My weekly hike today was more like a walk, however it was the toughest one so far on my body. Not only because it was the longest, but because I was terribly equipped was an ordinary overweight backpack.
Start of the trail in Fairfield.
Relieved to find this was in fact a marked trail.
Trail over the Yarra River.
The Outer Circle/Anniversary Trail is an 18km stretch of paved bike/walking trail from Fairfield to Hughesdale Station. This walk appealed to me because Hughesdale is close enough to home to walk once completed (5km). However, what should have been a 23km walk, turned into 27kms after some iPhone navigation issues which resulted in me taking the wrong turn at a crucial junction and having to backtrack.
The trail has a few road sections but I was surprised at how complete and continuous it actually was. An hour in, I emptied my entire 3L bladder and saved only one water bottle simply because my pack was so incredibly awkward and heavy to carry. This helped a little but the pains in my lower back had already taken hold, forcing me to walk VERY slowly.
There was a severe lack of public toilets along the trail, especially after my standard pre-hike coffee. I was in the process of sizing up some bushes when finally I found some kind of scout hall/cricket club/abandoned council building that had their public toilet open. Glorious!
It wasn’t long after the quick bathroom break when heat, pain and mental exhaustion started to take hold. I pulled out all the stops, Nurofen and my iPod being the main remedies, to get me through the more monotonous part of the walk.
The trail in all its glory.
The trail is probably better for cycling than walking, although for distance training it wasn’t bad. I think my back pain and feeble meandering made it less enjoyable, however I still got a kick out of self portrait photography, and my favourite section, the ‘Urban Forest’.
ME, taking a break.
ME, inside the Urban Forest.
Strangely towards the end of my walk my body seemed to loosen up a little. Could have been the Nurofen, the lighter backpack or the walking stick I acquired, but by the end of the trail I managed the final 5km walk home without too many complaints. After an icepack, a warm bath and an appointment with the Osteopath tomorrow my back and body should be good as new!
Saved by the walking stick.
The end of the trail, no bells or whistles in sight.