Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Walks - postponed and otherwise

The ANPS Wednesday Walk to the Black Wallaby Track at Googong Dam planned for 13/5/2015 was postponed due to a really turgid weather forecast.  A very reasonable decision.

Before the postponement I had enquired about access to the start point, as that required crossing the Queanbeyan River and;
  • there was a good flow in the River at the City of that name on the previous Friday; and
  • the dam, just upstream, was still at 100% capacity.
My first enquiry was directed to what used to be called ACTEW (ACT Electricity and Water) which has rebadged - or possibly rebranded - the water bit of this as "Icon Water".  I hope they didn't pay some consultant a lot of money for that bit of spin.  Unfortunately the person I spoke to there knew nothing about the wider picture (nor I suspect much of anything else except when his shift ended and the unduly large size of his pay-packet).  He suggested I contact Queanbeyan City Council.

That would actually have been good, were it not for the area around the dam being administered by the ACT Government.  So I ignored this Manuel-substitute and tried the various phone numbers quoted in a TAMS brochure about the Googong Foreshores.  None of them answered.  So with great foreboding I rang Canberra Connect (CC).  As a slight sidestep:
The nice young lady (NYL) I spoke to at CC really didn't know anything about the dam or the track or why there might be a problem.  However she put me on hold while sorting this out.  The hold period ended with someone asking how could they help me.  It turns out NYL had managed to find someone at Googong who answered their phone.  This was another nice young lady (ANYL) who was able to assure me that the water was nowhere near over-topping the road to the track (although it had a couple of weeks ago).

So after 5 phone calls I actually found out some pretty basic information.  How did we fill the void in our lives?

We arranged to drop some asparagus crowns off to a friend who lives in Aranda and then take small dog for a walk around Lake Ginninderra.  After taking (what I was advised was, and subsequently agreed was) a pretty indirect route we parked near the dog run and set off.  This image shows our route.
We began at S/F and proceeded clockwise .  The first bridge crossing was a little fraught as Tammy went completely nuts, scrabbling to get out in the road.  We also got distressed by this as I couldn't work out what her problem was.  (It turned out she doesn't like walking on concrete: on the dam wall a few kms later she trotted across a bitumen section quite happily then went spare again on the 10m concrete section.)  So we picked her up and carried, despite feeling like a doofus.

As well as Tammy going feral a whole bunch of signs telling folk to give way had appeared on the bridge since I was last there on foot. 
I suspect they have stolen about 1m of sidewalk to widen the bike lane.  We met several cyclists on the path, but saw none on the road: welcome to the world of decisions, ACT Government style!

When we first moved to Canberra in 1963 there was tremendous fuss about a pub being built on the shore of the Lake, as despoiling the view.  I have approximately outlined the pub in yellow in the next image.  My suspicion is that the area near the town centre is going to have a lot of social problems due to very high population density (if they manage to fill all the apartments there).
We carried on past the are marked with a red spidery asterisk in the image.  A street pattern can be discerned there in the image.  That is now completely full of medium density (ie Brooklyn rather than the South Bronx)  units.

Enough with the urban warfare business.

At one point YANYL (yet another nice young lady) was training her border collie pup.  It charged at Tammy (despite shouts of "No!" from YANYL ) and continued to bounce at Tammy who got a tad fed up and delivered some TTT (typical toothy terrier) attitude.  I was a bit embarrassed about this, but YANYL said "No, no: its good.  She needs to learn what happens if she charges into other dogs!"  What a right thinking young lady!

As we proceeded along we saw quite a few birds, with this pair of Red-rumped Parrots sitting within a metre of the path, and totally ignored by the small dog.
This second image is justified under the "spiffy piccie" rule, but also to display my astonishment that a bird this brightly coloured can just merge into the background.
I thought the arrangement of black and white on this female Darter was quite interesting. The arrangement of white on the rock was also noticed but not investigated more closely.
So what of the weather?  It was a bit windy and cloudy but not too bad while we walked.  However the hailstorm we drove through on the way completely justified pulling the pin on the ANPS walk!

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