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The Warrumbungles

The Breadknife.

A favourite Australian running destination of mine, which I don't get to visit often enough, is the Warrumbungle National Park in central New South Wales.  It's a long way from anywhere, which explains the paucity of visits, but it has excellent hiking (running) trails and wonderful camping.  In the 1970s and 1980s, we spent a number of vacations there, often with friends.  There would usually be a morning run and an evening run, with the day filled with hiking, reading, volleyball and cricket games, and the evenings devoted to board and card games around the campfire.

Belougery Spire.

In any stay, my favourite run was a 23km loop that incorporated some of the Park's main hiking trails and scenic highlights.  From the campground, the first few kilometres followed Wambelong Creek across the open grassy valley floor and past small groups of kangaroos, before crossing the main road and climbing to join one of the Park's main hiking routes, the Pincham Trail.  The Trail then followed the small babbling Spirey Creek upstream towards the mountains through the shady dry eucalypt forest for about 3km before leaving the Creek and ascending more steeply, including some steps, to the Warrumbungles signature landmark, the Breadknife, a thin slice of towering rock, and the High Tops, where the vegetation is occasionally more heath-like.

Our group camping in the Warrumbungles in May 1978.

The views are spectacular from the High Tops and sometimes we could hear and see roped-together rock climbers slowly ascending the sheer Belougery Spire across the narrow deep valley to the east.  As the trail continued westwards, generally following the ridge to the Western High Tops, there were more views, sometimes taking in the distant flat grazing lands of the Western NSW plains.

After 15km, the running route joined the Burbie Firetrail which it followed downhill through the dry eucalypt forest, occasionally steeply, back to the valley floor and an easy run back to the campground along Park roads.

Post-run wash in the Warrumbungles in
May 1978.

It is not a particularly long run, but is technical in parts and has the steep and taxing main climb that make it a good work-out.  It's another of those runs which I used to fly along in my prime, but would now be happy to just jog around, stopping occasionally for the views.

No jogging for my exercise today, but I did manage another 10km walk, including some long hills, without any ill-effects.  I'm finding walking for two hours along well-known routes quite tedious, mentally, despite listening to the radio or podcasts as I go.  I would like to walk this far most days until I can jog again, to maintain leg and joint fitness and to raise my heart rate at least a little, but I'll probably alternate with shorter daily walks in the interests of having a sustainable regime.