Monday, September 27, 2010
In the lead up to my expedition, I had wanted to go on a couple of preparatory hikes.
So yesterday I took the opportunity to head up into one of the nearby National Parks, and go hiking. Partly just as training, but more particularly just to break in my new hiking boots, and check they really were right for my feet.
The hike was through some cool temperate rainforest, which is truly a pleasure to walk in.
The trees in this particular forest are dominated by the mountain ash, which are generally the second tallest tree in the world after the Californian redwoods. Interestingly, these trees are totally dependent on wildfire. Both to create enough light and space in the tree canopy to allow new saplings to grow, but more fundamentally, the seed pods are normally very tightly closed, and it actually requires the intense heat of a wildfire to crack the pods open. Unfortunately (and fortunately for the trees), this is pretty much the worst place in the world for wildfires - it shares a similar climate to southern California, and southern France (both notorious places for out-of-control wildfires) but the heat with which the eucalyptus oil in gum tree leaves burns makes this area the worst of them all.
Lucky for me this is still early Spring, it's been a reasonable wet winter, and wildfire season doesn't really come until mid-December, so I was pretty safe.
A great day's hiking (about 11 miles in 4.5 hours), the boots were great, and the increased fitness from my running made some of the steep climbs easier. And all this accessible from the suburban train network.
I'll have to start thinking about my next training hike.