Friday, March 28, 2014

Mountain rescue a real possibility

Where we were. My helmet was removed for the photo only
We finally arrived yesterday at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. In the pouring rain, which was not part of the plan, and given the sunlight pouring in the window this morning, was uniquely focussed on our visit.

Jeff Woodward, Cradle Mountain Park Ranger, had gathered together park National Park folk from various parts of the State with a strong focus on rescue. The TrailRider sat in the corner while we discussed the vexing, and expensive, problem of severely sprained ankles out there on the tracks. A typical rescue scenario involves difficult and dangerous, for the bearers, stretcher trips or even a helicopter.
Mountain rescue specialists get the feel of the
chair - indoors to keep dry

For the first time ever I saw an economic argument for a TrailRider - the cost of one or two current rescues would pay for a TrailRider. It could happen pretty soon.

People really got the point when they sherpa-ed me, under consummate sherpa Rodney Brooke's guidance (I had introduced my engineer friend as Australia's most experienced sherpa) , around the Visitor Centre. They went up and down a flight of steps - much easier than they expected. 

Along the way there would be the means for wheelies to be guided along some tracks in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. I was - despite the rain - Ros, Rodney,Joanne and Ranger Jeff took me around the enchanting Enchanted Trail.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Off to Tasmania

Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake pictured in Google Maps
Yes - we hit the streets today and hit the water (in the Spirit of Tasmania) this evening. I received the vital text message to confirm that the TrailRider had arrived and been unpacked.

Looking at Cradle Mountain in Google Maps  leaves me wondering whether the circuit of Dove Lake is more than can reasonably be done. Soon we'll know.

Looking at the terrain and picturing intrepid hikers setting off on the Overland Track to Lake St Claire also brings to mind the use of the TrailRider there for mountain rescue. This a regular usage in the Vancouver region in Canada but one that has yet to come to the fore in Australia. It makes a very great deal of sense for rescuers not to have to bear the weight of the injured person. The park rangers there have taken a particular interest in this.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

10th Australian TrailRider now in Ballarat

The tenth TrailRider is available now at the Ballarat Visitor Centre.

The Ballarat folk have particularly emphasised the connection with special schools in the area - the pictures in the brochure tell the story.

Seeing disabled kids out, where they could never imagined they would be, seeing the looks on the faces of parents or carers, is one of the most rewarding parts of the TrailRider story.

All the details of where and how you can make use of the chair are in the Directory. You can also view the brochure. A Sherpa Volunteer program at Ballarat is being worked on.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Senior News coverage

Son Josh and John Kenwright guide me (complete with Go
Pro) beside the ocean  - Photo Flynn Hart
We caught their eye with the Great Ocean Walk roll in December and the latest, March issue contains an article on page 6.

To read this you must go to the newspaper's Victoria page  and click on the word HERE - then you can leaf though their paper complete with paper-turning sound effects.

I'm not sure who to credit with getting this in there but have a feeling it might have been David Petty - press officer at Parks Victoria.

I wish, for the sake of the Senior readers, that the blog address had been included so they could find out where to get one.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Another dream - from Louise Frare

Louise in a different kind of chair

Louise has MS. She also has her sights set on the highest point in Australia - Mount Kosciuszko. Her dream is to gather together other people with MS, a number of TrailRiders and a party of sherpas, to reach the top of the continent.

With the Mt Beauty and Canberra chairs within three hours two chairs would be manageable. What about the sherpas? Are you, dear reader, interested in this adventure? Leave a message as a comment.

Top of Africa (Kilimanjaro) - done. Top of Australia next? I think the TrailRider will take a pass on other continents.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Thank you dear daughter

Thank you Jo for this splendid certificate which, for all my other readers, matches the one you presented me with to celebrate 1000 visits to the gym. She and Sander are also working on Dr Dave Tackles Mountains which will be the second in a series of delightful kids books.

Thank you everybody for all for your comments about long and short blog posts. So far short wins the prize but it's not too late to vote!

One great comment (thank you Bernie) was the suggestion of a longer, reflective piece about the future which would be my pleasure - better to have my thoughts written down than rattling around in my head. I shall do that soon when the current flurry of activity has settled down. There are two more TrailRider launches on the way and interesting developments in Tasmania and maybe NSW.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"TrailRiders are all very well but you need people to push them"

That is a sad reality for many that would like to ride but can't. The chair is there but where will the sherpas come from? This is why Parks Victoria (in other words John Kenwright) is developing a Sherpa Volunteer Program with appropriate training.

In time there should be a cluster of volunteers geographically close to each chair but the rollout of the program, the first training session and inaugural "chapter" of volunteers will be at Halls Gap in the Grampians on 12 April. This is the official announcement:

Grampians National Park is currently seeking volunteers to be trained at sherpas to assist park visitors who use  the Parks Victoria TrailRider chair. If you would like to know more about the new Volunteer Sherpa Program contact Katherine Dyson, Volunteer Coordinator, Grampians National Park . T: 0428 553040/ (03) 5361 4063 E:

Ros and I and John look forward to being there

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ten thousand pageviews

One of the blogs that I follow, Wheelchair Kamikaze, recently posted to celebrate his millionth page view. That got me thinking and this post began forming in my mind.

It's not the same order of celebration of course - there will be 99 more of these before we catch up with Marc - but still 10,000 feels good. I have used the setting on Blogspot where I can stop my accesses being logged. Without that we'd probably be at 20,000!

It's also a time to ponder the blog. As you may have seen my posts are always quite short - terse even - and I know that this is not what some people (Ros is one) want from a blog. I am not averse to writing more, going on a bit if you know what I mean, in fact I enjoy the writing process but some reserve, some sense of economy, a fear perhaps of using up people's time leads to most of my posts being a single page.

For me the important defining purpose of a blog like this is to tell people about each new chapter of the TrailRider story. Now I come to think about it this is just about the only post that has not been prompted by a TrailRider development. It is also worth noting that my tortuous two finger typing, where most words need several attempts, make short posts attractive to me.

I'd be fascinated, absolutely fascinated, to hear what you think. Dare to leave a comment which can be anonymous if you wish.

Winding up, and pondering a different style of blog, one that is more definitely part of the blogosphere, I would mention my dear, deceased friend Denis Wright whose My Unwelcome Stranger blog was a haven for him and thousands of others during his four years of sickness. He wrote in the way that I have precisely not done here -so far..