[SUBW-A] Trip report - 'Ecogaine' 23-24 March

Marcelle Gannon marcelle.gannon at altium.com.au
Mon Mar 25 10:08:33 AEDT 2002


SUBW participants:

Ben Kong & Marcelle Gannon
Scott Mills + housemate
Hisako Shiraishi (Cat) + 2 housemates

The 'Ecogaine' was a 15 hour in 24 hour event run in the Mirramirra National
Park just north of Dural.  The 15-hour limit meant we could spend any 15
hours out of the 24 hours from noon Saturday to noon Sunday out on the
course.  It's fortunate it wasn't a full 24 hour event because someone would
have fallen off a cliff for sure!  The area was quite rocky and in some
places the scrub was almost impassable, making progess slow and navigation
quite tricky.

Ben and I chose to take the 'advanced' route, heading for the more difficult
controls, worth higher points, which required going off track for most of
the time.  The off-track sections were considerably slower than we had
expected.  At one point we struggled for 20 minutes to find a way up a 8
metre cliff face, eventually going for a tricky free climb up it - and
finding the checkpoint about 10 metres from the top, so at least our
navigation was spot on!  Another scrub-bashing highlight was down near
checkpoint 44, which looked to be just above a large paddock-like area near
a creek, but which was actually a large boggy swamp with 2 metre high dry
grasses.  Fortunately someone before us had beaten down a route and we
charged through the grass, thinking of the scene in the Lord of the Rings
where they are running through the cornfield away from the farmer ... except
that they didn't fall in boggy creeks on the way.  Surviving this and
another cliff-scaling effort we easily found the following checkpoints.
Just before dark we reached a road and went after some of the easier
controls in the dark before heading back for some real food and some sleep
at about 11:45pm. We could have returned earlier, to leave more time for the
following day, but we had breakfast to consider.  If we had 6 hours left,
then we would have to be up and out of there at 6am, and breakfast (the
bacon, eggs and pancakes) would most likely not be on until 7.  We were well
rewarded for our decision here!  We chose to follow the tracks on Sunday and
pick up a few easy points.  As we were a bit short of time we cut across a
large creek with an hour to go and found it quite tough going.  We missed
checkpoint 61 by all of 20 metres, thinking we were in the wrong creek, but
then emerged at the top of the hill to find the camping area, exactly as the
map had predicted!  We were only 4 minutes late, and posted a score of 790
points.

The winning team scored about 1800 points.  Scott and his partner scored
just over 1000, and Cat's team got 700.  Well done to everyone!  Ben and I
had fortuitously chosen a good category to enter - the 'Mixed Youth' (under
25s) which had only 3 teams in it, so we won that category and even got a
little trophy!

The next event on the NSWRA calendar is the Australian Championships, on the
27-28 April south of Canberra.  This is a 24 hour event.  No experience is
necessary, even though it is the Australian Championships.  Anyone can
enter.  The youngest participant (a member of a family team) at this
weekend's event was 6 years old, and the oldest about 70.  Check the website
(www.nswrogaining.org) for details.  The Paddy Pallin 6 hour event is on
June 16 and traditionally attracts a large crowd.  I'm planning to run a
navigation training day before then so we can get some good SUBW teams
entering.





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