Monday, September 29, 2014

Have drone, will travel

Half way there we take a break. The flies were fearsome
Almost a year ago we went out on the Great Ocean Walk testing the newly upgraded tracks for TrailRider use. 

We were fascinated by Adrian Marriner's airborne camera, 

A light-weight four rotor drone, controlled by Adrian, carried a high resolution camera to heights and angles that were otherwise unimaginable. 
On the bridge at Aire River

I remember being fascinated by the proposition that the drone might fly out of radio range from the controller. Indeed they thought of that - the GPS in the drone simply leads it back home.

To me it is fascinating to see the curved horizon and astonishing to see the resolution of the photos.

Adrian has just posted some of the shots on Facebook and they are stunning.

If you are a Facie, here is a chance to Like the Living Trails page

Friday, September 26, 2014

Come to Apollo Bay - launching the twelfth Australian TrailRider

Click on the picture to view the invite.
Photo: Flynn Hart
The latest (twelfth) Australian TrailRider is being launched at Apollo Bay next Monday at the Visitor Centre where it will be housed. All are welcome.

10am, Monday 29th September

Last December we were there testing out the improvements to the Great Ocean Walk and laying the foundations for this latest roll out.

The Great Ocean Walk is truly one of the most magnificent locations for TrailRiding as Flynn's photo shows. Josh Hart is rear sherpa, his GoPro video camera is on my helmet and John Kenwright is in front.

Congratulations, once again, to John Kenwright at Parks Victoria for making all this happen.

Visit the Directory for contact details of all the 12 TrailRiders in Australia.

The Visitor Centre is at 100 Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay, Victoria 3233

Phone: 13 0068 9297 | Fax: 03 5237 6194


If you are a Facie, here is a chance to Like the Apollo Bay Visior Centre page

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The motorised TrailRider

First my apologies for posting something that did not work.

Now let's get down to the promised rave about the "electric chair"
At the sherpa training session we put it through its paces. It was obvious, as two person sherpa team after two person sherpa team ascended a significant slope that running the motor dramatically eased.

At the end of the trail, getting back into Brambuk, comes a short, sharp rise that Rodney had filmed in the April session - with five sherpas. This side-by-side video shows this alongside Saturday's ride - this time with a team of two.

Two small points were noted

  • The trigger needs a sprung return to motor-off
  • The battery pack obscured the rear sherpa's view of the kickstand. Battery under the seat would be better and have a lower centre of gravity

We need a better name for it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Grampians second sherpa training session

A rare photograph of the "Gang of Four" - from
the left Ros, Rodney, me, Joanne and last but
not least Caitlin, the volunteer coordinator
This Saturday we all (Ros, Rodney, Joanne and I) went to Halls Gap for the second SVP (Sherpa Volunteer Program) training session put together by John Kenwright from Parks Victoria

There we met with potential volunteer sherpas Fiona, Phil, Kevin, Maureen, Blake and Maggie who had all seen this as an opportunity to not only be out in the bush but to be part of helping someone else be out in the bush. As Phil put it so well "I like the bush and I like bush walking and I would like to get out more often so why not take someone out and enjoy it with them at the same time"

Doing steps - an important skill for a budding sherpa to learn
Caitlin O'Reilly is the newly appointed volunteer co-ordinator at the Grampians. She is employed by CVA (Conservation Volunteers Australia) to oversee the hundred or so volunteers at Halls Gap but also to be the central reference point for TrailRider use in the Grampians.

As before, at the first session, the practical training was a roll around Fyans Creek loop - two TrailRiders with Rodney and John Kenwright providing direction about being the front sherpa, being the back sherpa, using the brake and for the first time using the motor.

Was this fine specimen listening as I told my lizard story? Now
I have two lizard stories!
Trying out the motorised TrailRider, featured in the previous post, was brilliant. So brilliant that it will be the the subject of a whole new post.

One of my favourite TrailRider stories is the Blue Tongued Lizard that I met once on that track. I was telling my team that story when, lo and behold at that precise moment, this fine Shingleback crossed our path.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No - it's a motorised TrailRider

Only very slightly different to look at
The new motorised TrailRider prototype that Parks Victoria has developed has finally arrived.  

This is a TrailRider with an electric motor that I spoke to you about a few months ago. This chair will make it much easier for visitors with disabilities and their sherpas to explore some of our more hilly trails in parks and will reduce the number of sherpas needed for pushing and pulling the chair.
Close up of the battery pack

It is an electric hub motor with a lithium battery adding just over 4kgs in weight to the chair and was trialled by Parks Victoria with a 73kg passenger (PV staff member) rider.
Here are the controls  - Keith take note!

The motor showed a lot of torque going up steep hills and was used on hilly trails for over 2 hours. There was plenty of charge left in the battery.

We are looking forward to doing some further trials using the chair in the Grampians at the upcoming SVP (Sherpa Volunteer Program) training session.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

BCMOS (British Columbia Mobile Opportunity Society) rocks!

These guys invented the TrailRider and they do something that we do not yet do in Australia. They are out there, throughout the summer months, with teams of volunteer sherpas guiding many disabled riders through the extraordinary and exciting British Columbian bush.

Here is their latest Facebook post winding up the year's activities:

Our hiking, kayaking and gliding season is now over. 

(We unfortunately had to cancel glides intended for the first two weeks of the month due to circumstances beyond our control.)

Rather then feeling sad about the season being over, I'd like to celebrate the record-breaking 126 hikes we arranged for people with disabilities. And praise the volunteers who made this possible each year.

To repeat: there would be no BCMOS without volunteers. Thank you all.
If you are a Facie, here is another chance to Like the BCMOS page:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Are you free on September 20th? SVP (Sherpa Volunteer Program) training in Halls Gap

The second Sherpa Volunteer training session will take place at the Grampians National Park at Halls Gap at 10 am on Saturday 20th September.

This post will tell you a little more of what to expect. 

If you are interested in volunteering for the Sherpa Volunteer Program please contact:

Caitlyn O’Reilly
Volunteer Coordinator
Grampians National Park