Monday, December 9, 2013

Great Ocean Walk (Roll?)

Wide expanses of ocean - about half
way along the section to Aire River
The 100km long Great Ocean Walk hugs the Victorian south coast between Apollo Bay and the Twelve Apostles. This stunningly beautiful track is a jewel in the crown of Parks Victoria and they are considering basing a TrailRider (9th in Australia) at the Visitor Centre in Apollo Bay so that some of this beauty becomes accessible.

Much of the track is a bit over the top for a TrailRider but the sections from Cape Otway Lighthouse to Castle Cove appeared to Parks to be manageable - but first an evaluation was required.

Is that where they're taking me?
That was where we kicked in. With my birthday in sight, and Parks Victoria helping with accommodation for rider, carer-wife Ros and family and friends sherpas we had a magnificent day evaluating followed by a birthday party. Flynn took 2044 pictures, some of which PV will purchase for their publicity material.

10km and 4 hours later we arrived at Aire River and called the shuttle bus to pick us up. The second longest ride of my life. Thank you to John Kenwright, Joshua Hart and Rodney Brooke.

Bliss! Go Pro video camera atop my helmet
The conclusion? We were accompanied on the track by the contractor whose company "makes" tracks in a number of Parks and we had a critical eye on the condition of the surface (too sandy not good - it was mostly fine), the gradients (too steep not good, again mostly fine) and particularly on "step-elimination" about which I'll say more.

Steps are difficult. For the TrailRider and sherpas they are hard work but for track maintenance they are a nightmare. Materials need to be carried in by hand where there are steps. Adrian is beginning to replace steps with walkways of alternating high and low planks at an equivalent gradient.

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