Christmas Morning Run – The Pinnacle, Grampians

While Kerrie and Moo spent Christmas morning relaxing in Halls Gap making pancakes, Em and I went on an 8km run up to The Pinnacle and then back via the Wonderland Loop.

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We took the direct route from Halls Gap up to the Pinnacle which worked out well because the first 3km was straight up via a lot of purpose built steps.  This made for a fast and exciting run back down via Wonderland Loop as this was across rocks and paths that made for technical but fun trail running.

Even though the first stretch had a lot of steps we still kept up a reasonable running pace, walking the steps but running in between. Em’s pace up steps is impressive.

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The Pinnacle was busy but this was mainly from people taking the shorter walk straight up from Wonderland Carpark.  Although I say shorter it is still a good vertical hike and so as we ran down we could see many people who were in for a long day.

Even though it was well fenced, it was a bit scary standing out on the Pinnacle mainly due to the high wind.

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The run back down was great as we kept up a decent pace for the 5km return.  Technical at times with the rocks and with so many people but great exercise. 

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My knees were sore for the following few days but the dip in the cool waters at the end helped…I think!!!

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Hiking Chatauqua Peak and MacKenzie Falls – Grampians

Sunday morning, after dropping Ruby off at the Kennels in Stawell, we headed to Halls Gap to set off on a short hike up to Chatauqua Peak.

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Normally this track is a loop via Clematis Falls but the falls side of the loop was closed and so we went up and back via Halls Gap Botanic Gardens and Bullaces Glen passing through ferned gullies and blackwoods.

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An easy to moderate hour or so hike with an enjoyable last 100m across the rocky outcrop to get to Chatauqua Peak and the views down into Halls Gap and across the valley.

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Post the peak we took half hour drive into the Grampians to MacKenzie Falls.  The falls are popular and so unlike Chatauqua Peak where we saw one other couple, the falls were packed with many families and visitors.

We did the 2km walk to the lookout first.  This was flat on a well kept path and an easy stroll.

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Kerrie and Moo then rested while Em and I ran the 2km down to the base of the falls and back.  The pathway was packed and so we were careful to dodge and weave but not push.  Em took a refreshing swim at the base of the falls.

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As always there were many foreigners ignoring the path and signs and disturbingly making their way out onto the slippery rocks at the top of the falls. No doubt there will be a serious accident at the falls soon given the amount of people!!!

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Christmas 2017 in the Grampians

As things have been totally hectic with travel, exams and other challenges, we decided to get away form it all for Christmas and bush camp near the Grampians, Victoria.

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We got away early on Saturday as we had to swing past Ocean Grove to pick up the trailer and our camping gear.  After a pit stop in Geelong to replace the spare tyre for the trailer we headed off, via Ballarat, through to the Grampians. 

Mid afternoon we arrived at Lake Lonsdale, about 20km before Halls Gap, and found a secluded campsite all to ourselves…the sites were set up for crowds but we gathered most people would not turn up until boxing day.

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The first evening was gorgeous with a nice campfire to toast marshmallows and relax. 

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The evening however was first interrupted by myself teaching Em to drive in sand and us getting well and truly stuck.  Luckily some campers over in the next area came and snatched us out.

The second interruption was later that night when the wind picked up and blew off our tarp and caused havoc with the fire.  The wind stayed for the rest of the trip and so each evening then was without fire and behind the wind break I made with one of our tarps.

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While days were sunny and pleasant as we hiked the Grampians, the nights were windy and cold but it was still great to get away from it all even if only for a few days.

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Emily Movie – Age 6 – 2006 to 2007

This is the sixth instalment for Emily and follows her at the age of five through to her sixth birthday. The #1 Single when she turned six was “I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair)” by Sandi Thom from the “Smile…It Confuses People” album. Unfortunately due to copyright the version of the video I have uploaded does not have the single playing, instead I have kept the original video sound in place.

It starts with scenes from our 4WD adventure following Burke and Wills into the Corner Country (where Queensland, NSW and SA come together) hence the swing into water holes.  The opening scene is in Brisbane as we drove right along the Queensland and NSW border at the end of the trip to spend time with the Hobson’s in Brisbane.  This was one of the longest and absolutely most boring drives one can do!!!

Lots o scenes playing in the backyard at Heysen Street and with the Hosking’s who were good friends in Canberra. 

Her first day at school was also this year.

Towards the end there are scenes from our big holiday in California including Disneyland and Snow White, swimming with the Dolphins in San Diego and rollerblading along St Monica Boulevard.

Finishes with the ice-cream Birthday Cake at mum and dads.

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It Is a Big Hole – Flagstaff Green

Early days but our apartment has now progressed to a big hole in the ground.

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My New Marin Hawk Hill

Took my new Marin Hawk Hill mountain bike up to the TTDI Hills in Kuala Lumpur last weekend with the support of Steve Hobson to show me the trails.

As this is my first real mountain bike and the first time on real trails I was a bit nervous to start with.  But after a few loops I was really amazed at what the bike could do when I just let it go.

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The fat tyres are an experience as they just bounce their way over rocks easily.  But my best gadget is the hydraulic seating where with the press of a button I can lower and raise the seat while riding…this really provides comfort and means I can get power down when needed.

The TTDI (Bukit Kiara) Hills are a great place to ride as many trails of easy to extreme nature.  I am going to enjoy many weekends riding these trails!!!

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A Weekend with Kerrie in Singapore

The first weekend in December Kerrie and I spent in Singapore together as she took a break on her return flight from Manchester to Melbourne.

While we spent the Sunday largely walking Orchard Road with not much to do, we made the most of the Saturday at Universal Studios – my idea to help Kerrie with her jet lag!!!

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It was mostly a day full of selfies and roller coaster rides.  Being kid free we purchased the Express Pass and enjoyed walking past all the queues and going direct to the front.  It also meant we could position to get on the front of all the rollercoasters and maximise the experience.

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Kerrie did relatively well going on all the rides but taking a rest as I went the second time around.  Of course we debated about getting wet on the Jurassic Parks Rapid Adventure.  I said it would not be that bad…so of course the person who got the wettest was then Kerrie!!!

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The special treat was that Santa’s Workshop was open and so Kerrie and I went through training to become Elves, got our Certificate of Elfness and then met Santa.

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