holes, and provided the water free of charge. Nothing was too much trouble.
So.. after 21 day visits to the site, and numerous hours of work at home..would I organise a 24 hour event again?? Probably...but with more help in the early stages.I think we  were able to  manage it because I work for myself and Bruce is retired. It helped living close to the map site, as well.
In the end, Bruce and I feel privileged. We got to venture around some great countryside,  visited every control site, met some great people, improved our rogaining skills to no end, and brought enjoyment to you lot.
You've all got to do it once! No Bluffing!


Thursday, 31 May 2012

Time to rumble!

June 1, 2012..
Well, this is my last blog until after the event. We're off to the map today to set up the hash house area.
The weather looks ominous outside, but there's nothing much we can do about that!
After a slow start, we've ended up with 141 entrants.. mostly in the 8 hour event.
I'm sure a great time will be had by all out there!
For those who missed out, but would still like to enjoy the map, I'm looking for rogainers to come out sometime over the next week and spend a day collecting some flags. It will be like a mini-rogaine! Just let me know. I'm sure you could even camp over if you wanted to.The rain's supposed to clear by next Tuesday.
No Bluffing!

 See ya,

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Times a ticking!

Well, the flags are out and the course is set.

We just need some brave souls to sign up for the battle!
At this stage, we  have just 42 teams entered.Only 5 in the 24 hour event,with NO open men's teams.
Guys, here's your chance to be immortalised as the QRA Open Champions on the Dave Erbacher Trophy.
In fact, Dave Erbacher will be there competing, and will be able to present it! We can't disappoint him.
Remember, entries close WEDNESDAY night at 10.00pm.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Camping and catering

May 26,2012..
Well, only a week to go!
With assistance this weekend from the two Macs,Michael McMahon and Tim McInerny, the flags and punches should be all out in the field come Monday morning.Thanks guys!
So, we're nearly ready for you. Have you entered yet?
The property manager, Mark, will slash an area for us next week for the hash site.At the moment,it's covered in spear grass.This is what it looks like at the moment.
If you want to get away a bit, you'll also be able to camp on the other side of the road, behind a gate,down near the creek.You just might have to share it with a few cows, though.
Here's what it looks like..
You just need to negotiate a bit of a slope to get down near the creek. It's a great area, but not big enough to house us all. So, it's a case of first in,best dressed.
For those of you who did the events up this way last year, we're pleased to say that Megan Scott and family will be doing the catering for us again.
Here's Megan hard at work last year.
We might even see a re-appearance of Princess Issy!
Megan has given me her proposed menu, and it sounds too good for you lot! (Just bluffing!)
I can tell you that the famous "Chile con Carne" is  likely to tantalise your taste buds, along with fruit crumble and muffins.. just to mention a few!
See you there for tea!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Homesteads and Horses

May 22, 2012
You might find yourself passing some of the old Eskdale homesteads on your soon-to-be sojourn.If it's still light, take a second to admire the architecture. These places were build back in the 1930's when the owners and their families lived on site, along with a troop of roustabouts and stock men.
One of the homesteads has 24 bedrooms! I've included some photos for you.

Today, they're maintained by caretakers/managers, with a few young hands staying on site. One of the owners, Max and his wife Barbara, often stay on the weekend.It's like being on one of those country homestead retreats you see on The Great Outdoors.
One of the homesteads even has a cricket pitch!

 One thing that hasn't changed over the years is the controlling effect of the weather.
On your travels,you'll definitely  see remnants of the recent floods,with scoured out creek banks often pulling you up.Don't forget my previous tip about "making like a cow."
Take a look at the photo below of a tree that had the soil completely washed away beneath it. Yet it clings on!
Also, back in January 2011, with all those creeks, the water got quite high around the homesteads. The following photo of a large pump gives an indication of the height of the water, with debris still clinging on.
Another interesting fact about this area is that the Bicentennail National Trail runs through it from North to South. This trail starts at Cooktown and runs all the way down the east coast to Healesville in Victoria.
If you see the following sign on a fence post, then you're on the trail.

Watch out for cyclists or horseriders!

If rogaining is too short for you, you might want to trek the trail sometime.Chech out the webiste on
Well, there are only a  few dozen teams entered in the rogaine at the moment
Don't forget to get yours in! Entries close 10pm on Wedsnesday, May 30th.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Corridors and Controls

May 17,2012...
While travelling around the northern part of the map, you'll most likely come  across two straight  fence lines running parallel with each other for miles, about 20metres apart. These are cattle corridors.

 It's how the musterers funnel and lead their cattle to holding paddocks, and the dip yards prior to loading them onto trucks.

 If you walk between them ,you'll eventually come to a  round yard with 5 or 6 sets of steel gates opening in all directions.Remember, always leave the gates as you find them. Don't leave them open for another team coming up behind.
We visited another "high" control today( control 130). Unfortunately, we made a bad route choice and went up the wrong spur. By the time we clambered half way up,the spur we wanted was a very steep watercourse away! We had to make up our minds then whether to clamber across like mountain goats, or finish climbing to the top of the ridge and come across to the right spur. We chose the latter, and enjoyed some spectacular views while recovering.
Tip to entrants- double check your route choice.Pay attention to how close those contour lines are on the map! We've found them to be quite accurate.
Oh, another tip on those hills .. if you have dodgy knees like us, the "going down" is more arduous than the "going up". Bruce and I found that "crabbing down" sideways is a slower process, but less of a strain on the old joints.Also,try bouncing from one tree to the next to help you slow down.
I might add that going down, we drifted across to the wrong spur, and ended up trapped by Lantana.We didn't pay attention to our compass bearing.So, not a good start to the day.
I've included a picture of that particular pesky control.Approach with caution!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Hills and more Hills

May 14..
Our navlight man,Dave Firman, has found an excuse to get out of doing his job.. he broke his hip! He got swiped by a car while out riding, and fell heavily on his right femur, breaking it. Speedy recovery,Dave!
Fortunately, our intrepid president, " Mr.reliable" Paul Guard, stepped in and finished prgramming our long list of punches. He also delivered them last weekend, along with a swag of flags.As me father would say.. "He's blood's worth bottling!"
So, having spent a few weeks tagging sites, Bruce and I have started hanging some of the more inaccessible ones. We're confident to do this thanks to our silent third partner.. "Geeps", as Bruce calls him.( One of the QRA Garmin GPS units).
Having the foresight ( unusual for me!) to have spent the time to load an overlay of the map onto the GPS, our mate Geeps is now confirming that we're right on the control site every time!
Tip to future organisers...If you're a small team, and don't have the manpower to split the tagging/checking/hanging process, enlist the help of Geeps. Thanks once again to president Paul and to Liam St.Pierre who showed me how.
Anyway.. we've been leaving this corner of the map until last.. mainly because the contours run unto each other for about 10 lines!
For the more adventurous of you, this is a good spot to visit to get some bigger points, including one 150 pointer! You've just got to be prepared to climb a bit.
If super vets,Bruce and I can manage it, I'm sure you can!
Just make sure you pack your altitude pills. We went from an elevation of 152 metres in the gully, to 408 metres by the time we reached the highest ridge! Needless to say, we had a few stops along the way.
Mind you, the views along the way were great!

If you study your map and plan carefully ,you'll find more amenable spurs to get you there with less pain.
Tip for competitors.. If you're venturing up this way, once you reach the top ridges... stay there, and contour around to the best attack points for your control sites.
 When we finally got back down to the car after 5 hours of mountain climbing,for a well earned cup of coffee, some friends came to say hello.