Thursday, 29 September 2016

Adventure 10 - The one with a cold exit

Where: HBF Stadium, Mount Claremont

When: September 2016

My Adventure Companions: Mrs Jack

“How about a swim?”

Mrs Jack was injured so our planned run wasn’t going to happen. With two babies a piece, getting to spend time with friends sans babies is a multitasking masterpiece (or nightmare?) and when one piece of the puzzle doesn’t work you have to think of something else. So here we were, about to get into an outdoor pool at the beginning of spring. I’m such a chicken about getting into the water. I hate the feeling of the cold on my tummy. As it turned out, it wasn’t so bad this time.

I used to swim a lot, both when I was training for the Ironman and after, when I lived in Dubai. Not Olympic ‘a lot’ but just normal person ‘a lot’. However, I hadn’t really got back into the groove after a shoulder injury acquired when I first moved to Perth. It felt good to be back into the water. We swam a length, chatted a bit, swam another and so on. We managed a grand total of 600m; a far cry from either of our expectations but it was a start and it was fun. Then came time to get out. I formally reverse my opinion that getting into the pool is the worst part of a swim. Getting out is definitely worse. On top of the cold, it was really windy. Brr.  

I'm not sure where this swimming will take me, if anywhere other than just the pool on a week night. However, I’m going to take the opportunity here to put this out there: whilst I am enjoying my running and swimming at the moment, I have no intention of returning to any kind of triathlon, long or short distance [I can hear Mr MAP breathing a sigh of relief].  

Opening Hours: 5:30am-8pm weekdays (varies on weekends)

Cost: $5.50  

Bonus Adventure

Where: Whistlepipe Gully, Kalamunda

It was another great spring week with lots of hiking. My mid week adventure was exploring Whistlepipe Gully with my hiking buddy and her bubba. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours exploring the trails around The Gully and admiring the spectacular views from the top. This was a great little walk and it was much appreciated by Velcro Dog, who was allowed to join us today. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Adventure 9 - The one where Mini Monkey wasn't in the mood

Where: Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary, Gidgegannup

When: September 2016

My Adventure Companions: The whole MAP family (minus Velcro Dog) plus a few Hike it Baby Familes

“Where are we going this weekend?”

Hiking on the weekends seems to have become the norm for us at the moment. To be fair, it’s spring and a great time to be out and about. The weather is good, the sun shines most of the time and the landscape is a stunning array of colours. We get delicious breakfast takeout from a little shop down the road and trundle off to our meet location. I get pretty excited when other people turn up to hike with us and love meeting other families who are as enthusiastic as I am about getting outside.  

This weekend we were back at Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary. We had five other Hike it Baby families giving us a total eight adults and eight children aged between 9 months (our Giant Baby) and ten years old. It was going to be a very different experience from my first time there!

After the last family finally arrived, we did some introductions and then trundled off to explore the little Possum Trail. We saw all manner of toddler and child approved things on the trail from ducks and bees to different flowers and gum nuts. I was impressed at how well everyone stuck together, considering the differing levels of walking abilities and the rocky terrain. Mini Monkey clearly had not recovered from his bout of tummy upset on Thursday night and had an inconsolable meltdown. Mr MAP finally decided that it would be better to take him back to the car to calm him down so packed him in the carrier and turned around. The Giant Baby and I carried on with the rest of the group but soon decided to turn around as we had reached our half way point in time. After misjudging toddler tolerance at our walk in John Forest National Park the other weekend, I wasn’t about to make the same mistake again.

On our return, we found a mostly recovered Mini Monkey and Mr MAP starting the picnic lunch. A couple of the families were able to stay so we had a lovely picnic in the sunshine and then the kiddos threw rocks in the stream until nap time called.

Comments Mini Monkey: WAHHHHHHHHHH *sniffle sniffle* WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Opening Hours: gate open 24hrs per day (May to November)

Cost: $5 per person.

Bonus Adventure:

Where: Freemantle Fishing Boat Harbour

After the drama of yesterday, we decided that we needed to do something a little low key the next day. We had a nice little walk around Freo, looking at all the boats and seagulls. Boats, fish and birds are all pretty interesting to Mini Monkey at the moment so he was satisfied. The icing on the cake for him were the massive fish tanks which line the restaurant area at Cicerello’s. There are lots of different types of fish to see from star-fish to little sharks and is a great way to keep little (and big) people entertained whilst waiting.

Comments from The Giant Baby: Tula rides are still awesome but mum forgot my socks today. My feet are cold. [sorry bub]

Opening Hours: Fishing boat harbour open all hours. Cicerello’s open 9am-8.30pm daily.

