I recently returned from two days at the ARC site visiting and taping planned CP sites. I had rogained in the area three times previous over the past quarter century so had some idea as to what to expect but the combination of the passage of time and extremely wet summer in SEQ did provide some surprises. The three things that struck me immediately were:
1. It is just an excellent Hash House site with the facilities significantly enhanced since our last use in 2009
2. The grass is very long! The almost park like ground cover of previous events has been replaced with something that provides somewhat greater impedance to progress than previously
3. There is a lot of water about with me hitting the first wet area within 200 metres of leaving the Hash House
It is unlikely that the will be any significant rain between now and the event but we should expect quite a few frosts and a fair bit of wind. This should materially reduce the amount of water about as well as thin out the grass (the cattle will eat a fair bit) and knock down much of the very heavy spear grass seed. Spear grass seed could still be an issue so please read this information to avoid it spoiling your day.
But despite the grass, the wet, the fact that I have only one functional leg and also that I had finished the Rogue Raid 24 less than 48 hours earlier I still managed to cover the ground in the Hash House vicinity at a rate of ~4km/hr. The top teams will cover a lot of country so it is fortunate that we have a lot available!
It really is superb rogaining country with constant rolling hills and mostly very limited vegetation to impede either your progress or your vision. The State Forest areas that fringe the southern part of the area do have some very heavy vegetation including plantation hoop pine and rainforest but they also have a very good track network and this Course Setter does not put CPs in places that he wouldn’t like to visit in an event.
The base map has so far proven to be excellent with only one of the 17 CP sites taped to date needing to be relocated due to map concerns. But there are some very subtle areas. Twice I thought “gee this spur doesn’t seem quite right but that one over there looks okay!” And that was in the daylight at wandering pace. Like any spur/gully area one watercourse system looks very much like the next parallel one so maintaining map contact will be crucial for success.
In the 1990s I set a 24-hour rogaine in similar country ~50km south of here and my thoughts at that time were along the lines of “anyone who doesn’t enjoy rogaining in this country has no soul.” This struck me the same.
The ground was generally free of rock and other feet damaging stuff and the wildlife was also abundant and in good variety. In the course of the two days I saw on or just adjacent to the event area; numerous birds, particularly water birds that included a pair of swans, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Red Neck Wallabies, a Rufous Bettong and a what I am pretty confident was a Pademelon. Plus of course all the various lizards, spiders, insects etc and lots of cattle. This included three Droughtmaster stud bulls surrounded by an electrified barbed wire fence. We’ll look to get that turned off for the event and the bulls paid me absolutely zero attention!
I am really looking forward to my next visit.
Richard Robinson – Course Setter