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Blowering Damn

Crossing the Tumut River below
Blowering Dam.

After a 40km run yesterday, I would normally just go for a walk today.  But, since we are on vacation in a beautiful part of the world, I made an exception.

The plan was to run an easy 10-15km out-and-back along what I remembered to be a lovely section of the Hume & Hovell Track, following the contours high above the water of picturesque Blowering Dam surrounded by high forested mountains.  Unfortunately, little worked out as planned.

Setting out along the shores of
Blowering Dam.

Firstly, the road to the carpark beneath the dam wall, from where we hoped to start the run, was closed.  There was an alternative starting place on another road, but this meant parking two kilometres from the dam.  I was expecting to struggle, with a very sore right Achilles and knee along with general stiffness, so the thought of adding four kilometres to the run wasn't very appealing.

Dealing with bushfire deadfalls
along the trail.

The weather was again superb - cool, clear and sunny - which made my slow painful plod a little more bearable.  However, Sharon had recovered from yesterday's exertions better than me, and I was always trailing behind.  We reached the Dam wall and followed the hiking trail up the side to an overlook before connecting with the trail heading south high above the water line.

This was supposed to be the best part of the run, but unfortunately there had been a bushfire in the summer and it was totally different to my memory.  Apart from blackened trees and charred leaves and bushes, many trees had fallen across the trail causing us to make frequent stops to clamber around or through the charred trunks and branches.  It spoiled the run and we turned back earlier than planned.  Although I was very disappointed at the state of the trail, the shorter distance was probably to my advantage.  We will both be a bit fresher for tomorrow's planned run, and my chronic injuries should be less painful.

Paddy's River Dam

Paddy's River Dam.

Yesterday's exercise was just nine holes of golf at Tumut, about 5km of walking the way I play, after driving south from Copa for about six hours.  It was my plan to have a couple of days off running after hurting my hip on Saturday morning, and I was happy to find it didn't trouble me at all during the golf.

On the trail in Bago State Forest.

Today's exercise was much more ambitious.  Sharon and I are staying in Batlow (famous for its apples) for most of the week and plan to do some running each day.  Today's run was intended to be 31km loop incorporating a beautiful 15km section of the Hume & Hovell Track that I hiked a year ago, but it didn't quite work out that way.

Forestry Road in Bago State Forest.

Our start point was the serene Paddy's River Dam, a mirror smooth body of water reflecting alpine forest and clear skies, and I missed the first turn we had to make, adding 1.5km to our itinerary.  However, we were unconcerned as we tackled the correct single track trail which meandered through the snow gum forest and across grassy clearings on a cool, perfectly still, morning.  It was just a magic morning and we had it all to ourselves.

On the Hume & Hovell Track.

The run went to plan most of the way until we missed a trail, which was probably overgrown, and ended up following another firetrail which seemed to go on and on, much longer than expected.  Sharon began to doubt my navigation skills, but I was confident we were headed in the right direction, even if we were on the wrong trail.  Eventually we reached an intersection with the Hume & Hovell Track, further north than intended, and calculated we had about 10km to finish, making the total distance closer to 40km.

Although my cardiovascular system seemed to be coping fine, my back and joints had had enough, and it was a slow slog back to our car, made more tolerable by the continuing superb scenery and weather.

All in all it took us nearly six hours, but we stopped a few times and walked some of the hills in the last 10km.  Time wasn't a consideration as neither of us is as fit as we would like.  We just wanted a nice long run through some superb country and we got that.  As a bonus, Sharon disturbed a small group of brumbies (wild horses) at one point, and we saw kangaroos, an emu and an echidna while driving through the forest.