GNW part two—taking on the Jungle! Man I was so excited for this stretch. My coach made it very clear that I was going to get lost through this section so be super careful and take note of where the trail ended before I got lost. Obviously I trust her instruction but I had no idea how true those words would be!
Thankfully my car made it up the 8km stretch of dirt road to Heaton Lookout where unexpectedly I ran into a mate from church and his wife. She was photographing the sunrise and he was playing around with his drone trying not to lose it over the trees! After a bit of a chat with them and getting chased by his drone it was time to drop into the Jungle.
The first few steps in I knew I was in for a treat. This was a jungle in every sense of the word. Super tight, technical trails and lots of winding up and down through very dense forest. I wasn't even 2km in before I got seriously lost the first time! One second I was on the trail the next second I wasn't. It took me a few minutes to figure out where I went wrong but now I was safely back on track again.
The first major creek crossing I nearly ended up in it. I slipped over a rock that looked dry but obviously wasn't. Now, I was pretty happy I didn't end up in the drink but boy was I having fun. The next section was through a few climbs and then under some rock ledges. This was so spectacular as the bush side opened up across the valley to an incredible view. I was totally in awe.
Now about 7km in I was out of the Jungle and up on top of the mountain on forestry roads. Nothing too exciting along here just pretty standard fire trails. I turned around at the 18km mark before heading back to stop at some lookouts I passed.
As much as the forestry road was a little boring the lookouts were amazing. I never knew such a place existed so close to home. I even saw some epic Black Boys just off the trail. Haven't seen any this big in forever.
Now back in the Jungle for the final leg home I was totally trashed. It was interesting, though, when the terrain got too hard to run I started hiking, which then gave other muscles in my legs a rest so I was able to run well again once the terrain allowed. This was a new and unexpected experience. Good to know! For most of the Jungle return I was tracking really well. I only got significantly lost once so I was pretty happy.
Once I popped out of the Jungle and saw my car at Heaton Lookout I was pretty happy to stop. My legs were totally cooked but I was still feeling amazing. Time for a big BBQ lunch and a few recovery beers to ease into the afternoon.