Saturday, January 4, 2014

Earl Hill Sweat Session

Queensland continues to swelter under a heat wave. About 1800 km to the south of Cairns, around Brisbane, temperatures have been up into the low 40's, which almost makes our mid-30's look cool. I'm not sure when the wet season is really going to arrive – it has been very dry lately - but the sweat season is definitely here. I laid kinda low for a couple of days, only going out early in the morning to the gym or bouldering wall – where the heat and humidity led to both over-gripping and excessive chalk use - but today, bored of being less active, I pedalled off on the bicycle first thing. 

It was 28oC when I got up just before 6 am, so there seemed no real need to rush off. A cup of tea, to gain a little preventative rehydration (and to wake up) seemed a good idea, and it was nearly 7 am when I headed out on the bicycle. This mornings walk was to Earl Hill lookout which is in the suburb of Trinity Park, one of the northern beach areas of Cairns. I've been up this way many times before with the kayak to Yorkeys Knob, but never on the bicycle so I had to stop a couple of times and check the map. As usual, there was a great bicycle trail that took me all the way to the interpretive sign-age at the start of the walk. 

A new sub-division is going in at the base of Earl Hill, a singularly buggy looking place with tidal Moon River nearby. I imagine the sand-flies are horrendous at certain times of the year. Strangely, those particular details didn't appear to be mentioned in the real estate literature emblazoning various signs. 

Track marker

Earl Hill is a couple of hundred metres high and takes somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes to hike up. This is clearly the Whitfield Track of the northern suburbs as there were a lot of regulars pounding up and down. I had that annoying thing going on with another couple on the trail who I kept leap-frogging all the way up. A bunch of people were obviously trying to go up as fast as possible, although I don't see the point of that when you are gasping so hard you lose the ability to hold your trunk upright and end up hunched over with your hands on your upper thighs.  Losing form is poor form whether you are running, walking or weight training.  Stop it right away if you do.  

Looking out to Fitzroy Island

There is a view point at the top where you can see Yorkeys Knob, the Yarrabah peninsular and out to Fitzroy Island. There wasn't even a hint of breeze at the top and the view point is fully exposed to the sun so I did not hang about too long. There is supposed to be another track that leads to a lookout over Half Moon Bay (there's an original name) but despite wandering about the newly cleared and essentially empty sub-division on both foot and the bicycle, I couldn't find it. Neither could the other couple who were wandering about with a couple of dogs. After a while I gave up and biked home to down the usual three litres of liquid that barely begins the rehydration process. There are some showers in the forecast for the next few days but rain in the tropics seems like snow in the mountains, when you are waiting for it, it never arrives. 

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