Cost: access to the fishing boat harbour is free. 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Adventure 8 - The one with a few extra kilometers

Where: John Forest National Park

When: September 2016

My Adventure Companions: None (yes, you read that right. None).

“Uh oh, which way now?”

On our first hike ever together, my hiking buddy had pointed out another nice walking trail in John Forest National Park. I have been meaning to check it out for a while and, as my brain wasn’t feeling very inventive this week, I decided to visit John Forest for a second weekend in a row. I knew where the start of the tail loop was and how long it was but was relying heavily on the signage to get me around. When the signage disappeared I had a momentary panic and then remembered that this is why I had bothered to bring a hydration pack with me (mainly to carry my massive phone around with me). My GPS track showed that I had, much to my surprise, nearly completed the loop and all I had to do was turn right and trot a few hundred meters back to the car park.

The Wildflower Trail is a five-kilometre loop, which peels off near the start of the Eagle View Trail. It is wide and smooth enough to take an all-terrain stroller and looks like a good location for a future Hike it Baby hike. True to its name, there are lots of wild flowers in an array of bright colours; sprays of purples and blues and yellows and whites. Whilst the car parks were full to busting, I was delighted to find this section of the trails largely deserted.   

Even though I’ve not done much running recently, I must be doing something right as I felt pretty happy about adding a further two (very flat) kilometres to my run to go and see the National Park Falls again. It must be all that toting around of The Giant Baby as he’s getting rather heavy now. This was a nice little test to see how my legs are faring up in preparation for the Perth Trail Series this summer and they seem to be doing well.

Opening Hours: main gate open 24hrs per day

Cost: $12 per car.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Adventure 7 – The one with bumblebees and bubbles

Where: John Forest National Park

When: September 2016

My Adventure Companions: The MAP Family (minus Velcro Dog) and some other Hike it Baby families.

“Is this the right waterfall?”

Nope. Not even close.

I was hosting a toddler hike in the lovely John Forest National Park. It was akin to herding cats. As soon as one toddler decided he or she was going to start walking again, another needed to stop to be let out of the carrier or to be put on their parent’s shoulders because their carrier was El Diablo today or to look at an inexplicably interesting gum nut. Mini Monkey decided that this week he has to stop at every flower he sees to look and see if there is a bee in it. It's wild flower season right now so we don't get anywhere quickly.   

We took the Eagle View Trail along-side the creek with an aim to cross it at National Parks Falls and return on the more direct and shorter Heritage Railway trail. Every time we came across a little muddle of rocks with a bit of white water, people asked “is this the waterfall we’re going to?”.

About half way down the trail I considered skipping the falls and settling for watching the toddlers dip their toes in the creek at a nice resting spot. No sooner had I found a comfy place to sit, some of them decided that this spot was not interesting anymore, so we were off again. Mini Monkey was feeling a little under the weather so I deployed some bubbles to lighten his mood. He rose to the occasion and charged ahead down the trail. I was concerned at one point that (in my over active mum-imagination) he was going to keep going and shoot off the edge of a very large cliff but all those ‘stop/start’ games we’ve been playing whilst out walking Velcro Dog paid off well. 

When we finally arrived at the falls it was busy. After the rain earlier in the week the water was gushing through the gully and over the edge in a fairly spectacular display. Clearly everyone else had had the same idea we had: rain earlier in the week + sunshine today = great time to visit National Parks Falls! 

The trail home was meltdown central with sit down protests and dramatic flourishes which only toddlers can manage. Lesson learned: listen to your gut. If you think some of the little ones would be better off turning around halfway to your destination, then do it. There will always be another time to visit. 

True to form, The Giant Baby resisted his trail nap until mere moments before we returned to the car to go home.

Comments from Mini Monkey: Lots of flowers. Bumblebees like flowers. I see bumblebees. Bumblebees make honey for me. Ooooooo, bubbles!   

Opening Hours: main gate open 24hrs per day

Cost: $12 per car.

Bonus Adventure - Plane Spotting

After our epic trek out to Paruna last week, my hiking buddy decided we needed something a little more sedate this week and suggested that the boys might light to go to the airport viewing platform. 

Even though they were doing maintenance on the runway directly in front of the viewing platform, the boys had a great time spotting the planes as they were taking and landing from the alternate runway. They ate lunch on the move, ran/crawled around the platform and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. 

Opening Hours: 6:30am-5:30pm every day

Cost: Free