|A track junction on the Great North Walk. |
It's one of the wonders of life, that activities or places you had little or nothing to do with for most of your life, suddenly play a big part. It has often happened to me that places visited for races or sightseeing many years ago, unexpectedly became a big part of my life at a future date. I had never heard of the GNW before moving to the Central Coast ten years ago, and now I'm running on it frequently (when I can run), organising trail runs on it for the Trotters, and annually directing one of Australia's biggest ultra-distance races along a large section of it. "GNW" has become one of the most frequently used acronyms in my life.
|Part of the Great North Walk in the northern part of|
the Watagan Mountains.
The section I have come to know very well is the 175 kilometres used for the GNW100s, the trail race I direct, which stretches from Lake Macquarie in the north to Broken Bay in the south. Apart from lovely stretches of dry eucalypt forest, there are deep gorges of stygian rainforest, caves, waterfalls, sandstone plateaus, rocky bluffs and exceptional views. The quiet, and seemingly isolated, rural valleys of Congewai, Watagan Creek, Yarramalong and Ourimbah Creek add another dimension to a varied and interesting journey.
|Falls on Kariong Creek on the Great North Walk. |
I always look forward to the trail runs, and occasional hikes or mountain bike rides, along the GNW, but also enjoy just driving around the forest roads and fire-trails and visiting remote locations, as happens every year preparing for the GNW100s. It's easy to forget the Sydney/Central Coast/Newcastle metropolis is often just a few kilometres away from the peaceful forests and birdsong.
I walked 5km today, including a few hills that gave me no trouble. My pulse remains regular and I'm beginning to keenly anticipate a resumption of running at the end of the week.