Narrow Neck and Wild Dog Mountains

Saturday, October 10, 2009 (Run/Walk 50km)

I am back and I am excited to test out my running body after six weeks of very little or no running. I have been recovering from a sacroiliac injury and focusing on core strength training using a modified form of Pilates. Going a bit stir crazy so on Saturday, The Hammer and I joined Robin C. to run/walk 50 km from Katoomba along Narrow Neck and Wild Dog Mountains to Coxs River and back.
We left Sydney just after 6.00 am and after a coffee stop at Katoomba were at Glenraphael Drive ready to start by 8.00 am. We were lucky with the weather, 5 degrees when we left Katoomba – cold and light wind in sections but no rain and the sky was almost blue. But we had to start and keep moving just to stay warm. We ran 7km from the gate to Bushwalkers Hill, along a beautiful wide open sandy fire trail. From here the plan was to try and find Duncan’s Pass and avoid going down Tarros ladder. No luck finding the pass so no choice but to descent the ladder. My legs were jelly by the time I got to the bottom but I made it and I knew I would have to go back up it on the way back.
Near the high voltage power lines we took a trail to the north easement road for an out and back 9km detour before rejoining the trail to Wild Dogs. This section was great for running. Sections of the road do not appear to get much traffic and were grassy and soft to run on. At the turnaround point we had a fabulous view out to Lake Burragorang.  We rejoined the route through Medlow Gap and found the turnoff to the Wild Dogs a few hundred metres on. It felt great to run but by lunchtime my glutes were tightening and I needed to stretch out. So  Hammer and I stopped for lunch on Blue Dog Ridge, while Robin ran a further 3 km to the junction of the Cox’s River and Breakfast Creek to meet up with friends coming out from Kanangra.
We rejoined and turned around here and ran/walked back along Mt Debert back up Tarros ladder. My legs were still jelly ascending the ladder although going up was easier then coming down. I was feeling good to run again so we ran quite a bit of the flat sections of the return leg. For the last 10km from Tarros Ladder to the gate, where we were parked, it started to rain, it was getting dark and we had run out of water. So a shuffling run walk to the end and blessed relief to get to the car. The section from the observation tower to the car seemed to take forever – it was only 7km. Despite the late rain and the cold, I am in love with the landscape and the name – Wild Dog Mountains. It is an incredible time of the year to visit the mountains – the wildflowers are absolutely stunning. We only saw one other person in the 12 hours it took to do the trail. And the running body is feeling fine. Now I just need to commit to another running goal!