After a family roast dinner to say goodbye to all our wonderful friends in Gundaroo, we were ready to get back on the road for our final leg of the trip. The snow had melted (mostly) and we had good reports about the amount of feed that was around in the mountains.
All saddled up, we said some good byes and headed off towards Canberra. The boys took 2 minutes to get back into work mode, but the biggest test would be the amount of traffic and the bitumen work to come. Apart from a couple of jumps at some fast moving traffic, the boys had no worries at all. The biggest fright they got was a road biker coming towards them at 40kph… things that move and are silent are pretty scary! A halfway gear change and we made the 34kms by mid afternoon. The boys were greeted with some hay (which we had dropped off earlier) and green grass. Because we were all unfit, we took a rest day to ease our way in. Plus we had toilets and showers – possibly our last for sometime!
The second day was another big one – 38km to Yarralumla. We walked the first km and then prepped ourselves for the walk across the highway. The first crossing went well, although we got some interested/are you crazy looks, and we waited for the next set of pedestrian lights. We got the green man and crossed, just as a big truck came up behind us. This was a bit too much for Banjo whose eyes were already wide and he danced across the road sideways trying to look both ways at once! The rest of the day was pleasant riding. The road verges are wide and the city caters to horses so well. Although we were in a major city, we had plenty of room and had no issues with traffic. As we neared camp, we could see parliament house in the distance and we weaved our way through the national arboretum. Camp was great with 2 paddocks and a long drop. We took another rest day and passed time checking out the equestrian centre – it is open all the time and free to the public. The cross country course had some jumps that we over my head, the people who jump these things must be crazy! But then they are probably saying the same thing about what we are doing!
Across to Kambah pony club where we had good feed again, it was our last camp before heading out of the city. The day across to the Namadgi Visitors centre wasn’t long in kms, but felt like a long day. It started with us heading across the middle of the archery range (lucky they weren’t out practising!) – after talking to the coordinator, they must have changed a fence without letting us know. After this confusion, we found 3 horse gates that weren’t wide enough for the pack, so we unpacked and repacked the pack to get through. The last 10km were along a bitumen road. It was hot, and we were wondering if we were ever going to get to camp! After a motorbike giving the horses a bit of a scare by riding up their bums across a bridge, we found the visitors centre and set up camp. The horses were happy in their paddock and snoozed and ate. So far, everything had been working well, and our gear changes only required a minor alteration. The pack that we had made while on break, seemed to be doing the job, despite needing some readjustment in the fill (normal with all new packs as they settle in. Everyone at the visitors centre was lovely and we learned a lot about the area. There was a lot of talk of the dry spell to come and the threat of bushfires. All we can do is hope that it rains.
The next day was camp at Caloola Farm, which is no longer a running operation, but they are still happy to have trekkers. There wasn’t much grass as the kangaroos had helped themselves, but the boys were happy enough picking around. We headed off the next morning across the creek and over an old fence… Laurie felt the wire on the ground and ran backwards and lost his footing. He lay down to let preston get off, and then got back up. No injuries (thank god!!!) and we wandered up and over the undulating hills, which was a good intro for the boys for some of the hills to come. Unfortunately, the kangaroos had cleaned up the paddocks at Mt clear, and although there was heaps of area, there wasn’t a lot of feed. So no rest day, and we took off towards Youak and the end of book 10. It rained as we walked a lot, we didn’t mind as long as it was raining further along the track. Rain means more water and more grass to get us through.
Thanks to Oliver for letting us camp on his leased TSR – the feed was great and the boys were happy as filling their bellies. We picked up our food drop from the Cochranes place (Thanks!) and cleaned our gear, prepping for the next section where we enter the Kosciousko National Park. We have heard great things about this section and are excited to finally be close to getting in there!
Only two books to go!!!!!