6 Jun 2021. Cradle Valley Boardwalk, Tasmania.
It’s a long run day. Especially after Fish’n chips and beer yesterday! That was carb loading at its best! So today, we run!
David was also inspired by our Brother-in-Law Gene, who ran a half marathon this morning! 21.2K! Okay buddy, challenge accepted! …except we’re not going to run that far!
“Let’s do fifteen” he suggested eyebrows raised. That’s around the longest we’ve run.
David, my sister Sonya and I split a marathon in moral support of our friend Evodia, while she ran her second Melbourne Marathon. David ran in Sydney, Sonya ran in Melbourne, and I ran in Perth. It was a heck of a long way! We each ran 15k while Evodia smashed out 42.2km!
The weather, with its low cloud cover, is not ideal for the high altitude trails today. Last time we walked the Cradle Valley Boardwalk trail, I thought it would make a good run. It’s a raised timber boardwalk the whole way to Dove Lake.
We parked near the trail head at the ranger station, with a sneaky plan of following up with lunch at the tavern. Okay so we’re running off yesterday’s dinner and in anticipation of todays.
‘We better go long, and go hard.’ I thought to myself as a picture of Fish’n Chips popped into my mind.
I quickly signed the walk intention book and met Dave at the trail head.
I pointed to the sign. The boardwalk plunged straight into a dark mossy rainforest, similar to yesterday’s Enchanted Forest. Lush, green and beautiful. But it soon popped out into a broad open field of golden button grasses.
We walked together for about 15 mins to warm up. Well, perhaps to ‘limber’ up. It was 5 degrees C.
This landscape always reminds me of the Australian Painter Fred Williams with the symmetrical shape of the hills and the button grass. One of these days I’ll try to paint this area and channel Fred, as an experiment.
“When are we going to start running?” Dave looked at me with a challenge in his eye.
I’d been lost in thoughts of painting techniques, I forgot we were running.
“Now?” I asked.
“Come on!” And with that, he set off at a jog and I felt compelled to follow. Some days it takes more effort to get started than others. It appeared today required encouragement.
After we crested a ridge, the trail continued undulating through the valley and we knuckled down into a comfortable pace. Dave gradually pulled ahead, while I concentrated on my own pace.
Occasionally the clouds lifted to reveal glimpses of Cradle Mountain in the distance. The boardwalk dipped and climbed through forest and open plains. It followed and crossed Dove River.
(I was too busy running to take many photographs)
I was momentarily distracted with the colour of this tree! Such a character.
Closer to Ronney Creek, the forest started to look more like Switzerland or Canada somehow. Perhaps it was the tall pine trees and dark steep cliff faces. The trail ascended the mountains side as the rive carved deeper below.
I paused on a high bridge and looked down, watching the water gliding through the trees. What a beautiful place.
Around the next corner a jumble of logs have fallen across the river. Looks like storms damage.
Suddenly my iwatch beeped and crackled to life. ‘AWE YEAHHH’ came the disembodied voice.
“Yeeeeeah?” I answered the call, in my very best bogan accent.
‘Where are you?’ He said checking my progress.
“I’m not far from Ronney Creek” I could see him through the trees. “I can see you. There in a minute” The walkie-talkie mode is really useful, when it works.
Dave was waiting for me at the car park, where Ronney creek joins Dove River. I checked Runkeeper.
“We’ve done five and a half” (km)
“Let go for fifteen.”
“Okay, so turning around at seven and a half” I confirmed.
We crossed the road onto the Overland Track and jogged along side the creek through a broad plain of button grass.
“Keep an eye out for wombats” I reminded Dave, we have seen them here in the past.
Looking down stream along the creek, the button grass and pandani trees looked like strange creatures, silently keeping an eye on us.
After crossing the creek we turned off the Overland track heading towards Lake Lila. The boardwalk started climbing and turned into sections of stairs.
I walked the stair sections and checked my watch: 7.5k. Time to turn around.
Ahead, Dave turned to check on my progress and I gave him the old time-to-turn-back hand signal: finger pointing to the sky, turning circles from the elbow.
A couple of minutes after turning around, there he was! A wombat. I love these adorable little guys. He didn’t seem disturbed by us, so we spent some time watching him shuffle around.
Okay so, it’s about this time the run gets real. We’d been going for 68mins and were halfway. When we got back to Ronney Creek we stopped long enough to split a protein muesli bar and then kept going.
After 12K when the trail climbed hills or stairs, I walked sections to give the legs a break – even though I felt like my cardio system could keep going. Must do strength training, I lectured myself. Seriously, just do it Carol.
At one point the rain came in and a headwind picked up. I sheltered under a pine tree, pulled out my rain jacket and zipped myself into the weather proof cocoon. I love this jacket.
The last few kilometres of uphill, with a frustrating headwind, took some mental effort to keep running. I resorted to intervals of a few minutes walking and running.
I could see David way ahead, and every uphill section he pulled further ahead. Go Dave!
Finally, I crested the last hill and it’s all down hill from here. I fell back into a consistent jog through the rain, warm and dry in my jacket.
A sense of achievement was creeping up on me. What a run. Look where we are! I told myself, in a great mood. I love running in the rain, it makes me feel wild and free.
Back in the deep mossy forest, I stopped to photograph it’s rich lusciousness.
“Good job, wifey!” Dave met me with a hug at the trailhead, engulfing me in his fluorescent yellow rain jacket.
A wet hug in the rain.