GNW Heaton Lookout to Forestry HQ

Category: Training Runs

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.

Training Stats:

Distance: 36 km
Time: 4:20:50
Avg Pace: 7:14 min/km
Elevation Gain: 932 m
Calories: 4,508 C